June 2015

Congress reflections: our Institute on a positive path

  • By Rex Berthelsen FAusIMM(CP), President, AusIMM

In my last editorial, I promoted the AusIMM’s 2015 Congress as an essential part of our Institute’s annual calendar, bringing together representatives from each of the Institute’s ‘Communities of Interest’: Branches, Student Chapters, Societies, Task Forces, Committees and AusIMM Board members. Congress gives representatives of all AusIMM Communities a forum to contribute to the ongoing development of the Institute’s strategic directions.

Congress 2015, as always, was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The Congress theme, ‘Building the Institute through our Communities of Interest’  resonated with delegates and much of the discussion focussed on the central roles that our Communities of Interest play in member engagement. Along with my AusIMM Board colleagues, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Congress delegates on ways that the AusIMM can further improve the positive impact AusIMM membership has for individuals by supporting them to be more engaged with the Institute’s activities and networks.

On day one of Congress (Friday 17 April) all AusIMM Communities of Interest had an opportunity to present their achievements, frustrations and suggestions to their peers. We conducted successful workshops where Congress split into Branch, Society and Student Chapter groups to discuss ways to improve collaboration and partnership approaches and learn from each other’s recent activities.

Congress day two started the process of scoping the review of the AusIMM Royal Charter and By-Laws which the AusIMM Board recently initiated. The review taskforce Chair Dr Peter Lilly and I worked with specialist external advisor Geoff Carter to lead a half-day workshop that explored a range of the issues that the review taskforce will consider.

Dr Lilly discussed the proposed approach to the review. He explained that the review will be a very open and transparent process and that the approach to the review will necessarily adapt to the nature and scale of the feedback and input received from AusIMM members. He sought feedback on draft goals that will help the review taskforce to recommend changes to the AusIMM governing documents that meet the Institute’s current and future needs, and that are: 

  • simple and accessible for all members to understand
  • less prescriptive, giving appropriate flexibility to the Board to assess and respond to the changing needs of the Institute’s members
  • updated to reflect current best practice in governance for a professional institute.

I was impressed with the breadth of issues discussed, the sophisticated thinking about the opportunities the Institute could embrace, and the risks we need to manage through any reform to the current Royal Charter and By-Laws. This review is in its early stages, and all members are invited to consider and contribute to the review taskforce’s discussion paper.

The second day of Congress also explored proposed reforms to the AusIMM’s Chartered Professional and Awards programs, with presentations by Chris Carr and Greg Chalmers on those important issues. We were lucky enough to have Shawn Crispin and Zhu Yang Yang give us detailed presentations on AusIMM activities in Indonesia and Beijing (respectively). Richard Evans explored the process and future opportunities in supporting members through the AusIMM Member Assistance Program.

On the evening of Saturday 18 April we celebrated the AusIMM Awards 2015 with a wonderful event. My congratulations to all of the winners of these prestigious awards, which are the AusIMM’s key forum to celebrate outstanding contributions in minerals professionalism and in the development of our professional Institute.

I would like to thank all of the Congress delegates and my Board colleagues for your support and your positive contributions during this outstanding Congress event – it was my pleasure to be there working with you all as AusIMM President for 2015.

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