Enhanced Lifestyles is a member-governed association, which means that our customers can become members. Our members have voting rights on decisions that chart our course, ensuring that our services and practices are informed by customer needs. Plus, members get to elect Board members, who play a key role in leading our association.
An important part of the Enhanced Lifestyles ethos is building the capacity of our customers, and we strive to achieve this every day in the supports that we provide. However, we have the opportunity to work with customers in a different way, thanks to a grant provided by the Department of Social Services’ Information Linkages and Capacity Building program and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO).
An application was submitted to the ‘Individual Capacity Building Program’ grant stream on behalf of Enhanced Lifestyles and 11 other consortium partners.
We chose governance as our topic because we have seen firsthand the value of having people who are living with a disability on Boards. Our own member-governed model is unique in our sector, but we believe that this is the best way for service providers to build inclusive and customer-centric services. By providing our customers with an opportunity to grow as leaders and advocates, we could empower them to serve on Boards and speak up for themselves or others in their community.
To achieve this, we designed the ‘Basics of Governance’ program. Over 15 sessions, this program provided a comprehensive overview of the key elements of governance. Topics covered included communication skills, constitutions, strategic planning, Board positions, risk, and finance. Of course, we also covered governance in the context of the NDIS. With these skills and knowledge, participants would be equipped to step into Board roles and become advocate for causes that they are passionate about.
We are very pleased to report that Enhanced Lifestyles customer and member Suzanne Mackenzie completed the Basics of Governance program and, thanks to the skills that she learned, was elected to serve on our Board. She is now continuing with training that will help her become an even more active Board member.
Complimenting the Basics of Governance program, longer-serving Board members are supporting new members like Suzanne at Board sessions, answering questions and providing guidance on how to maximise their role. To further support our new members’ learning, we are planning to implement a formal governance mentoring program in the future.
Become an Enhanced Lifestyles member
Are you a customer of Enhanced Lifestyles? If yes, please consider becoming a member. There are so many great benefits of membership, like having the opportunity to vote on important matters at our General Meetings or nominating yourself (or being nominated by someone else) for a position on the Board. It is hands-down the best way to have your voice heard and represent your community in a meaningful way!