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Young Salvationist to be given rare seat at Board table

Young Salvationist to be given rare seat at Board table

Young Salvationist to be given rare seat at Board table

14 September 2021

Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson in the boardroom at Territorial Headquarters in Melbourne. One young senior soldier is being given the opportunity to join them at the Board table.

By Darryl Whitecross

The Australia Territory Board is to give an innovative young person the opportunity to help shape the future of The Salvation Army in this country when its members choose a senior soldier under the age of 35 to join them at the table.

Territorial leader and Chair of the Board, Commissioner Robert Donaldson, said the Salvationist would need to be active in their corps and under the age of 35 as of 30 June 2022.

The Under 35 Board Participant Program is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the Army world, with the successful applicant joining the Board in the position of ‘Participating Observer Status’.

“[It is] a tremendous opportunity,” Robert said. “We absolutely want their voice and their representation and their new ways of thinking and their innovative spirit, and we absolutely want The Salvation Army to connect with the generations who are under 35 and for them to be a good voice in shaping the future.”

He said it could not be underestimated how valuable the experience would be, particularly from a personal, professional and Christian leadership perspective.

“Any governance organisation would applaud The Salvation Army for increasing the diversity of the Board and for making space for a younger person to be on the Board,” he said, adding that having younger voices on boards was a “significant area of conversation in governance circles”.

Expressions of interest are being sought by the end of September, after which a selection process would begin. The successful candidate would be required to attend all Board meetings each year [about six] and have full access to information to be considered at each meeting. The person would also be required to sit on one Board committee but, during their tenure, would attend two other committees.

Robert said the participant would engage at all levels but not vote due to the “substantial legal liabilities” associated with being in such a position. “That’s not to suggest they don't have this intelligence or ability. It’s a very significant legal liability you carry by being a director,” he said.

The idea behind the Under 35 Board Participant Program stemmed from conversations about the value of young Salvationists who provided input during the Australia One process. “If we want to have an under 35-year-old Salvationist really speaking into [the Army’s] direction, they need to be at the top table – not the top management table but the top governance table,” Robert said.

The Australia Territory Board reflects the diversity of the Australian community. It comprises external members of the corporate world – with legal, directorship, auditing and risk management experience – and First Nations people, together with several officers including Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson.

Robert said it was a “really good, diverse board” with all members active in their relative faith communities.

To complete an Expression of Interest form, click here. Once completed, the form needs to be emailed to liz.cruickshank@salvationarmy.org.au by 30 September.

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