Reflections from the outgoing President

As I reflect on the closing of my tenure as President of The Chartered Governance Institute Committee for New Zealand and Chair of Governance NZ, I can only say these two years have been the two most tumultuous years for any role I have held in governance.

I started my tenure in January 2020, filled with excitement for the opportunities that lay ahead. Unfortunately, this excitement was short-lived as like so many other organisations, we had to quickly adjust to the unique environment thrust upon us by the pandemic. Even with the impediments this unique environment thrust upon us; we achieved a great deal in our journey of reinvigoration. Here are some highlights.

The appointment of Graham Hill as the new CEO of Governance NZ. Graham brings a wealth of experience to our organisation. Graham starts with us in early February. His appointment as CEO is the first of many sea changes that were implemented over the last two years.

Another was the refocusing our energies on our purpose, which is ‘To develop excellence in governance professionals.’ Our reinvigorated focus on our purpose led to the signing of MOUs with RiskNZ, AUT University and Massey University. Our new partners add to our offerings and educational strength, especially in our rapidly evolving governance environment where there is a sharpened focus on the importance of continuing education for both aspiring and current directors.

Supporting this focus on continuing education, last year saw growth in the number and quality of our short courses. These were strengthened through the appointment of incredibly talented and experienced presenters, including Jessie Chan MNZM, Dr Peter Crow, Katheren Leitner, Henri Elliott, Bill Ross and Angela Booth.

In May we held our Women in Governance Awards, with amazing nominees covering a wide range of sectors and industries. It was a fantastic night, recognising and highlighting the incredible female governance talent we have in New Zealand. Our annual conference followed this, held virtually in November. We had an impressive array of speakers, including Bob Garrett, Tania Goatley, Sam Stubbs, Dr Duncan Webb, Liz Dawson and others. Both events were fantastic and a credit to all involved.

While the past two years have been tough, as they have been for every organisation in NZ, I am comfortable in the knowledge that Governance NZ has the financial and capability building blocks in place to allow us to execute on the core pillars of our strategy. I must admit to having enjoyed the challenges and opportunities that arose during my tenure. I met amazing people, all of whom were enthusiastic advocates for what we do, while I have also had the privilege of being mentored by people with greater talents than I. Perhaps, this is the greatest benefit bestowed on me from my time in this role.

I look forward to continuing to play a role as a director and New Zealand’s representative on the Council of The Chartered Governance Institute (Global). Thank you for the trust, confidence, and friendship you have given me. I look forward to continuing to serve you in these roles.

Finally, as I reflect on what has been achieved, I am continually reminded that excellence in what we achieve is never an accident. We achieve it through our sincere effort, intelligent choices, and execution. In so many ways, it is our choices – not chance that determines our destiny.

Dr Denis Mowbray FCG FGNZ