Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Firm succession plan
When Janet Manzin and Angela Hussey shared an office at Murray Irrigation in Deniliquin, a netball succession plan was one of the unexpected benefits that flowed.
Manzin was preparing to step down as president of the Deniliquin Netball Association after four years, and another three before that on the committee, given that the youngest of her three daughters was about to head away to boarding school.
Hussey, meanwhile, was a rep parent with a professional background in human resources, whose two youngest children are 13 and 12, and who appealed to Manzin as the ideal fit to lead what had become a dwindling group.
‘‘I’d said to Ange ‘I think you’d be really good at this, would you consider it?’. And she was like ‘oh, I don’t know’,’’ is how Manzin recalls it.
‘‘I said ‘Ange, I’m out. I’m gone next year. I can’t continue to do this. We need to get this committee going again and I think you’d be a good fit’, and to her credit she put her hand up.’’
It’s no secret that volunteers for community organisations are hard to find, which tends to leave an awful lot to be done by just a few. It’s often about who is sitting in the big chair when the music stops — if you haven’t been swift enough to keep moving.
‘‘I’d played netball as a teenager in DNA and I’ve now got three girls who’ve come up through DNA, so I guess it was my turn,’’ says Hussey, who took the reins at the AGM in May.
‘‘I’d coached and team-managed and things like that, so I was like ‘oh, alright, I’d better have a go’, and no-one else was stepping up, so ‘hello!’.
‘‘I didn’t want to see DNA folding, for a start. I’m in a management role and I feel like it fits within my capabilities, and it was probably time I gave it a crack. I was ‘well, someone’s gotta do it’, so I put my hand up.’’
The logistics were slightly unusual, but Manzin could not have been happier with the results.
‘‘It was always quite handy when we worked in the same office. Ange was ‘what do I do about this? Can you come and help me with this?’.’’
What enabled the whole process was Netball Victoria’s Supporting the Community
Back to Netball Small Grant Program. Manzin initially doubted DNA would qualify for it, given that its southern NSW location precludes it from accessing many Victorian-government-funded programs.
This one was gettable though, as Netball Victoria’s northern region manager Pam Ferrari assured her.
And, once obtained, the $6000 made a huge difference to not just the way the DNA was operating, but to what could be passed on to the new committee.
There was a pressing need for an updated constitution and bylaws, including wet weather policies and a cancellation announcement that still needed to be made. Not exactly cutting-edge.
Enter governance expert Nikki Burger, from Life Sport Journey, whose Netball Victoria-funded work with DNA included re-defining committee position descriptions
to encourage new members, as well as extensive policy work under a modernised system to ensure the transition was as smooth as possible.
‘‘We went through and did procedural writing for the runnings of a netball club, of a rep season, of Rock Up Netball,’’ says Manzin.
‘‘Just all those things we were really trying to get out of our head and put on paper, so it wouldn’t matter if it was a brand new committee. They could just pick it up and run with it, and they would know what they had to do and what their obligations were.’’
Hussey and her expanded committee of 10 have been the grateful beneficiaries of this knowledge transfer.
‘‘Being able to hand over with this governance project all but completed was a Godsend to me,’’ she says.
‘‘We’ve had this dropbox set up with all the documents in there, and while I do have Janet on speed dial quite often I can already do my own research around what’s here, what’s there, what have they done in the past, what’s next.’’
That includes trying to build player numbers, with Manzin acknowledging the benefits of new blood and fresh ideas, while happy to have left the committee in a better position than when she arrived.
High on Hussey’s agenda is to seek funding to drive strategic planning into the future.
‘‘Now that we’ve got everything in order, let’s get a really good focus on the next two or three years with a new, energised committee, so get some purpose around the decisions and discussions that we have.’’