Roundtables & Hot Topic Forums

Leveraging the experience and expertise within the sector


Each 2-hour Roundtable focuses on a different aspect of Operational Excellence and focuses on three questions:

The Centre’s Roundtable series has proven to be an effective forum to gain insights from peers and take away practical ideas to implement.

Over 700 sector participants attended the 19 different Roundtables delivered in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane last year with an average “Would you recommend to others” score of 8.8 (out of 10).

As a result of COVID-19, the Centre will now be delivering Roundtables using Zoom. This has the advantage of providing greater access to sector leaders who were unable to attend these sessions when delivered in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

Hot Topic Forums

These forums focus on a key topical issue and has a different format:

  • A 20-minute presentation by a sector Subject Matter Expert or consultant covering why is this important, what does a solution look like, key success factors and potential pitfalls.
  • A 45-minute small group discussion (using Zoom Break Out rooms) to discuss the approach and potential applications
  • A 15 minute large group discussion to identify key insights and ideas


Responding to COVID-19 Roundtable

Zoom Event (April 9)

Explores how For Purpose Organisations responded to lockdown changes by shifting to all staff working from home.
This Roundtable involved 40 For Purpose sector leaders discussing transition challenges and what works, and doesn’t work, in responding to these COVID-19 changes

Corporate Volunteering Hot Topic Forum

Zoom Event (April 30)

There has been increasing interest in corporate volunteering as it benefits both For Purpose organisations (as a revenue source or access to expertise) and corporates (who are seeking team-building projects to support staff engagement).

Subject Matter Experts Richard Duncan (previously Head of Volunteering Services at Wesley Mission) and Claire Turner presented why this is important, key success factors, potential pitfalls and examples of where it has worked.

“Volunteer Engagement (COVID-19)” 

Zoom Event (May 7)

Organisations have been impacted by the need to stand down volunteers as a result of COVID-19.
Over 60 sector leaders and Volunteer Managers discussed different volunteer engagement approaches, and plans to encourage volunteers to return when social distancing restrictions are lifted.

“Transforming For Purpose Organisations” Roundtable

Zoom Event (June 23)

One of the key challenges for CEOs and Executive Teams is how to transform their organisation so it can deliver its purpose, optimise impact and also achieve its commercial objectives.

Three CEOs from Royal Institute Deaf & Blind Children, Northcott Disability Services and Settlement Services International shared insights and key learnings from their organisational transformation journey.

The 60 executive participants were then involved in small group discussions about transformation success factors and potential pitfalls.

“Digital Leadership Enabling Remote Working” Forum

Zoom Event (June 23)

A key priority for IT Leaders in the new COVID-19 world is how to support a remote workforce.
Organisations are implementing initiatives to address issues such as data security, data access, collaboration tools, supporting remote workers and business process changes.
Their CIOs from Black Dog Institute, headspace National and Ozcare shared their insights and key learnings.
The 55 sector leaders were then involved in small group ncussions to find solutions to shared challenges.

“COVID-19 Residential Outbreak Planning” Roundtable

Zoom Event (June 23)

A key concern for any organisation with a residential facility is how to respond to a potential COVID-19 outbreak.

A panel of Directors from Uniting NSW.ACT and Able Australia provided insights and practical ideas about how to plan such an event.

This was followed by small group discussion involved 30 Sector Leaders to share effective strategies and practical ideas.


Metrics Supporting Purpose

Performance metrics have become increasingly important to achieve funding, drive productivity improvements and make better decisions. This session explores how organisations are using metrics to achieve their purpose.


Sydney (December 6) Host: Mission Australia

  • ChildFund : Tom Schlosser (Head of Data Analytics and Innovation)
  • Northcott : Lee Carpenter (Deputy CEO)
  • Relationships Australia : Sarah Rowley (EGM, Customer Services)
  • Settlement Services : Greg Benson (GM, Client Services and Operations)

Managing Compliance

Managing compliance is a major issue from both an administrative workload and organisation risk perspective. This session explores how For Purpose organisations manage these demands through an emphasis on business excellence.


Sydney (December 12) Host: Wesley Mission

  • Barnardos Australia : Penny Hood (Executive Manager, People & Practice)
  • CareFlight : Glenn McKeown (National Q-HSE Manager)
  • The Fred Hollows Foundation : Penny Palmer (Global Lead – Legal Governance Risk and Compliance)

Driving Business Improvement

Explores how for Purpose organisations are using business improvement initiatives – such as Lean, Agile and Continuous Improvement – to help them achieve their purpose and commercial objectives.


Melbourne (November 19) Host: Australian Red Cross

  • EACH Social and Community : Sherisse​  Goodwin (Mgr, Governance and Executive Projects)
  • Save the Children : Adrian Stagg (Chief Information Officer)
  • YMCA Victoria : Amanda Locke (Chief Operating Officer)
    Brisbane (December 2) Host: St Vincent de Paul

Brisbane (December 2) Host: St Vincent de Paul

  • Endeavour Foundation : Greg McCluand (Continuous Improvement Manager)
  • Open Minds : Chris Shannon (GM – Strategy, Planning and Improvement)
  • Relationships Australia : Cassandra Ashton (GM, Strategy & Innovation)

Effective Volunteer Management


Volunteers are an important resource in delivering our purpose and commercial objectives.  This session explores effective practices to attract, engage and manage volunteers

Sydney (July 30) Host: Wesley Mission

  • Salvation Army : Lucinda Gayl (Volunteer Resources Manager)
  • McGrath Foundation : Ryan Barlow (Marketing & Revenue Director)
  • Smith Family : Lauren Stocker (National Manager Volunteering)
  • Karitane: Grainne O’ Loughlin (CEO)


Melbourne (November 26) Host : Save The Children

  • Stroke Foundation : Suzanne Larsson (Volunteer Program Coordinator)
  • YMCA : Ang Cuy (Executive Manager, Youth Services)
  • The Salvation Army : Penny Aquino (General Manager – Volunteer Resources)

Brisbane (December 17) Host: St The Mater Foundation

  • Act for Kids : Karen McIntyre (Relationship & Fundraising Manager)
  • The Salvation Army : Ciska Burrie (Volunteer Resources Manager – QLD TAS)
  • UnitingCare Queensland : DJ Cronin (Manager, Volunteer Services)

Leadership: Technology Supporting Purpose

Explores how For Purpose organisations are implementing new technology solutions to both support purpose delivery and drive cost efficiencies.

Sydney (April 3) Host: Mission Australia

Salvation Army Aged Care: Paul Berryman (Head of Information Technology)
Royal Far West: Jacqui Emery (Business Director)
The Wilderness Society: Matt Brennan (Chief Operating Officer)

Melbourne (June 5) Host: Uniting Vic.Tas

Red Cross: Noel Clement (Director; Migration, Emergencies & Movement)
Diabetes Victoria: Lalith Abeysena (Chief Operating Officer)
Each Social & Community: Marcus Harvey (Previous Chief Information Officer)

Brisbane Panel (June 14) Host: Mater Foundation

Endeavour Foundation: Andy Salmons (National Digital Marketing Manager)
Mercy Community Services: Patrick Lilwall (Executive Director, Transformation)
Royal Flying Doctor Service: Trent Dean (Head, Clinical Governance)

Measuring Social Impact

Impact measurement is a key priority for organizations but is also rated one of their greatest challenges. Successful organizations share insights.

Sydney (June 13) Host: The Benevolent Society

YMCA:Louisa McKay (Executive Leader, Community Services)
Mission Australia:Rachel Christie (Impact Measurement Specialist)
Interrelate: Sharon Grocott (Head of Research & Innovation)

Melbourne (June 28) Host: Australian Red Cross

YMCA: Jacki Whitwell (Executive Manager, Impact Strategy)
Uniting: Kath Mackay (Divisional Manager, Community Services South)
Sacred Heart Mission: Leanne Lewis (General Manager, People, and Strategy)

Brisbane (August 1) Host: St Vincent de Paul

Uniting: Tom McClean (Head, Centre for Research, Innovation, and Advocacy)
YMCA Brisbane: Gary Adsett (Group Mgr, Social Impact) & Rebecca Duell (Impact & Innovation Team)
• Churches Of Christ: Mike Folland (GM – CEO Office)

Impact Investing: Bond Insights

Organisations are implementing alternative financing options to fund purpose delivery. This session provides insights on one high-profit vehicle – Social Impact Bonds – from leaders with first-hand experience.

Melbourne (May 31) Host: Save The Children

  • Australian Community Support Organization: Vaughan Winther (CEO) & Remberto Rivera (CFO)
  • Melbourne City Mission: Dave Wells (GM, Innovation, Impact & Govt)
  • Sacred Heart Mission: Catherine Harris (GM, Business Development)

Sydney (July 18) Host: The  Benevolent Society

  • Life Without Barriers: Brad Swan (Director, Strategy & Engagement)
  • The Benevolent Society: Matt Gardiner (Exec Dir, Child & Family)
  • SYC Ltd : Paul Edginton (CEO)
  • Uniting : Magdalena Liso (Head of NEWPIN – ACT and Southern NSW)

Corporate Partnerships

Corporate partnerships are an effective way to fund and implement purpose delivery, and assist corporates committed to supporting social impact. This session explores how to create mutually beneficial partnerships.

Sydney (June 27) Host: The Salvation Army

  • ChildFund : Margaret Sheehan (Head of International Programs)
  • McGrath Foundation : Holly Masters (CEO)
  • Settlement Services : Naushin Rahman (Corporate Partnerships Mgr)

Brisbane (July 31) Host : The Mater Foundation

  • Mater Foundation : Nigel Harris (CEO)
  • Royal Flying Doctor : Ian Finlayson (Head, Corporate Affairs)
  • The Smith Family : Chris Stevenson (Senior Business Development Manager)
Transition To The Cloud
Many For Purpose organisations are moving their systems to the cloud to improve access and productivity, and deliver cost savings. This session explores key success factors and potential pitfalls.

Sydney (November 22) Host: The Benevolent Society

  • Baptist World Aid : Jane Alfred (Information Services Manager)
  • Barnardos Australia : Neal Ross (Head of Technology)
  • Mission Australia : Peter Smith (Chief Information Officer)
Cyber Security
Cyber attacks can impact our clients and reputation. This session explores approaches to reduce these risks, meet regulation standards and responding quickly to data breaches.

Brisbane (November 25) Host: The Salvation Army

  • Mercy Community Services : Patrick Lilwall (Executive Director, Transformation)
  • Ozcare : John Scurr (Head of Information Technology)
  • St Vincent de Paul : Stephen Finch (IT Manager)

Contact us for assistance

Craig Hawke

02 9478 1463