community southwest logo From 2006 - 2009 I was the inaugural Executive Officer of Community SouthWest Limited (CSW).

CSW is an alliance of non-Government, not-for-profit organisations based in South West Victoria. Initially CSW was funded as a community development project by the Department of Human Services. After the initial funding round it evolved to become a member-funded organisation.

At the time of my involvment our goal was to create a collaborative environment that enabled member organisations to work together, to reduce costs, improve service delivery, without losing their independence. There were initially eight member organisations.

During my tenure as EO I was involved in a number of projects for the alliance, including;

  • Establishing an organisational structure, governance and rules of engagement,
  • Organising professional development forums for members,
  • Establishing a preferred supplier process that resulted in significant cost savings for members,
  • Organising a two-day regional conference for the not-for-profit sector that attracted speakers and attendees from throughout Australia & NZ.
  • Undertaking a variety of general consulting projects for members,
  • Presenting at forums on the success and lessons learned about the alliance model,
  • Implementing strategies for increasing collaboration between members.

I applied for the role with Community Southwest as I saw it as a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity, and I was right. The experiences and learning that evolved from this assignment have been a major influence upon how I consult and work with clients. The key lesson I took from this experience is the ability of collaboration and collective wisdom to find a solution to any issue. That cross-functional collaboration has been a feature of how I help my clients since then.