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Case Study: NSWALC Boards

NSWALC

Published on 9th March 2020

The brief:

Watermark were selected to assist the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) attract and select directors to form two inaugural Boards for new entities, one for NSWALC Housing Ltd and one for NSWALC Employment and Training Ltd.

The skill sets required for the two Boards were different and reflected their respective areas of business focus. In addition to the two different sets of skills, there was a requirement that the Boards were gender diverse, geographically diverse, age-diverse and had at least a majority of Board members who were Aboriginal.  

Watermark then:

Watermark used a combination of advertising, referrals from NSWALC and the Local Area Land Councils (LALCs) and Executive Search to provide the client with a rich and varied group of potential Directors for consideration, within a compressed timeframe. Given the geographically dispersed nature of the candidate pool we also offered the opportunity for potential Directors to respond to, and record answers to, a series of questions through a video platform.

Watermark partners joined the client through the interviewing process to provide additional insight and information when required. The NSWALC selection committee chose its preferred shortlist and Watermark undertook a series of probity checks on the client’s behalf. The Board members were then reviewed and approved by the NSWALC Councillors (the elected body for NSWALC) and the individual Board Members were then invited to join their respective Board.

In addition to providing candidates for the NSWALC Councillors to review and approve we also created two half-day Board workshops as part of the induction of the new Board members. These workshops were in addition to NSWALC’s induction process and were focussed on creating a common understanding of governance, legal obligations, mechanisms of good governance and, above all, help start the process of the board working together as a cohesive unit.

The outcome:

Having approached over 100 potential candidates the search process yielded two Chairs and eleven additional Board Directors. It was completed within the client’s compressed deadlines and delivered on all the initial aims of having skills-based boards which were gender, age and geographically diverse and ended up with over 75% Aboriginal Board Members.

by Graham Willis