Over 50 women and young women gathered at historic Ayers House in Adelaide last night to celebrate YWCA Australia’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). Joined by over 30 attendees at satellite AGMs in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Broken Hill, this was a real demonstration of YWCA’s achievements as a truly national women’s organisation.
Hosted by journalist Jennie Lenman, the AGM celebrated YWCA’s significant achievements of the past 12 months and recognised how far the organisation has come since the 2018 merger.
Thank you to our live artist Emma Rowland for her amazing work in graphic recording our AGM proceedings!
Reflection and Announcements
President Julie Boyd reflected on progress made on the merger promises, including the opportunity to unite our resources and our expertise and to align our programs and services to our purpose and goals. Reflecting on this, YWCA also announced two initiatives which are designed to support YWCA’s key strategic priorities of Safety and Leadership.
The first, a two-year pilot of a new Young Women’s Accommodation project to be based in Campbelltown in New South Wales. This initiative will provide support services and housing for young women aged 18-26 recovering from the trauma of family violence enabling them to start the journey to live independent, healthy lives.
The second, a board traineeship program to be launched in March 2020 to provide hands-on governance training and leadership opportunities to young women members. The traineeships will be made available to two young women members aged between 18 and 30 years.
Ilena Young, former YWCA Australia Board Director and a key driving figure behind the 2018 merger, was awarded Life Membership during the AGM. The Life Membership Award acknowledges and recognises a member’s outstanding and distinctive contribution to our work in advancing gender equality, and who has had significant impact on the organisation and the community.
As stated by Deputy President Isabelle Chassain, “Ilena can be credited with navigating the National Merger Project on its often tumultuous and difficult path – it could not have happened without her.”
Programs and Services Update
CEO Michelle Phillips delivered an update on key programs and services achievements in the past twelve months – affording our members many opportunities to applaud and acknowledge the efforts of all our program managers!
For instance, did you know that since the June 2018 merger, we have secured over $25m in grant funding to continue the great work of the previous member associations? This helps us to deliver almost 60 programs and services in metropolitan and regional locations across the country.
We have grown our members significantly, and now have over 2,000 members across Australia, with 30% of our members being young women under the age of 30. At the same time, we have refreshed our model for Feminist Local Action Groups and Friendship Groups, and significantly increased our social media audience to over 24,000 followers.
We recognise some of the concerns raised by members during the AGM in improving our engagement with members, particularly in local and regional areas, and we are committed to ensuring that members continue to be the driving force behind YWCA activities.
Formal AGM Business
As part of formal AGM business, YWCA members were asked to vote electronically prior to AGM on eight special resolutions. The results of this voting is as follows:
|Special Resolution||Election Result, % Yes|
|Removal of the prohibition on directors receiving remuneration||No, 73.7%|
|Age limit of members be lowered from 16 to 12 years||Yes, 87.60%|
|Quorum to be reduced from 50 to 30 members||Yes. 84.80%|
|Change to the appointment process of directors||Yes, 81.00%|
|Simplification of provisions around Young Women’s Council||Yes, 94.20%|
|Simplification of provisions around Nominations Committee||Yes, 90.80%|
|Miscellaneous changes to the constitution||Yes, 96.40%|
|Appointment of Auditor.||Yes, 98.70%|
Approved changes will be taken into the Constitution and are effective immediately.
Election of Board Members
Three new board members were elected by member vote – Freya Mulvey, Lina Tchung and Molly George.
I am a commercial lawyer from Darwin in the Northern Territory. In my spare time, I am involved in a range of extra-curricular activities shaped around justice and advocacy. In 2019 I had the privilege of being on the YWCA’s Young Women’s Council. I am passionate about gender equality and am invested in contributing to the YWCA’s movement and vision of a better future for Australian women, young women and girls.
I would love the opportunity to continue to work closely with the YWCA as an Australian Director. I perceive a directorship with the YWCA as an excellent way to use my industry expertise and experience to continue to contribute and collaborate for the ongoing growth and success of our organisation. I believe through the collective agency of our member base we will continue to accelerate the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women.
A dedicated and experienced leader with a broad background in finance, audit, risk and governance. Lina is also a wife and mother of two children, who balances life as a full time working mother and considers it important to contribute back to the community.
Lina recently joined Macquarie Group as the Head of Internal Audit leading the Banking, Investment Management and Leasing audit portfolios globally. She previously worked as a Director at EY in the financial services assurance practice. Having spent 17 years at EY, Lina specialised in wealth and asset management and worked in both Sydney and San Francisco. Lina was appointed as an U30 Director of YWCA NSW in 2009 and continued to serve on the Board, Finance, Risk and Compliance Committee and later as a strong advocate on the NSW Merger Committee until the organisations integrated on 1 June 2018.
A capable and confident leader who is a fast learner, adaptable and able to respond positively to challenges, Lina is excited about joining the Board and contributing her skills and experiences.
Molly is creative, curious and motivated. With a background in fine arts, she loves arts and culture, learning about food, and is constantly inspired by creativity within the Australian feminist sphere. She works as the Media Learning Manager of SYN Media, overseeing the social enterprise ‘SYN Media Learning’. Previously as Pathways Manager, she supported and engaged over 500 young members. She also co-founded Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers (MAFA) in 2013, an art collective connecting artists with newly arrived asylum seekers. Her experience has had her developed strong relationships across the arts, youth and community sectors, and delivered high level youth leadership and mentoring programs.
She’s the current Youth Representative on the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) board, and in 2019 will participate in the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) ‘Young Social Pioneers’ program for her proposal to improve governance diversity and inclusion policies and practices.
We thank our outgoing board members Isabelle Chassain, Danielle Wruck and Taliska Arentsen for their commitment to the YWCA movement and contributions to our fight for gender equality.
New members of the 2020 Young Women’s Council (YWC) were also announced during AGM, following a presentation from Hannah McGrath and Hawi Anderson, current YWC members. More to come soon!
All in all, the 2019 YWCA AGM was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the past twelve months! Our thanks to everyone who contributes to YWCA – to our members and supporters, staff team, board members, volunteers, and most importantly, to our clients and tenants who we have the privilege of supporting on their life’s journey.