A duty to help

Hear from the former members of the Diocesan Advisory Board

John O’Connor

John O’Connor works at Port Waratah Coal Services and has a background spanning nearly forty years in IT Operations and Business Risk Management across varied industries. John volunteered to serve on the Diocesan Advisory Board (DAB) from 2018 until 2023.

John said the diversity of experience and expertise in the DAB membership was excellent and exposed him to a variety of matters and issues.

“It was energising to work on a Board that was a constant source of knowledge and inspiration, which applied to a wide range of operational, statutory, business, risk and asset management topics,” said John.

“I have taken so much from the generous participation of other members. It is a collegial team, where all members were willing to listen and to grant the opportunity for you to provide your perspective and knowledge.”

“One minute you might be talking about how you can support [Community] Kitchens and then you’re talking about the Diocese building a high school or making some other socioeconomic contribution.

“There’s pastoral, finance, welfare, and statutory matters, it’s varied and interesting and different. It’s not just the usual business planning or corporate matters,” he continued.

Having served on regional grassroots sporting committees and superannuation trustee company boards, John found the structure of the DAB was different to what he knew, but a valuable learning. 

“As a member of an Advisory Board you are there as a point of external experience and expertise, not as the decision point, and that’s not typically common in a corporate Board setting. You’re there to give your best advice and make recommendations. Decisions might be made based on this advice, and potentially from other advice, but ultimately it isn’t up to you. And you learn that’s ok,” said John.

When asked what he valued the most about his time on the Board, he said, “I never sensed any self interest from other members. And because of that, you were always listened to. Your opinion was valued. Even if it wasn’t agreed with, it was valued. And that was a really healthy thing and something I will continue to carry forward both in my professional life and personal life.”

Paul Crosbie

Paul Crosbie was the Chair of the DAB (at which time it was known as the Diocesan Finance Council and Diocesan Audit Committee) for nearly 12 years.

Paul says during his time as Chair he saw a lot of success which he attributes to the leadership and staff effort of the Diocese. Paul saw the introduction of St Nicholas Early Education, including the OOSH and Pathways programs, as well as the introduction of affordable housing, the expansion of CatholicCare and quality outcomes in building and expanding new and existing schools.

“It was positive. There was nothing negative about what we were doing. Every agency in the Diocese was optimistic and looking ahead and it was great to be there, listen to them and in a small way, help them,” said Paul.

“The Board gave us a chance to make strong relationships, and I think all of us would be able to look back with a bit of satisfaction at what was achieved. I have a lot of confidence and comfort with the Diocese through the structures and protocols they have in place.”

When asked if he would recommend joining the Board to others, Paul said certainly.

“I think being on the Board comes from feeling a duty to help. I followed that duty and I’m very happy to think that I did do it and I was very satisfied with the results. "The purpose, of course, was always being a small cog in the Diocesan’s world and ultimately, enabling the spreading of the Word of the Lord.”

Follow mnnews.today on Facebook.

Other Aurora Issues