MTLP Board Observer Position

Exclusive opportunity for MTLP Graduates

The MTLP Board Observer position enables one Graduate to undertake a 12-month position as a non-voting observer on the Destination Melbourne Board

Destination Melbourne offered this new initiative for the first time in 2016 and David McCarthy, Acting Director Business Development, Melbourne Convention Bureau and a graduate of MTLP 2014, fully participated as board observer for the 12-month period. Read about David's experience below.

In 2017, we were please to offer the position to Milton Collins, Managing Director of Glenbroch Consulting. Milton has done MTLP in 2016 and sat in the Board from April 2017 to February 2018. Currently, Lakshmi Cashmore, Business Development Coordinator at State Library Victoria, and a graduate of the 2017 program is our MTLP Board Observer.

What's involved?

The successful graduate would be an observer (a non-voting member) of Destination Melbourne’s Board and attend six bi-monthly meetings from April to the following February. 

During this period the MTLP Observer will learn about fundamental principles and functions of not for profit boards, the roles of board members, fiscal processes and other governance priorities. This program will provide the successful applicant with first-hand exposure of the role of a Board and its decision making, as well as targeted professional development to give the Observer important skills for their future careers as board members.

This is a voluntary opportunity and the commitment would involve six board meetings. The meetings run from 8.30am to 10.30am on the third Friday of the month (April, June, August, October, December and February).

Interview with David McCarthy

2016 MTLP Board Observer

David McCarthy, Director of Business Development at Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), was the successful applicant for the inaugural position of Board Observer in 2016. 

Destination Melbourne recently caught up with David to find out how he found the experience. 


What had you hoped to get out of the Board Observer position? 

I had hoped to gain insight into how Boards operate, what the responsibilities of board members are, how issues/challenges are dealt with at Board level, and general governance of an organisation. This is an area that I haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to at a deep level until now.

How did you find the application process?

I thought it was a straight forward process. Having both a written application and interview provided a chance to discuss the role in more detail, what the expectations were, and what my motivation was to apply for the role.

What MTLP learnings were you able to use in the position? 

Many of my key learnings came into play, however those that have been through the program will be familiar with the GROW process; this was the key learning that came into play during the board discussions.

What was the most surprising part of being a Board Observer?

The amount of work that Board members put into various activities in between meetings. Meeting with key stakeholders, attending events and promoting the role and importance of Destination Melbourne. Although it is an observer role, I could still participate in discussion items and provide feedback and comments which was encouraging.

Have a seat at the table to learn, be inspired, develop new skills, and to contribute towards agenda items in our industry. David McCarthy - MTILP Board Observer 2016

How were you received by the rest of the DM Board?

The Board are a very welcoming group of professionals and should I ask a question, they would always take time to provide an explanation and/or reasoning behind the decisions reached. An important aspect of the role was before the first meeting, I was taken through an induction that provided me with an understanding of how the meetings are run, what each paper is referring to and how to read them all! This included CEO reports, finance and risk papers, general business etc.

What business lessons have you learnt as a result of being a Board Observer?

There is so much happening in our industry right now; in Melbourne, the APAC region and around the world. What Destination Melbourne do well is stay true to their values and link their decisions back to the strategy of the organisation and not get too caught up in what everyone else is doing. Yes, you need to adapt to change and obstacles that get thrown at you out of left-field, but how and why you change should always reflect your business strategy and should be communicated to all staff so they are kept informed.

Practically, what has been involved as a Board Observer?

Reading the board papers before each meeting and noting any discussion items that will be raised, attending the meetings at the Destination Melbourne offices, and attending related DMEL events. The preparation work before each meeting was crucial, however not too disruptive to my day-to-day job.

Will you look for more Board opportunities as a result of holding this position?

I would like to be considered for future board opportunities that become available. This has been a great introduction that provided me with some insight into how Boards operate and the responsibilities of its members.

Why should MTLP graduates apply for the DM Board Observer position? 

To have a seat at the table to learn, be inspired, develop new skills, and to contribute towards agenda items in our industry.