Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

ABS Reports on the AICD Summit 2019 “Rising to the Moment”

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

ABS Head Associate Professor Lisa Barnes attend the recent Australian Institute of Company Directors 4th Annual Governance conference in Sydney on the 4th  and 5th of March.

The opening panel was a debate on the future of corporate governance in Australia, with panel members Penny Bingham-Hall (non-executive Director), David Gonski (Chairman of ANZ) and Heather Ridout of Australian Super. Hot topic of course was the recent findings of the Royal commission into the banking sector, with Mr Gonski readily admitting they dropped the ball in terms of governance and now have a fairly rigorous amount of work to do to repair the culture from within the organisation particularly around the notion of remuneration, to gain back the trust of their stakeholders. The following was a quote that ended the session from David Gonski.

This was followed by a presentation by current CEO of Xero Steve Vamos, who has previously worked with the likes of Steve Jobs. His message was clear, we need to “humanise” our workforce and presented his talent mapping tool, where staff can be placed into one of 9 boxes, so that they can be targeted in terms of their potential in particular for succession planning. Steve asked the question are you “driving the right culture for your business”?

At the heart of it is “us” to think about how we want to achieve good culture. The humanisation of the workforce was the primary message here. He recommended to read the book “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella current CEO of Microsoft – a mindset change may even happen! In his words “Culture” shapes why people do what they do and how they do it. Values and engagement are elements of culture. The CEO is the chief culture officer. Culture is a contact sport.

Next was Ann Sherry AO FAICD Chairman, Carnival Australia and Board member of NAB discussed outcomes from the royal commission, she stated that the board should have “listened more” they were focussed on short term numbers rather than long term outcomes, they basically lost their customer focus. Stepping back from a human level, they got caught up in the micro, forgetting the macro.

Finally to end the first day was a role playing “hypothetical” session attended by 5 high profile Company Directors entitled “Moral and Ethical Decision Making in the Boardroom – Exploring the complex dilemmas facing todays Board”. 5 different scenarios were posed from a cyberattack, media leak accusing the company of unethical sales practices and discussion on amoral practices companies unwillingly engage in. A great way for delegates to continue thinking about their own performance as a Board member is this constantly challenging state that us being on a Board.

The second day of the summit opened up with Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s address on the Imperative of Innovation. He predicts the advent of fully autonomous companies by the end of the decade – that is no humans running companies, just DirectorBots. Alan touched on his 6 year role as Chancellor at Monash University. In his opinion a good director should be competent, intelligent and well meaning. Directors when making decisions shouldn’t be asking can we do this, but should we do this.

The second session of the day was a panel “Unlocking the value of doing the right thing”. Panel members included Michael O’Loughlin (ex Sydney Swans player and GO Foundation co-founder), Jill Hannaford, Shelley Reys & Shirley Chowdhary. Run by Ali Moore, journalist with the ABC, the panel discussed diversity and inclusion and embedded work practices, particularly the representation of indigenous people and cultural awareness in corporates.

The next session involved the Not-For-Profit sector, entitled the “Evolution of the for-purpose sector”. The panel discussion centred on remuneration of directors on for-purpose boards. A representative of the ACNC, the Productivity Commission, and some directors of for-purpose directors, also discussed the changes of reduction in not-for-profit red tape, but increase in liability and fiduciary responsibilities for directors serving on for-purpose boards.

The next panel discussed Future Trends: Preparing for the next cycle of change.

This panel discussed technology governance, in the framework of ethics, regulation, agile governance approaches, & competitive advantage. In a live audience poll asking “which trend is your Board least prepared for?”, 34% felt least prepared for governance of emerging technologies, followed by 27% machine learning, 22% autonomous machines and finally 18% social trends.

The final session was a discussion on the findings of the Royal Commission into the Banking and Finance Sector. According to Honorary Neville Owen who presided over the HIH Royal Commission in 2003, his views have not changed with the recent outcomes from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, he wants to know, did anyone ask themselves “is this right”?. The summit finished with a panel made up of the AICD Chair, Justice Owen, Ali Moore (ABC) taking questions from the audience on any matters concerning director and governance.

The conference program can be accessed via the AICD website at

Avondale Business School Awarded the Faculty “Excellence” Award for 2018!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

During the 2019 Staff Professional Development week at Avondale College, the Avondale Business School (ABS) was awarded the Faculty of Education, Business and

ABS Team Members (L-R) Dr Warrick Long, Associate Professor Lisa Barnes (ABS Head), Dr Peter Williams, David Wilson. Absent is ABS Department Assistant Diane Smith

Science “Excellence Award” for 2018, for recognition by external parties of their research output, external engagement activities and teaching.

The staff at ABS have worked hard in 2018 to engage their students with businesses, which involved taking students on excursions to Sydney to visit Qantas, the marketing firm Professional Advantage, and visiting the Australian Institute of Company Directors. A little closer to home, another excursion visited Life Health Foods, which included a factory tour and samples of their products.

The ABS was also recognised for their internship program which had doubled in size from the previous year, and their current research projects, one of which included the new Smart Hub facility located within the business school to reduce commuter travel time for staff who normally travel to Sydney for work and helped create a better work/life balance for employees outside of Avondale.

ABS also had a busy year providing consulting services to a range of organisations in areas such as governance, professional development, board updates and leadership training. Quite apart from this ABS members are also actively engaged in numerous boards and committees with organisations, which helps to keep them current with industry.

The ABS was also recognised for the completion of 2 staff PhDs, and attendance and presentations at several conference and winning two “Best Paper” awards. A great achievement for the ABS.

ABS Develops Avondale College Leaders

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Recognizing the need to invest in developing its leaders, Avondale College commissioned its Avondale Business School to develop and implement a program for middle and aspiring leaders. The Avondale College LEAD program was crafted and delivered by ABS monthly throughout the second half of 2018. Word of the program spread to other entities, who sponsored their own staff to also attend. The success of the program is such that it is being expanded for 2019 with any Avondale Staff invited to attend, and a range of new topics being developed, including dealing with conflict and toxic people, leading teams, and leading change. Participants from this year enjoyed the program and the following comment typifies their responses “I have very much enjoyed the sessions I have attended – love your presentation style and have appreciated learning some new concepts and skills”. Avondale Business School can also help you develop your leaders, and to find out how, contact Warrick Long at or 02 4980 2168.

Board Memberships: Can you Contribute?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Here at the ABS several of our staff are engaged with the community by being on Boards and offering advice to particularly Not-For-Profit Boards on issues of governance, strategic planning and financial analysis. Currently all full-time staff at the ABS volunteer their time for community engagement via occupying board positions or as members of sub-committees as shown in the table.

Being on a Board is usually voluntary, but what it means to the business is an over-arching strategic perspective that senior executives do not get in the day to day running of the business. The Australian Institute of Company Directors has issued its Corporate Governance Framework to assist particularly Not-For-Profit Boards, ( in recognising their duties in relation to various legislative requirements of directors such as the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission) and ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission).

Associate Professor Lisa Barnes has joined the Audit and Risk Committee for ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority) which is governed by the ACARA Act 2008 and the Public Governance & Performance Accountability Act 2013. At her first meeting they discussed the continued risks associated with the organisation and updated the current risk register in light the Boards risk appetite matrix. Members of the committee meet 4 times a year to support the Board in making sure the organisation is compliant with legislation, and that the organisation is continuing to assess its risks going forward particularly in relation to the information provided by the My School website ( that enables Parents to seek information on schools.

Graduate Returns to Share with Current ABS Students

Friday, September 21, 2018

Students in the Strategic Responses in Business unit were treated to a firsthand account of what business intelligence really means. Mr Todd Saunders (graduate of Avondale Business School), and now Sanitarium General Manager for Australia and New Zealand spent time with the class not only explaining business intelligence, but answering their questions regarding all aspects of the business.

The effective collection, analysis and use of business intelligence is a major differentiator between companies that succeed and fail, and Todd was able to show students all these components from the perspective of Sanitarium. Students had their eyes opened as to how much data is collected, and how it is used, noting that even weather data plays an important role in forecasting both raw material prices and sales projections.

The Strategic Responses class involves students engaging in a computer simulation where in groups they run companies in the computer sensor industry, competing over 8 years (one per week for 8 weeks) against each other. They must make decisions for each round that involve production estimates, marketing decisions, financing options, HR components (including negotiating a new EA with their staff) and R&D strategies. The unit culminates in the last class of semester when students must run and annual general meeting facing their shareholders (invited College Staff) based on their company results.

The time spent with Todd was valuable for the students in not only assisting them in their class, but also bridging the gap between theory and real-world experience. ABS appreciates the time Todd dedicates to assisting the development of ABS students.


External Advisory Chair Congratulates ABS

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Last week the ABS held its bi-annual external advisory committee meeting, chaired by Associate Professor Jonathan Tyler, Deputy Head, Accounting Discipline Group at the University of Technology Sydney. The external advisory committee, whose main role is to provide support and advice to ABS regarding the programs and offerings. It is made up of all staff at ABS, the Avondale College Vice President (Academic and Research) and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Business and Science, as well as external academic and external industry practitioner representatives.

David Wilson (ABS), Associate Professor Lisa Barnes (ABS), Associate Professor Jonathan Tyler (UTS), Warrick Long (ABS)

The ABS presented its annual report, with highlights involving the growing number of current research projects, staff involvement at Avondale College and external engagement activities of staff, as well as increasing student engagement in internships and excursions. Staff were congratulated on the two PhD submissions, “Best Paper” awards at recent conferences, and their research plans going forward. Jonathan Tyler said, “He is pleased to see the increase in attendance by ABS lecturers at Conferences” as this allows opportunities to network and advertise our college. He strongly encouraged the lecturers to continue to attend conferences and to align ourselves with “Recognised Researchers” which could potentially lead to additional research grants. He lauded positively about ABS staff being members with various committees at the College and faculty level having exposure and voice. The ABS team showed appreciation for the review, advice and positive assurance from the external advisory.

All smiles at ABS

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Avondale Business School celebrated the completion of their innovative research project with the business Professional Advantage, by way of sharing a lunch in the Smart Hub premises. Professional Advantage is an Australian IT consulting company, with its head office in North Sydney. They have been using the Avondale Business School “Smart hub” to avoid the up to 3 hours a day commute to their North Sydney Offices.

The Avondale Business School has been involved in a research project with Professional Advantage, researching the benefits of the use of a smart hub, embedded in a business school. The reciprocal advantages for ABS has been the exposure for students to a real live business operating here at the ABS. Students have had the opportunity to see the employees at work and to ask questions about their IT consulting roles.

The ABS secured a grant for their research project Remote Business Hubs embedded in Higher Education Institutions: Stakeholder Engagement of Business, Educators in Business and Business Students” from the Avondale College Lifestyle Research Centre, and they hope to publish from their research to encourage more businesses to consider the benefits of remote smart hubs to create a better “Work/Life” balance for employees.

Sydney Teams Gather at ABS for Day of Learning and Fun

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Getting away from their usual environment, 13 colleagues from the Greater Sydney Conference of the SDA Church Company, Schools Company and Aged Care Company spent a day with the Avondale Business School (ABS) for their annual Professional development program. ABS have been involved with providing a day of fun, challenge and learning since 2014, with this year’s focus being communication. Peter William and Warrick Long from ABS took the team through some refreshers, and new issues in communication within their workplace. Paris Lawrence, from the Avondale Marketing team challenged the team with using social media to effectively connect both corporately and personally. Participants were appreciative of the practical relevance and personal touches of the presentations, not to mention the great food and environment. See you next year!

If you would like to discuss having ABS provide your next team Professional Development event, simply email or call Warrick Long on or 02 49802168.

Avondale College LEAD Program

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Developing leaders is a focus of Avondale College, and the Avondale Business School (ABS), through Warrick Long, is front and center in providing training for the Avondale staff through the Avondale LEAD program. LEAD stands for Leadership, Experience and Development, representing the focus of the initial six month program.

Participants meet together every month for a session where they discuss a key aspect of leadership, drawn from the four building blocks of leadership. Additional leadership resources are available to participants, including book reviews, recommended readings, videos and articles. A leadership challenge is set at each session, so participants have some goals to implement their new found knowledge. For those participants that are wanting to go a bit deeper and get some recognition for their participation, there is a series of assessments for them to undertake.

Ensuring that the program meets its goal of developing leaders, Warrick Long and Associate Professor Lisa Barnes (ABS Head of Discipline) are researching the effectiveness of the program through surveys and feedback, which will also form the basis of a research project for publication.

Welcome MLM Winter School Students!

Friday, July 6, 2018

July means Winter School for the Masters of Leadership and Management (MLM) students in ABS. Each year they come for their two week residential component of their program.

In this first week students in the Strategic Planning for Leadership unit worked on a group presentation project, which was presented on Thursday, under the watchful eye of Associate Professor Lisa Barnes.

Enjoy the collegial time together and the opportunity to not only learn from fantastic ABS staff, but to also from each other and build your professional network.