The MGSMAA can take pride in many achievements over the last year on behalf of our alumni, including many events, fast growth in our database of alumni, a regular news service including commentary on university developments, and the recent launch of the Ask Pat Service and the AmCham relationship - but overall the Board has concluded that we need to speed up service development for our MGSM alumni.
Our biggest challenge is resourcing and revenue generation – currently most of the work of the Association is performed by volunteer directors, who are doubling as the management team. The result is as one might expect – turnover of directors due to competing work commitments, confusion between board and management responsibilities, and the usual challenges of managing a team of volunteers.
We have recently had four directors step down, each of them following three years of great service to the alumni. We congratulate Randal Tame, Karen Ganschow, Alan Macdonald and Pat McDonald – all of whom remain committed to the vision of the MGSMAA and will be involved going forwards. Pat will be running the valued Ask Pat Service, Karen will join the Advisory Council, Randal will still write for our alumni newsletter, and Alan will be assisting us with the launch of our CEO Reconnex service (details to be announced soon).
Given our objectives of creating a sustainable association for our MGSM alumni, the desired structure is to have a Board focussed on strategy and governance, and a management team to actually run the association on a day-to-day basis, headed up by a paid CEO and potentially other paid staff over time. Our challenge is that we do not yet have a sufficient revenue base to hire a CEO - and we may never be able to while we are relying purely on volunteer directors to run the association….
In time for the new financial year, the Board unanimously voted to create an interim structure which will enable us to transition to the desired future. From July 1, 2021:
· Lindsay Munns will take on the Interim Chair role, with the mandate to transition the Board to be strategy and governance focussed. He will be assisted by existing Directors, with other appointments to be made over time.
· Rebecca Murray will take on an Interim CEO role, with a mandate to build the association’s alumni services and revenue base - with any pay contingent on the creation of sustainable revenue streams which will enable us to hire an ongoing CEO from mid-year 2022. Revenue may come from membership fees, fees for services, royalties from for-profit ecosystem businesses, or sponsorships.
· An Executive Committee will be created to help run the association, reporting to Rebecca. So far, the following members of the Executive Committee have been appointed, with others to be announced soon:
- Andrew Bissett, Director of Education and also responsible for the Alumni Day which is under development
- Jennifer Zhang, Communications Director, assisted by Vasant Venkatramani.
- Belinda Vasallo, Director of Entrepreneurialism, responsible for development of programs to support our entrepreneurs
Volunteers on the Executive Committee will benefit from opportunities for fast-track career development, network building and mentoring.