President’s Message to Members and Supporters – December 2020
Now that we are at the close of the year and preparing for the Annual General Meeting of the club, I want to recognise the efforts of each and every person who has worked so hard to add value to Westies during what has been a very difficult time.
I want to thank members of the Board of Directors who have been steadfast in their determination to implement strategies that have set a clear course for the future. Vice President Mark Goddard, in his role as Finance Director, has been unmoved in making sure that we have set and achieved our financial goals so that we can remain strong and can fund a better footy structure. Derek Bonner, as Football Director, has created an environment which sets us up as a club of choice for potential new recruits. Marteine Edwards is forging new pathways as Membership Director and is proactively seeking better ways to make membership of Westies something to be valued even more. Nick Karasoulos, a Life Governor and our Commercial and Sponsorship Director, has brought sponsors closer to the club and has strengthened those important commercial ties that are so vital to Westies. Jacqui Rose has been relentless as our People, Culture and Governance Director in building a sustainable and accountable framework for the club so that it meets its goals today and leaves a permanent blueprint for club managers and directors of the future. Troy Abbott, also a Life Governor, in his role as Assets and Venue Director has ensured that the right advice has always been provided to the club in the development, maintenance and protection of our infrastructure.
Together, the Board has worked as a tight and effective unit, aimed at delivering the best possible outcomes for the club as a whole. Each Director brings a unique mindset and array of skills to the table, but the power of the Board has been the creative and respectful blending of those unique qualities into a well-considered and well-rounded decision making process.
Several times in the last couple of years I have heard people talk about us being a so-called “business board”. The implication is that we make decisions which ignore the fact that we are, first and foremost, a football club. It is implied that we are unable to make decisions which will have a positive outcome over our success or otherwise on the field. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, our Directors are passionately invested in ensuring that the club enjoys on-field success. Two of them, as noted above, are club Life Governors. The Board feels each lack of success deeply and works harder after each loss to find ways to improve. Personally, I find it insulting to the professionalism of all the individual Directors when it is implied that all they care about is making “business” decisions with no regard for the on-field success that we all crave. The last thing this club needs is unfounded comments which do nothing other than create the potential for divisiveness at Westies. We’re all in this together and I urge everyone to work together.
Particular thanks must go to our CEO Ben Hopkins. He has been a great leader of the club and has been single-minded and professional in the execution of his duties. He has always put the club first and has been instrumental in developing strong relationships with all its stakeholders. Thanks also to Ben’s loyal and hard-working staff – a very effective and tight team indeed.
I want to acknowledge the valuable support provided by SANFL. This is an organisation with whom we have been working together very closely. Westies are part of SANFL – without them we wouldn’t be who we are today. Their interest in the health and success of our club has been unwavering. The Board has enjoyed having Neil Matotek as a regular guest at Board meetings and his advice and assistance has been invaluable as we have been working towards common goals. I look forward to inviting Neil and other SANFL guests to future meetings.
As we prepare for the upcoming Annual General Meeting, I want to thank our outgoing Directors whose positions will become vacant in accordance with the terms of our club constitution. Nick, Jacqui and Troy have contributed so much over the last couple of years and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their work. They have been energetic and vibrant members of the Board. Nick and Jacqui will hand over their respective portfolios to the successful applicants who have applied to the nominations committee for recommendation, and Troy’s portfolio will be passed to the next member-elected candidate. All three have already expressed their desire to continue in roles that will support the club into the future and we thank them for that.
I know that 2020 has been a challenging year. Enough has been written about that already. Our focus now must be on making 2021 a success. Everything is in place for that to happen. We have a stronger, more robust platform from which to launch our campaign for next season. We must work together to realise the rewards that are just around the corner. As we contemplate the exciting prospects for next year, I wish you all a restful and enjoyable holiday period. I hope it brings you and your friends and families together in a spirit of peace and happiness.