If you’ve worked with us before or browsed our website, you probably know that we are a member-led association. In short, this means that our customers have the opportunity to become members, and this provides an opportunity to have a say in important decisions that affect our services and our association more broadly.
One of the best ways to get involved as a member is by attending our Annual General Meeting (AGM)! Member participation at our AGM is incredibly important: not only does it ensure that everything we discuss and decide has a customer perspective, it also makes sure that we are transparent with our customers.
Without further ado, here are three great reasons to become a member and come to our AGM. Later, we will provide some information about our story and why member participation at our AGMs is so important to Enhanced Lifestyles’ ethos. And who knows – after experiencing an AGM, you might even be inspired to join some of our amazing customers on our Board!
1. Learn and ask questions about our operations and finances
Every year at our AGM, the Board’s Chair provides the Chairperson’s report, where they reflect on the year’s achievements and initiatives. After that, the Chief Executive Officer delivers a report on the state of the association.
We also hear from the Board’s Treasurer, who presents and discusses our audited financial statement for the year. These reports are provided so that everyone in attendance has all of the necessary information to contribute to question time.
During question time, attendees can ask questions that the Board or Chief Executive Officer will answer. It’s an important part of any AGM as it provides transparency and accountability. Plus, we really value the opportunity to clarify things that customers might be unsure about.
Such transparency is a key part of good governance, which is an important ingredient within an association that serves others. Simply put, governance refers to the system by which an organisation is controlled and operates, and the mechanisms by which it and its employees are held accountable.
So, if you have an interest in business or governance, attending our AGM is a good way to develop your knowledge and skills in this area.
2. Have input on important matters
Members who attend the AGM get to have a say on agenda items. For example, those who attended the previous year’s AGM will confirm the minutes that were recorded to make sure everything was captured accurately. This is an important step for ensuring that we have accurately recorded everything that our members said.
Attendees also have the opportunity to see and accept our annual report before it’s released to the public. This helps us to make sure that our annual report includes the information that really matters to our customers.
Other agenda items will vary from year to year, depending on what has happened and what lies ahead. Regardless of the individual matters up for discussion, we use our AGM as an opportunity to get input and feedback from customers on supports, projects, and ideas. The reason for this is simple: we want to make sure that our customers’ valuable perspectives and experiences are considered in all matters.
This is your opportunity to use your skills, expertise, lived experience, and creativity to help others. Every piece of feedback and every suggestion that we receive from customers at our AGM makes our services better for everyone else.
3. Vote on resolutions
This leads on from last point – after having input and helping to build ideas, attendees get to vote on decisions that will impact the future of Enhanced Lifestyles. Voting is important – your vote can steer our direction towards the betterment of our services, and it also ensures that every decision is in our customers’ best interests.
One of the most important items on our agenda is the election of Board members. Members get to vote for who they think will best represent them on the Enhanced Lifestyles Board. This is significant because Board members get to have a say in our strategic direction, which can have huge ripple effects when it comes to our services. Board membership should not be taken lightly and that’s why our customers vote in their representatives – it’s all about making sure that you trust the people who get to make decisions that will affect the supports that you receive.
4. Bonus reason: food and good company!
After the AGM is finished and the agenda items have been completed, we provide light refreshments for all attendees. It’s always great to socialise, spend time with both new and established customers, and chat about the AGM over a plate of delicious food.
See our AGM in action
Want to see for yourself? Good news: we recorded our 2020-2021 AGM so that our customers can see firsthand what to expect. The video goes for about an hour and watching it (or just some of it) will give you a really good idea of what we cover. You can watch it here.
About us and our member-led model
Our organisation was founded over 30 years ago, long before the NDIS was created and well before the world’s governing bodies formally recognised the rights and needs of people living with disability.
When Enhanced Lifestyles was established by a group of people living with disability, it was because they realised that no one was better equipped to inform individualised supports than they were. Honing their knowledge and skills along the way, our founders became the architects of their own disability support services.
Today, Enhanced Lifestyles remains a member-governed not-for-profit, which means people who use our services sit on our Board. The design and provision of disability support services based on lived experience is what differentiates us from many other providers. In essence, we are led by customers for customers, and this unique, personalised approach has always defined who we are and what we do.
Membership and the Board
Members can apply to join our Board, which means they get to play a part in determining our strategic direction and have oversight of our legal and financial obligations. Membership and Board membership are both great ways to advocate for your peers and community, shape the future of your services, and meet new like-minded people. Plus, it’s free! If you’d like to find out the latest information about becoming a member, you can read about it here.
So, there you have it! If you’d like to get involved and have your say at Enhanced Lifestyles’ next AGM, signing up for a membership is easy and free. Just follow this link and follow the steps to apply.