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AGM Election 2020


2020 ELECTION OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS

There are four vacancies on the Executive Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Limited and Mardi Gras Arts Limited.

Before you vote, familiarise yourself with the role of a board and the group responsibility of directors - READ HERE.

Candidates were asked to state their reason for serving SGLMG as a board director and outline their expertise, skills, experiences and attributes demonstrating capacity to act as a professional Director. They were asked to assess their skill level in governance, accounting & finance, risk management, human resources, arts/events sector, legal, strategy and behavioural attributes supported by their CV.

  • All candidates state that they have the behavioural attributes: Team player, collaborative, independent thinking, integrity, high ethical standards, excellent verbal communication, listening skills.
  • All candidates declared that they have read 'So, you want to be a director?' and understand the legal duties of a director for a public company and understand that they must make decisions in the best interests of the whole organisation. 
  • All candidates declared that they will adhere to all director’s duties and relevant policies, and will apply themselves to serve as a director in the best interests of SGLMG as a whole. 

Later in November 2020, Mardi Gras members will be emailed a unique link to vote. Please contact company.secretary@mardigrasarts.org.au if you have any enquiries regarding the election.
 

 


MELANIE SCHWERDT

I am lesbian and together with you, live each day as part of our minority. I understand diversity, my mother is a person living with disability. We have been publicly ridiculed, assaulted with weapons/robbed, been overlooked and excluded in previous workplaces. I recognise oppressions and injustices are worse for many of our LGBTIQ and that SGLMG has a role to right these wrongs and to support our community. SGLMG is one of the oldest, continuously operating LGBTIQ organisations in Australia and is recognised internationally. SGLMG was built on the foundations laid by early community activists who fought for LGBTIQ rights and I would like to contribute to that legacy. I would like to ensure the organisation stays attuned to the wishes of members and the broader community. My role would be one of continuing governance, developing policy, lobbying and ensuring the company has the right professional management team to achieve its strategic priorities, for the benefit of our members. Our community is resilient, we don’t give up. In addition to the Religious Freedom Discrimination Bills challenging our rights, COVID-19 provided additional challenges to all our lives. I have the appropriate skills and desire to provide forward looking strategies that complement our Strategic plan, include our communities and ensure our operations continue to be sustainable in the long term. I am willing and enthusiastic to comply with the internal processes especially the code of conduct and continue volunteering my expertise to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to benefit our members.

I demonstrate my capacity to act as a professional director daily in private practice and as volunteer in the arts and culture not for profit sector within our LGBTIQ+ community. I am a solicitor, admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW, hold current qualifications Master of Business, accountancy, project management (practitioner), justice administration and applied knowledge of corporate governance platforms. I have proven and applied skills as director to navigate legislation, fiduciary duties, SGLMG and MGA Ltd's Constitutions and internal policies and ACNC standards required to be a responsible person and provide modern corporate governance in line with best practice. As a SGLMG/MGA board member, my skills and experience will continue to contribute to the delivery of a world-class festival of events, fostered creativity, thought leadership and public discourse on social justice issues, built strong partnerships, delivered value and accountability to members and other stakeholders. Please elect me to continue as one of your directors, I will commit the time to fulfil my governance duties, be inclusive, consider equality with social justice matters, be ever mindful of the consequences of important decisions the board makes as a group, make considered decisions in the best interests and sustainable future for Mardi Gras.

Expertise:

  • Legal
  • Accounting
  • Governance
  • Stakeholder management
     

 


AMBER LOOMIS

As a proud bisexual and non-binary person, I am passionate about creating spaces that fight for the liberation of all LGBTQIA+ people. About 20 years ago bisexual people had to justify their place in the LGBTQIA+ community to even become Mardi Gras members. While we’ve made some progress, there’s still substantial work to do in ensuring Mardi Gras is a place where all LGBTQIA+ people feel safe, and meaningfully included. I want to honour the bi+ people who came before me in fighting for justice and continue to work in solidarity with First Nations and refugee rights movements. I have experience in community organising, social research, and policy. My background also includes work in interpersonal violence prevention/response, program evaluation, and healthcare enrolment for refugees and asylum seekers in the United States. I believe my passion for the community and for social justice makes me a strong candidate for board director. Ultimately, I am running with Pride in Protest because we need a parade that places community above corporations, that centres the experiences of marginalised communities, and pushes back against the status quo. I'm excited that we have an opportunity to create this change together.

I have experience in community organising, strategic planning, program management, and evaluation. My role as an organiser with Sydney Bi+ Network has helped develop my skills in community engagement, consultation, and community advocacy. I have been involved in organising Fair Day stalls, managing volunteers, and leading regular community events. This year, I was part of a collective which organised an online bi+ conference featuring over 30 free events. I also bring skills in community developed and led research which aims to improve health outcomes. Through this work I have learned how to effectively and efficiently build partnerships, develop project plans, and critically assess outcomes.

Expertise:

  • Pride in ProtestDid not supply the relevant document for skill validation.

 


JAMES BEAUMONT

I would like the opportunity to use my skills and experience working with Boards in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, to assist SGLMG in having a sustainable future, while concurrently giving back to the community.

My previous experience has included being the General Counsel & Company Secretary for an Australian and New Zealand credit company, where I was part of the Executive Management team. I believe that the following skills and experience will assist me in executing the duties as Director of MGA and SGLMG well: 

1. Demonstrated experience working with Boards in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, including drafting and reviewing board papers.
2. Demonstrated experience in the executive management of large scale organisations.
3. Ability to identify and make sound, commercial recommendations on legal, risk, and compliance issues.
4. Experience in mediating and resolving disputes in a high pressure environment and at scale.
5. A customer centric mindset.
6. Active knowledge of issues facing the LGBTQI community, including how recent events have affected the Arts.

Expertise:

  • Legal
  • Governance
  • Human Resources

 


EVAN GRAY

My name is Evan, and I’m asking for your vote for Mardi Gras board director. Activism is the lifeblood of our community. Together our community fought the criminalisation of sodomy and sex work, stood together during the HIV crisis, and more recently we have struggled for marriage equality and against so-called ‘religious freedoms’. We need to keep on fighting. I firmly believe Mardi Gras needs to be part of that fight, and that this fight extends to solidarity with refugees, and standing with First Nations people who are leading the struggle against over-policing and incarceration in Black Lives Matter. These fights are our fights. A privatised fashion parade where people pay to watch the police, the big banks, Qantas, and the Liberals march in a circle inside one of Gladys' stadiums is not the way forward for Mardi Gras. It's time for us to return to our roots, and I am standing in the hopes of making that happen. If you agree with me, then please vote for me and other Pride in Protest candidates. 

I have participated in Mardi Gras for about a decade, and have organised floats for most of this time. More broadly I've been a consistent volunteer and organiser in the community ranging from being a peer educator in ACON's Start Making Sense program, a volunteer with the ICLC, a convenor of CARR for several years and helped organise the biggest LGBTIQ+ rights protests in Australian history. I've also worked for a trade union and for NGOs, interned at a newspaper, been on the executive of my student union, done extensive policy work on a volunteer basis in the Greens, and have studied in communications and law. This means I am quite conversant in industrial matters, how to relate to the media, have done budget negotiations with the university, have composed policy, have organised public gatherings of size etc.

Expertise:

  • Pride in ProtestDid not supply the relevant document for skill validation.

 


ALEX BOUCHET

Being as involved in activist causes, I believe that Mardi Gras needs more voices that will represent the community ethos. Whether it be queerphobic religious freedoms bills, anti-trans education bills, or black deaths in custody, I believe that Mardi Gras needs to take a stronger stance on these issues. 

I have worked in management positions in hospitality, and spent two years working doing logistics for events. More recently, I have held roles as an administrative officer, which involved bookkeeping and basic accountancy.

Expertise:

  • Pride in ProtestDid not supply the relevant document for skill validation.

 


SARO MUGNAINI

It's important to have a representation at Board level of members who are over 50 to ensure all of the LGBTIQ community is included in SGLMG initiatives and strategies, I can add this dimension to board. I have been advocate for LGBTIQ diversity and inclusion in the workplace where I was the founder and leader the company’s LGBTIQ employee network advocating for Australian Workplace Equality (AWEI). I believe that the combination of business administration experience and my advocacy for access and equity provides me with a unique set of skills. If elected, I would be honoured to serve and support SGLMG in its ongoing commitment to sustainability, so it may continue to deliver world class events.

I have relevant Post Graduate qualifications in Business Administration where I have completed Company and Securities Law which provides me with the necessary knowledge of the Corporations Act 2001, which is essential for any competent company director. Professionally, I’ve been an executive of a publicly listed company for the last 15+ years, with responsibility for the Asia Pacific business where I have gained financial, risk management and corporate governance skills.

Expertise:

  • Governance
  • Events
  • Strategy
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
     

PETE DARBY

As a proud member of the LGBTIQA+ community, and as an active participant/organiser of many LGBTIQA+ events over many years, I am passionate about LGBTIQA+ rights being upheld and respected. I am also passionate about promoting reproductive rights within the LGBTIQA+ community and inclusion of cross-sectional groups. I also want to ensure that the SGLMG remain a viable and financially strong organisation so that it can lead the way and continue to promote diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice whilst maintaining a good trajectory into its long-term future.

My extensive work within the Not-For-Profit sector has provided me with demonstrated experience within the corporate governance and compliance field including, leadership, risk management, policies and processes, conflict management, change management, developing and implementing risk management systems and health and safety management systems. I have assisted in managing award winning national projects including the NDIS Citizen’s Jury Scorecard project. I am also skilled in the area of advocacy (systemic and individual) and have extensive experience working with diverse LGBTIQA+ groups within the Community Services industry. I have also sat on Membership and Fundraising Board subcommittees. With your support and if elected, I promise to put the best interests of the SGLMG front and centre, and to be an engaged and committed Director and will aim to work in a harmonious and constructive manner with the Board, staff, volunteers, members and external stakeholders. 

Expertise:

  • Governance
  • Compliance
  • Community Engagement

 


BRIDGET HARILAOU

I would like to represent Queer Trans People of Colour both on the Board and in the Mardi Gras parade, for strong values on inclusion, diversity and anti-racism.

I have been a community organiser and activist lobbying for human rights in a number of different campaigns for over 8 years, this includes refugee rights, campaigning during the marriage equality postal vote and having organised a 200-strong float for refugee rights at the 2020 Mardi Gras Parade. I believe this passion for activism and experience in social justice and community makes me well-positioned to advocate for my community and represent diversity as a Director. As a Queer Trans Person of Colour, I am positioned to understand the nature of culturally and linguistically diverse communities, migrant communities and communities for whom English is a second language because of my background. This includes the barriers to participation they might face, cultural safety and anti-racist safe spaces within the LGBTQIA+ community, as racism is still a huge issue faced by many of us.

Expertise:

  • Pride in ProtestDid not supply the relevant document for skill validation.

 


ROB SMITH

Having served on the Board since May 2020, I feel I have already made a contribution to improving oversight and governance as well as adding a high level of director experience. With the challenging circumstances of 2020 and heading towards a very different year in 2021, the Board needs on-going stability as well as experienced leadership over this difficult period. I have begun to build positive relationships with the Co-Chairs, other Board members, the CEO and the Company Secretary and I look forward to my on-going involvement.

As Divisional Director for a corporate organisation across Asia-Pacific, I have extensive Company Director experience across many key areas including financial, people leadership, health & safety, employee engagement and sales & marketing. This role also includes corporate governance and regulatory requirements. We operate in a guest-facing and consumer-driven environment that needs to adapt to changing market trends and demands. 

My experience in my current and previous employment roles as well as 6 months experience on the Board of Mardi Gras ensures I can fully demonstrate my ability to act as a professional Director.

Expertise:

  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Risk management
  • Events
  • Human Resources

 


ABS OSSEIRAN

I am passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, and doing so through experiences - theatre, events, etc. I believe that SGLMG's vision and purpose of promoting diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice through culture, creativity and partnerships is aligned to my personal purpose. This is evidenced through my work with Queer Screen, where we celebrate the diversity of sexualities and gender identities through queer storytelling on screen, by inclusive and respectful communities full of creativity, inspiration and pride.

I have worked in Australia and Internationally in professional services for over 15 years. I am currently a Partner at one of the 'big 4' accounting firms supporting my clients manage their Tax and enhance their Governance frameworks; and I am the leader of the Sydney LBGTQI+ group and part of the National Steering Committee. 

Expertise:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Governance
  • Legal
  • Risk management

 


GED SMITH

As a member of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras I would consider it an honour and a privilege to serve this great organisation and help to achieve its strategic purpose to be a global leader in the promotion of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice through culture, creativity and partnerships. I identify as Gay and have been a part of the Sydney Gay scene for 25 years. When I arrived in Sydney from the bush in 1993 the SGLMG was a guiding light in helping me discover who I was as an individual and instrumental through shaping the confident individual I am today. I have had extensive experience in events management with our bank, having worked as a business development manager, which included involvement in various functions over the years including working with the Department of Education Arts Departments in various events including School Spectacular. I believe that this experience would be invaluable with providing value to SGLMG in contributing to help maintain a world class festival with contributions to events. I have worked for Teachers Mutual Bank Limited for 26 years. During this time I have worked in a number of disciplines that I believe will be advantageous to the skill set already demonstrated on the Board. Primarily the fact that I have been on the Senior Executive team running the bank for over 10 years I believe would bring a vast amount of financial experience, as well as Human Resources and Risk. 

10 years of Senior Leadership in a Financial Institution in the disciplines of Digital, Information Technology, Sales and Marketing 8 years General Human Resources experience in a Financial Institution. Risk and Governance experience Financial Management Experience 

Expertise:

  • Strategy
  • eBusiness
  • Risk management
  • Finance

 


JESSE MATHESON

As current Mardi Gras Co-Chair, board member since 2017 and Sydney WorldPride board member, I have worked hard to ensure Mardi Gras remains financially sustainable and achieves its vision of being a global leader in the promotion of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice through culture, creativity and partnerships. Mardi Gras is an incredibly important platform for political self-expression and creativity for our community that requires and deserves strong, stable and innovative leadership delivering good governance with the best interests of Mardi Gras always front of mind, which I always strive to provide. COVID-19 has raised many challenges and opportunities for Mardi Gras - now more than ever the board requires knowledgeable, responsive and experienced board members to ensure it rises to the occasion, overcomes the challenges, takes advantage of the opportunities and comes out bigger and better on the other side. That is what I will do if re-elected for a further two years.

I have a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy, a bachelor’s degree in Communications and have undertaken board directors training with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. As a Mardi Gras board member for four years and a long time volunteer, I have used my skills and expertise to assist with strategic planning for Mardi Gras; developed brand building and promotional initiatives; increased membership and community stakeholder engagement, participated in community-related advocacy and ensured the delivery of good governance and financial sustainability. Throughout my career working across media and communications, not-for-profit organisations and in government relations, I have been successful in utilising strategic partnerships, leading teams and working on complex issues. I have always represented Mardi Gras in a professional manner and have been dedicated to serving for Mardi Gras, the membership and the LGBTIQ+ community.

Expertise:

  • Communications
  • Community Engagement
  • Strategy

 


 

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