News and events

21 February 2023 - 10:24pm

GWNZ reflections from Dr Jo Innes, President 2020 -2022

Prepared by Jo Innes, Immediate Past President, GWNZ

GWNZ National Executive is elected by the membership to govern and lead GWNZ. I had the privilege to lead your National Executive  from 2020 – 2022. I reflect on my tenure from the perspective of GWNZ and the context of the two years. While your National Executive worked to progress the purpose of GWNZ, support branches /Independent Members we did this amidst the challenges thrown our way with Covid 19.

My reflections are organised into four key functions of governance: strategic leadership, stewardship, external relations, and board practices:

Strategic leadership  - Despite the challenges of Covid, we achieved some key initiatives as proposed in GWNZ Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022. For example:  THINK  - As President I spearheaded enhanced access to our scholarships by supporting branches/branch Trusts to promote their scholarships via the GWNZ website; integrate the GWNZ website and GWNZ scholarships application site;  and offered the Women in Governance Scholarship; ACT – our advocacy team contributed to submissions relevant to women in education; I had the opportunity to meet with colleagues at the Ministry for Women on behalf of our members; and write to the Prime Minister on topical issues.   CONNECT – as President I had the opportunity to connect with GWI in support of the remit to enhance sustainable development of GW entities across the world; promoted engagement of our awardees with their branches/IMs. The highlight was the GWNZ centenary, hosted by GWNS and the pending GWNZ history publication “Empowering Women Through Education Centennial Reflections.”

StewardshipAlthough we were all challenged by Covid, effort was put into ensuring the sustainability of GWNZ. A highlight for me was that all branches / independent members ‘survived’ and were represented on the National Executive. While we were not able to meet in person we invested in streamlining our digital platforms e.g., website, applications site, SharePoint, and transferred our financial system to Xero.

External relationsThroughout the two years, we strengthened our profile with the application of the refreshed brand. Our efforts bore fruit with our membership numbers gradually improving. We had stopped the steady decline. I had the opportunity to support the  National Council of Women as they transitioned into their new structure, joining the Education Hub as the GWNZ representative. A highlight was supporting Shirley, your International Lead, establish the GWNZ - Graduate Women Fiji partnership and offer the Pacific Award.

Board practicesWe achieved regular Board meetings despite Covid which is a credit to the commitment of your dedicated Executive. Highlights include achieving a full board, with a mix of mature members and younger members; establishing our first Strategic Plan and associated performance measurement framework. Thanks to some hardworking folk, the AGM achieved support for the updated constitution and the new membership categories.

Future thoughts - The current Executive offer a diverse mix of knowledge and skill; we now need to enhance the diversity of the Board. Building on the Centenary workshop for Looking Forward National Executive propose to work with the branches and IMN to develop the Strategic Plan 2023-2024. I wish you all the very best as GWNZ continues to ‘empower women through education’.