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“Board Level” – Summer 2019 ANZ ACBS President’s Update

Hello ANZ ACBS! Our fabulous community of ordinary folks doing extraordinary and cool things 🙂

Going down to the wire to sneak this in as the Summer Edition of our Board Level Blog! Board Level was an initiative of Eric Morris’s presidency, as one of the strategies for improving Board transparency and accessibility to members. 2018 was a magnificent year for ANZ ACBS, captured well in Eric’s last piece, and led skillfully by Eric throughout the entire year. Our organisation is built on the strength of generous donations of time and expertise, and whilst there are many who give as much as Eric, it would be hard to find any that give more. I’d like to acknowledge my personal thanks and gratitude to my mentor and friend, a man who has taught me much about collaborative leadership, and whose support I am constantly grateful for. Please go click site will show you what you need.

AGM and 2019 Board

Thank you to our retiring Board Directors, Katie, Lisa, Geet and Paul

At our AGM we said farewell to our retiring Board Directors: Katie Wyman, Lisa Soares, Geet Basarkod, and Paul Atkins. It is not possible to adequately pay tribute to the mammoth contributions of these individuals. Together they have been a part of building our collaborative/supportive webinar space; improving channels for membership feedback and communication; developing strategies for organisational growth and development; planning and delivering world class training events; and strengthening the space for student contributions and opportunities for leadership development.

We welcomed our new Board Directors; and Secretary Daniel Simsion transferred to his new role as President Elect. Our new Directors are Jennifer Kemp and Sarah Mooy (Members at Large), Nathan Phillips (New Zealand Representative), and Pam Barker (Student Representative). Daniel resigned from his position as Secretary to fulfill his new duties, and at our first Board meeting we co-opted Andrew Duirs into the position. He and our other new Directors join myself, Eric Morris (Past President), Melissa Schellekens (Treasurer), Linda Nicholson (Member at Large), Sara Boucher (New Zealand Representative), and Kali Madden (Executive Officer) to complete our 2019 Board.

It has been a delight to hear the passions, questions, insights and opportunities of our new Directors, and to start to meld and shape those together with our existing Directors in planning for 2019 and beyond.

Your 2019 Board of Directors: Eric, Tiff, Daniel, Melissa, Linda, Sara, Sarah, Jennifer, Nathan, Andrew and Pam

Community Feedback

Late in 2018 we conducted a membership survey, reflecting our intentions to increase the ways that members can provide feedback to the Board; and to give us a broader sense of the makeup of our membership. Survey data was reported on at our AGM. Overall, the data suggests that we have reasonable representation across Australia and New Zealand; and our leadership team is representative both of our national diversity (80% Australia / 20% New Zealand) and gender diversity (68% of members and 63% of our Board of Directors identify as women). The majority of our members are psychologists (79%) and as much of our science and practice draws from this field, this is not surprising. However the aim of our organisation (to use contextual behavioural science to reduce human suffering and improve well being) has relevance across disciplines in the health and education sectors. There is room for our organisation to seek growth and be more intentionally inclusive towards other disciplines.

97% of our survey respondents indicated that they consider themselves to have intermediate, advanced or expert levels of skills in ACT. This speaks to the thirst we are hearing from our members for more skills-intensive, advanced-level training to support those who learned their basic way around the hexaflex and matrix some time ago. It’s also indicative that we have a strong beating heart of professionals ready to raise up the next generation of CBS scientists and practitioners, and as your Board we have plans for how to resource and support you in doing just that.

Conference Scheduling

Due to multiple factors impacting on our organisation, the Board took the decision to pause our conference schedule, resuming in February 2019. We took this opportunity to seek community feedback on the length and frequency of our conferences. No time of year is going to be perfect for everyone, and the feedback from our community was that February “works” for 43% of our respondents; and was “doable” for a further 40%. Overall, 75% of our respondents were in favour of a two-year conference schedule; with 36% preferring a 2-day conference, and 44% preferring a 2.5 or 3 day conference.

Our conferences are outstanding (#NoBias). We bring together researchers and practitioners across the spectrum of Contextual Behavioural Science, and create community each and every time; AND they are always going to be at a time, location and/or price-point that will exclude some of our members; AND they are very resource-heavy on the team of volunteers and the Board that bring each event together. These considerations, together with the community feedback outlined above, has led the Board to decide to trial an alternating conference schedule, with conferences held 18-20 months apart. It was our sense that two years was too long to leave our community without (a Follies and) the opportunity to learn and share together in the conference format; along with a risk of losing too much knowledge and expertise among leadership teams. We consider that an 18-month-ish schedule opens the possibilities for more people to be able to attend, with significant lead time for people to plan their budget, shape their research, and collaborate on their submissions. It also creates more time and resources for us to be able to widen the variety of activities initiated and supported by the Board between conferences.

We are super excited about our plans for the late-2020 conference, and we are looking forward to making a formal announcement very soon.

ANZACBS 12th Chapter Conference 2019, Canberra

A massive, massive thank you to the organised and visionary team that brought together our 2019 Conference: Conference Chair, Alison Christie; Program Chair, Linda Nicholson; and our Executive Officer, Kali Madden. These women put in countless hours to pull off a truly amazing event earlier this month. Every detail was considered, with an impressive conference program that left 275+ delegates despairing that we do not yet have technology to divide ourselves in four; meanwhile keeping us well nourished with many opportunities for networking and socialising. Thank you also to their team of volunteers, Molly Havyatt, Erin Brown, Erin Slater, Danu Sivanathan, Erin Parker, Kevin Prasetya and Melissa Collie, who looked after the needs of all our participants and presenters.

Thank you to the Amazing 2019 Conference Team

The success of a conference requires not just a few invited keynotes, but the willingness of our many members to share their work with our community through symposiums, posters, panels, and workshops. The calibre of presentations was extremely high, and testament to the growing level of advanced expertise in our community. Thank you to all of those who dared to share with us this time around; it is exciting to see so many new faces appearing in our program, as well as welcoming back those we’ve learned so much from before.

If you have photos to share with the community from the Conference, please email them to our President Elect, Daniel. Please note if you give permission for the photos to be used for promotional purposes.

In a Chapter First, we used Facebook to live-stream my Presidential Address, and have since uploaded it to YouTube. We learned much in that trial – including how committed many of our members are, that you were willing to watch it with your heads turned on your sides due to a Facebook technical glitch!! We were pleased with the success of this trial (noting lessons learned), and look forward to broadcasting more live-streamed and recorded events to our members. On a personal level, I was deeply humbled by the response of the community to my Address, and I was awe-struck by the inspiring conversations I got to have with many people afterwards, as we dared to dream more together. I carry each of those conversations and moments in my heart, and it reminds me that we are a whole community working at doing amazing things together, and supporting and upholding each other while we do.

What else is happening?

2019 is shaping up to be another big year:

  1. Lizz Patton and Eric Morris continue to lead the ANZ ACBS / APS ACT SIG collaboration in the development of guidelines for ACT practitioners and supervisors. Eric and Lizz will continue to provide updates to our community as this project advances.

  2. We are looking forward to launching our new website later this year. There are many plans we have for services we’d like to provide our members (networking portals; contact databases; event promotion opportunities; live-streamed and recorded content; and more). Our current website does not support much of the functionality we need to bring these plans to fruition, so whilst it might not look exciting from afar, this is an important priority for our Board in the coming months.

  3. Local event teams in Perth and Melbourne are bringing a variety of networking and professional development opportunities to local members. We are looking forward to supporting more local event teams across Australia and New Zealand as the year progresses.

  4. We will be making announcements about our upcoming events and training schedule soon, including opportunities for webinars, advanced training, and student events.

  5. Moving forward in establishing our policies and practices around ANZ ACBS advocacy and action.

  6. Developing a mentorship program to develop and nurture a wider base of trainers and presenters across our Chapter, with a focus on supporting diversity.

What do YOU want to do?

During the conference, I had the opportunity to speak with many of you, and I was hugely excited by many of the budding dreams and visions I heard across our community. If you have an idea, no matter how small, reach out! It’s possible we’ve heard from someone else who is similarly inspired, and we may be able to connect you with them to grow an idea together. Perhaps it’s something no one else has been thinking about, and it will open up a new avenue for us to explore. Maybe you think there’s something you could do, if only someone will support you getting started; or something you’re willing to lead, if we can help connect you with those who would like to follow. Let your dreams be big and bold; let your voice be heard! I personally would love to hear from you. You can reach me here. If you feel scared about reaching out, I’d just like to disclose that I’m always in a state of mild panic and terror each and every time I hit “publish” on one of these things! We can have our hearts in our mouths together.

Keep an eye on your inboxes for more articles, newsletters, event announcements, invitations and more.  We’ve got a whole heap of driving to do!!

Until next time 🙂


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