On Monday, January 16 ,2017, the Foundation welcomed Ruchi Umargamwala, a Year 12 student at St Monica’s School, as CEO for the day. Working as a volunteer in 2016, Ruchi impressed everyone at the Foundation with her maturity and interest in the Foundation’s work. So much so, that CEO Lesley Podesta invited her back to experience a day in the life of a CEO.
The schedule mirrored the activities and responsibilities of a CEO, including an early morning leadership team meeting then a morning tea with Board Member Peter Blunden, the Managing Director of Editorial for News Limited in Victoria. Peter shared his insights on the media and the role of the Board in governance
Next, Ruchi visited the local Coventry Bookstore to acknowledge and thank them for their fundraising support and presented them with a certificate of appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the Foundation. The visit also attracted a Leader Newspapers photographer who snapped Ruchi and Jon from the bookstore.
The afternoon’s commitments included an all-staff lunch in the kitchen area where Ruchi spoke about the Foundation’s eight programs and its plans for 2017. She then had a video conference with Australia’s new eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant. Topics included the ways that high school students are pressured to be on social media, other peer group pressures and social media addiction. They discussed dealing with cyber bullying and how the Foundation and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner can cooperate to make it easier for students to get help.
After meeting with internal teams to review fundraising strategies and marketing plans, Ruchi had a teleconference with the CEO of The Royal Women’s Hospital, Sue Matthews. They discussed women and children who come to the hospital from violent home situations and what the hospital does to help and protect them. Finally Ruchi was given the opportunity to give feedback to the senior leadership team about her recommendations and suggestions for the Foundation.
Lesley was delighted with the outcome of Ruchi's day. "Ruchi came to the Foundation as a volunteer and did a great job,” she said. “We decided it would be useful to get a teenager’s perspective on what we do and how we do it. Ruchi, with her inquiring mind and keen interest in helping people, accepted our challenge.
"Ruchi met Board members, senior government officials and donors, had briefings, cleared a press release and did a media interview. At the end of the day she debriefed her executive team on her observations and recommendations.
“It was a great experience for everyone and we take her recommendations seriously. Staying relevant means always being willing to adapt and change.”
Ruchi said she didn’t realise how much time and effort went into running programs. “I think it’s amazing,” she said. “I would love to bring some of these ideas to my school.”
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