Being an APAL Board Director – in their own wordsNews
Nominations are now open for WA and SA candidates for the APAL Board of Directors.
Here are some insights from current APAL Directors on the rewards, opportunities and surprises they found in their roles as Directors.
Greg is an apple grower from New South Wales and has worked within the apple and pear industry for over 30 years. Greg has been a Director since 2011.
“I’ve found the experience really enlightening! When I first joined I thought it was overwhelming, I didn’t fully understand the industry from the point of view of the peak industry body, but over the years I have learned a lot about the industry and corporate governance.
I also learned it’s not just about the states we represent, it’s about meeting and working with a variety of different directors as a team for the betterment of the entire apple and pear industry.
The most rewarding part is the way it’s evolved since I first became a director: with new management, a very highly experienced, motivated chair, who I think has helped transform our business over the last 5-6 years. The investment in our staff has been one of the most important factors for success, and I’ve seen the business grow with high quality, high calibre senior staff.
For someone to succeed in this role, they have to be open minded. You can’t come in with set ideas. You have to be very collegiate, a good communicator. People will need to express themselves and give opinions freely, so you need an open and enquiring mind. Being accepting of other people’s significant expertise is critical to this role on the board. Understanding the business, both domestic and international, also helps.
Our time on the board is finite, we have to be continually open to change. We need growers with time and who are passionate about our industry and who will commit to it.
If you’re curious but you’re not sure that you’re right for the role, reach out to existing or past directors and use them as a sounding board. There’s a wonderful group of people that would freely give advice or encouragement.”
As part of the Savio family farming business, Rosie manages quality assurance, financial management, marketing and part of the production and packing teams. Rosie became an APAL Director in December 2013.
“I have found the experience of being a Director great, sometimes challenging. I think I have learnt a lot and enjoy interacting with fellow directors
I didn’t really know what to expect when I started, I haven’t had any real surprises, but we have over the last few years had some moments of big decisions to be made but always very well steered by our Chair.
The most rewarding thing is getting to know everyone better, feeling like I have much better information as to what is happening around Australia in other districts, also being able to interact with growers in my own district and feel that I can bring them something
A new director always has to remember that he or she is a Director of APAL and any decision that is made has to be with their APAL hat on and not with their own personal/grower hat. The person needs to be able to work cooperatively and whatever happens around the board room table has to be confidential. Any AICD course will emphasise that anyway, I did the 3-day AICD course and found it very beneficial and would recommend to any new Director.”
Paul is South West Regional Manager at Alterra, and was formerly Operations and Business Development Manager at Newton Orchards. He joined the APAL Board on 25 June 2015 as APAL’s director for Western Australia.
“I have said to growers that if they’re considering coming on as a director, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I can’t talk highly enough about the people that I met here. Working with the APAL executive team, Andrew, Phil and Beth, and watching how they operate gives insight into the level of professionalism you can bring to your business. Also, there are few people who can match Dr Michele Allan. She’s exposed to so many different industries, and I regret that my association with her will slow down once I’m no longer on the Board of Directors. Those people alone are four excellent reasons for being a board member.
From a grower point of view, being on the board really opened my eyes to the industry links available. Network exposure has been worth every minute I’ve spent there. Attending the meetings and trade shows throughout the year have been great opportunities and have assisted in giving me a far greater understanding of various components of the industry.
A director has got to be someone who can make that transition between the paddock and the board room. Someone with a good understanding of all aspects of the industry – marketing, growing, packing, finance. You need to be able to find that grounding within the industry. Working with the other directors, I’ve also learned how other people conduct meetings or present arguments, and it’s influenced how I approach those things in my own business dealings.
It’s very daunting at the start, because there’s a lot to learn, but you’ll also be surprised at how quickly you can pick it up.
If you’re not considering it yourself, it’s worth nominating someone within your organisation who you recognise as a right-hand-man or woman, someone coming up through the ranks who would benefit from the huge amount of professional development.”