Regional Leaders Unite

Vincentians from across the state united for a day of leadership, networking and recognition as part of the inaugural Regional President’s Forum held at Mary MacKillop Place over the October long weekend.

The event sought to recognise the important contribution of Regional Presidents in managing and supporting the work of members who are at the front line supporting their communities.

In his opening remarks, NSW State Council President Paul Burton told the room, “Trust is the foundation of leadership. It is character that makes trust possible. And in turn, trust makes leadership possible.”

Around 41 attendees spent the day reflecting on the successes and challenges of the past few years combatting the Covid pandemic, as well as strategising for the future.

CEO, Jack de Groot spoke of the merits of the One Society approach and highlighted the great gains we make together through the collaboration of members, volunteers, and employees does not change the mission or values of the Society.

He pointed to the essential virtues in the Rule: simplicity, humility, gentleness, selflessness, and zeal.

A focus on membership growth saw excellent examples shared by Jann Browne, Tamworth Regional Council President; Pat Cudmore Sutherland Regional Council President; and Sue Vit, St George Regional Council President.

In Tamworth, the St Louise Conference Care and Support Conference needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.

“This is the sole care and support Conference for the region.

So, you can imagine the loss by the community and how devastated we felt that this Conference had virtually just broken down,” Jann said.

She spoke about doing letterbox drops, speaking after mass (and the challenges of keeping parishioners there long enough to hear), as well as other ways to encourage growth in membership.

Pat spoke about help she received from Society employee and Manager of Member and Community Engagement, Janice Stokes, in setting up an information night for prospective members.

“From that evening I can happily say we now have established a new Conference with eight enthusiastic and – dare I say – younger members!”

Sue thanked Executive Director of Membership, Volunteers and Regional Operations, Sam Crosby, for his help in re-establishing Conferences in her area.

“I have to say thank you to Sam for supporting me last Sunday and we have got Rockdale Conference back after, probably, 10 or 15 years.”

Brian McCarney, Cudgegong Regional Council President, spoke about his role in the Social Justice Network.

Speaking of the success of the recent Build Homes Build Hope campaign to collect over 15,000 signatures to trigger a debate in NSW Parliament on the need to build more social housing, he said “it meant that ministers and MPs sought to focus on the issue in front of their colleagues.”

Feedback following the event was extremely positive, with participants looking forward to seeing more events to bring people together, learn and share into the future.

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