After almost 10 years on the Board of IMPACT Community Services, and 8 as Board Chair, David Batt voiced his eighth and final Chair's Report at the AGM last month where he retired from the role.

It is with a heavy heart I sit and pen my 8th and final Chair’s Annual Report for the 2019-20 financial year at Impact Community Services Ltd. Although I still feel I have plenty to give this wonderful organisation my time has come to an end after 9 and a half years, just shy of my long service eligibility!

The year for IMPACT can only be described as outstanding under unprecedented circumstances with the ‘Covid-19 Pandemic’ and this in no small part is due to the leadership of our Managing Director Tanya O’Shea and her Senior Management Team who have lead IMPACT through the response and continued recovery to a ‘new normal’.

Achieving a strong financial position early in the year supported the organisation in getting us through this global predicament when it struck.  Although Covid-19 has been the talking point for many our IMPACT team had already completed plenty of work in the early part of the year in what seems an eternity now ‘pre-covid’. The team completed a HR audit, Industry benchmarking, ICT roll out as well as transitioning IMPACT to a Company Limited by Guarantee and our leader Tanya moving from CEO to Managing Director all in the first 6 months.

Covid-19 saw us pivot quickly in all areas of the business with many staff taking on the new role of ‘working from home’ and meeting online in the ‘Microsoft Teams’ environment. We also needed to continue with our training, and this also became an online classroom with the Trainers and the students performing well under the circumstances thrust on them.

Project Compass commenced which has given the leadership team the opportunity to have regular conversations about strategy and our Quality Working Group is also meeting regularly which is being capably lead by Board member Vanessa Fryer with its intent to assist in providing a voice to our clients directly to the Board.

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A huge thank you to all Board members who again have given freely of their precious time to assist in the strategic conversations which continues to keep IMPACT rolling toward our mission to work with individuals to enable them to realise and reach their full potential. It’s been many months since we have met in person but our ‘online learning’ with Zoom and Teams meetings have run quite smoothly with only a few technical hiccups. I would like to thank our previous treasurer Grant Hutchings for the many years of service he gave the Board before retiring at last year’s AGM.

Thanks to all staff for another fantastic year especially under such trying circumstances once again. The Board is very proud of our people – the one’s who come to work every day and make positive changes to the lives of our clients. Thanks to our senior management team of Steve, Paea, and Sue as well as our 2 new General Managers Nathan and Rob for another great effort from each of you and our amazing Managing Director – Tanya. As well as a change in title and a seat at the board table Tanya has been the face of IMPACT across Bundaberg and the State at so many events flying our flag.

Some of Tanya’s noteworthy achievements this year have included being part of the winning team at the Techstars Global Women’s Startup Weekend, being a team member of the IML Great Debate, being selected as an Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) Panel Member but above all I believe being awarded the CQUniversity Australia ‘Alumnus of the Year for Industry Excellence’ was a wonderful achievement and so well deserved.

Impact Community Services has been many things to many people over the past 41 years and I have been privileged to have been part of the IMPACT journey since March 2011.  We have been through floods, funding cuts and restructures, but I know I will leave the organisation in good hands with the current Board membership and Senior Management and the governance structures and strategies we have formed to take IMPACT to the next level. My hope is that all future Impact Board members come to fall in love with the place and the people as much as I have over the years. The staff, our clients and the positive changes we get to make by transforming the lives of the disadvantaged members in our community. It is proof to me that we are all Stronger Together.

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To see the smiles on the faces of our graduates and to hear the stories of their journeys, to listen to the Impact Community Choir fill the room with song and with love and everybody singing along with them or to share in the thrill of winning National Awards with our amazing staff are just some of the highlights I have been honoured to be a part of. It really has made the years at IMPACT so wonderful but even the more difficult to walk away from and say a final goodbye.

David Batt

Board Chair

Impact Community Services Inc.