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. For the 4th year in a row, Destination Melbourne will be offering this opportunity to another MTLPer.
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).
Lakshmi Cashmore, Business Development Coordinator at State Library, was the successful applicant for the Board Observer position in 2018.
Destination Melbourne recently caught up with Lakshmi to find out how he found the experience.
What had you hoped to get out of the Board Observer position?
When I applied for the Board Observer position my main goal was to expand my knowledge on management and strategic planning in business. This in turn would give me hands on knowledge when applying and being involved in management and board positions.
How did you find the application process?
The application process was much like applying for a job – I sent my cover letter and resume, and few days later I was lucky enough to be called in for an interview. The interview was a chat about what I was looking to get out of the position and what my plans might be in the future. I really enjoyed talking about the future as it made me realise what I want to do and how I want to achieve it.
After been selected for the position, I had a session which included learning about the board, their current projects and reading through documents of prior agendas to get an understanding of the processes and procedures of the board.
What MTLP learnings were you able to use in the position?
Self-management and positive life direction were major learnings I got from MTLP – this included time management and prioritising, as well as making sure what I'm doing is achieving and heading towards where I want to be. Applying for the position was the first major decision I made out of MTLP – and I am so glad I did.
Applying these learning in a business sense helped shape my understanding for why and how the board was achieving its objectives for the year and also look at possible avenues on where more effective decisions might be made.
What was the most surprising part of being a Board Observer?
I got to observe the process of adding new board members, this was a great experience as it was interesting to see what DM was looking for in board member. It was also great to see how the day to day activities worked into the overall strategy.
How were you received by the rest of the DM Board?
Having known and worked with Destination Melbourne, I knew that they were a positive and hardworking team. This carried through to the board and everyone was very welcoming and open to questions and discussion. I observed that everyone had different positions within the industry and contributed different opinions and points of views from their individual experiences in business. During my time there was also two new board members inducted which was an interesting process to observe. Everyone’s current skills and contributions were mapped out and gaps were identified as what the new members needed to contribute.
What business lessons have you learnt as a result of being a Board Observer?
The main thing I have learnt from being a board observer is that there is so much ‘behind the scenes’ work that is done before day to day tasks are done by staff. I found it so interesting seeing the breakdown of how all the businesses resources have to be allocated to each project and how this can impact other areas of the business.
Practically, what has been involved as a Board Observer?
Being a board observer involves reading board papers before each meeting, following up on anything I didn’t understand and then attending each board meeting. The board paper were structured in the same way each month and looked at the business in a breakdown of financials, CEO reporting and project management.
I learnt a lot about DM through these and I found it most interesting seeing the ‘back end’ planning and management of the events that I had been attending for years.
Will you look for more Board opportunities as a result of holding this position?
I have already been appointed to the Young Tourism Network Committee which I am very excited about and am definitely looking to be involved with other boards as part of my ongoing career.
Why should MTLP graduates apply for the DM Board Observer position?
I think all MTLP graduates should look at applying for the observer position as it is a great way to continue learning about yourself and the way you see business. It is also a fantastic process of applying (application and interview) – it made me think about what I have achieved in my career so far – and where I want to go.