The Harvard Club of Australia has had a busy year with something for every member and many new members joining as well. We have held over 30 events attended by over 900 members and guests. These included 3 Video-linked events for members around the Country, including members of our sister club in Victoria. The most popular of these was HBS Professor Rosabeth Kantor talking about the Advanced Leadership initiative at Harvard. This is the first Harvard program that works across the 12 Harvard faculties. Two Australians, Tom Dery and Amanda Rischbieth, have completed this program. In September, the Prime Minister helped us celebrate 50 years of the Harvard Club R.G. Menzies Scholarship to Harvard. This event was attended by 200 members and provided an opportunity to thank the donors and benefactors who support all of our scholarships. The Monday club has continued to offer a wide range of interesting speakers and we had several Senior Leaders speak to the club as well. We also enjoyed an arts program that included performances by Harvard “a Cappella” singing groups, and a well-attended theatre night at NIDA.
Our mentoring program has joined 10 mentees with 10 mentors and we plan to progressively expand this program. We supported Global Networking Nights organised by the Harvard Alumni Association as an inexpensive way of enjoying the camaraderie of fellow members. We now have an active group of recent graduates and younger members who are hosting periodic Young-member events. Our chapters in Brisbane, Perth and Canberra are active and offer both social events and events with guest speakers.
Our annual Program for Leaders was a significant success with high ratings from participants and a significant financial surplus to support scholarship programs. 7 Club members attended the Program for Leaders. Two received a scholarship for a fully paid place, and 5 were offered half scholarships. The 2018 program for Leaders will be held at the end of July and features Professors Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Ethan Bernstein teaching “The future of work in the digital age: winning through talent, technology and improved productivity.”
This year we have awarded or supported 20 scholarships, including 2 Menzies post graduate scholarships, 4 Australia Harvard Fellowships, 2 Non Profit Fellowships, 3 School Principal scholarships, 4 Wolfensohn Public Service Scholarships, 2 indigenous post graduate scholarships and 3 indigenous Bursaries. All of these worthy scholars will make a significant contribution to our country in the years ahead.
We are nearing the completion of our strategy development process, which will progressively develop new initiatives for Members, for Australia and for Harvard. To fully implement our ambitious plans will require us to recruit 30 additional volunteer Program Leaders over the next few years. We presently have 24 Program leaders. There is a role for everyone. Please let me know if you would like to make a contribution!
We are now working to change our organisation model to increase capacity and capability to deliver a much broader range of services and programs. To do this we plan to appoint 5 Vice Presidents, each in charge of a Mission Group. The President and VP’s will form an executive Board which will meet quarterly. The Council will continue to be comprised of Program Leaders, including Chapter convenors, and will meet 3 or 4 times a year to celebrate success and review progress. The change in organisation model will require changes to our 56 year old constitution. We will be communicating and explaining the changes in early 2018 with a view to ratifying at the 2018 AGM.
I would like to thank all our volunteers, without whom none of the above is possible. And I would particularly like to recognise and thank Suzie Ruse for her extraordinary work to oversee everything that the Club delivers to members.
I am excited by the many opportunities we have in 2018 to enhance camaraderie among members, to support professional development of our members, and to offer transformational scholarship and fellowship programs to outstanding Australians.
I wish you a happy holiday season and looking forward to connecting with you in 2018.