SwanCare – Difference Maker Diversity Award Winner

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A few years ago, SwanCare identified a need to refocus its strategy and its future – especially if it was to stay a viable and sustainable institution organisation. This involved moving away from a ‘boys club’ board mentality into an organisation that actively sought innovative thinkers and ‘doers’.

Their CEO, Graham Francis credits their ability to embrace change is bought through diversity initiatives. The SwanCare Board’s mix of members is impressive, with their youngest member beginning their tenure at 27 years of age, and the oldest now approaching 83. Being involved in SwanCare’s Emerging Leaders in Governance Program has supported this strategy, and opened networks to younger individuals that an aged care organisation isn’t typically exposed. 

In the initial stages, SwanCare went about this by looking solely at skill sets of its board directors. Where initially individuals were sought based purely on skills through personal networks; it has now evolved to include people from a variety of ages and genders, and different thought processes.

While age diversity is only one aspect of the type of diversity being achieved (the % of females on the board is currently 44.4% – well above the Australian average). Graham Francis (SwanCare CEO) states that “Diversity is important to us. It’s done a lot for our organisation, from increasing efficiency, creating an excellent culture, and creating a future focused strategy. While we still have a lot more to achieve, we believe that our ability to embrace a broad range of opinions from a variety of ages and different genders validates and strengthens all we do.”

Being a Difference Maker Award recipient, SwanCare is recognised as an organisation that has a strong commitment and alignment to practical and robust strategies that have been a significant driver in the current and the long term sustainable outlook for the organisation.

With the Australia spotlight firmly focused on gender parity in Boardrooms across the nation, it’s on going commitment to further embracing diversity while ensuring it has a robust strategy to plan for sustainable and achievable growth path. To do this properly, they utilise a detailed skills matrix process that is aligned to SwanCare’s long term strategy. Enabling the Board to ask the right questions at the right time, and ensure they can challenge information provided by external experts and internal reports.

Without a doubt, the SwanCare Board are dedicated to implement and support board diversity and enjoy this process well into the future. Believing it is a fundamental component of the authentic engagement and communication that helps develop the culture and community focus for which SwanCare stands for.

Author: Samantha Bowen, Acorn Network

Pictured Above: Dr Nicky Howe, CEO Southcare presenting Difference Maker Diversity Award to Robin Watts, Board Director SwanCare

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