Last year, around this time, I made a commitment to myself that I would dedicate one last year to the organisation. I have done that with all my energy and best intentions and I continue to work until August 6th in my elected role. Despite the request of my co-chair to re-stand and many months of careful consideration, I plan to honour the commitment I made to myself a year ago.
I returned to the organisation late in 2008 where the AGM was postponed due to lack of quorum and where only 5 people nominated for the board. The organisation had very little community engagement at this stage. We were also to embark on one of New Mardi Gras hardest periods with the parade party split of 2010.
The AGM in 2009 was a humbling experience for me. Facing the members with a mistake opened the door to engaging the members and community more in the affairs of the organisation. Although some headway has been made in this area, there is still more work to be done to achieve an effective and engaging framework for consultation.
I accepted the position of Co-Chair in 2009 against the advice of my counsel. I did so because I believe in the organisation and the community, and in the ethos of what the organisation stood for. The 2010 season was the most difficult season of the 6 seasons I have been on a Mardi Gras Board.
The AGM of 2010 put our organisation at significant risk following a season where protecting the brand was paramount. I agreed to stand for another term to begin the process of turning the financial result around, re-engaging a lost community and paying particular emphasis to women in the organisation.
2011 saw the Mardi Gras parade become a civil rights movement once again, which saw a huge focus on relationship equality. I was very proud to stand on Oxford street that night.
Of personal note for me, the Women Say Something event sold out during season. It was the first time in three years that I have seen women from such diverse generations and backgrounds come together and talk about their lives, opinions and values, and wanting to be part of a greater community. I was honored to be a part of this wonderful event and be amongst such inspiring women.
Mardi Gras is on the pinnacle of great change and transformation. What it requires now is fresh energy and passion to ensure the plans the current board have put in place and the progress we have made in U-turning the organisation, are seen through and indeed added to by people who are strategic, skilled and professional.
I hope that the individuals in our community who are quick to criticise do not provide a repeat of the election of last year over the coming month. The damage that occurs to the organisation by individuals has the potential to impact at the highest levels of our government relationships and our sponsors.
For members reading this, I firstly encourage you to vote, and then vote for those candidates that are skilled, professional, and strategic and are known to abide by our codes of conduct. You will see if individuals have signed the Candidate code of conduct shortly.
Whilst I am sad to leave the board, I will not leave the organisation entirely. I am excited to be able to step away from the overall big picture and focus in on areas that excite me. Area’s such as the women’s sub-committee and associated diversity programmes. I can now provide more energy to continue building these specific parts of the organisation and ensuring that women and minorities in our community continue to have a voice within Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras will always hold a special place in my heart and like any difficult intense relationship, I have laughed and cried in equal measures. Leaving is always hard, but it’s time. It’s time for me, and it’s time for the organisation to receive some fresh blood, passion and ideas to take it to the next level of its lifetime towards better years. I’m pleased that I could have been there to see it through some of its worst, and be able to hand it over knowing that it is on its way back to greatness.
See you at the AGM.