Given my science background and research work as an entomologist in Australia and South Africa, I trained my mind to always look for sound scientific evidence to explain insect behaviour and population dynamics. After completing an MBA, I made an important career decision to change from science to business. I found my niche in the agrifood sector and, in particular, helping various nations become more proficient in growing quality food. Then, in 2005, I formed my own consultancy in reputation risk management and accepted various board positions with organisations that needed to modernise their risk management governance.
My mother’s family included both medical and art professionals, something that has continued in my current extended family. This has brought home to me the past divide between the two professional streams. I only wish that my life-loving artist uncle had spent more time with my renowned radiologist brother, to bring some joy into his stressed work environment!
When the opportunity arose to join the board of The Institute, it made sense to seize the moment and become part of a dedicated team that strives to join the dots between arts, health and wellbeing. I was fortunate to be surrounded at the board table by highly skilled and recognised professionals, each with their unique set of expertise. In a way I did not retire from my business career but retired to the not-for-profit sector. Since joining the board of The Institute I have been involved in three strategic initiatives that are of prime importance to NFPs, namely branding, leadership and fundraising.
Under our previous name, the Arts & Health Foundation, we generated a mistaken belief among stakeholders that we were a foundation with lots of money. To the contrary, we were actually seeking funding to bolster our resources and allow us to grow. In particular the board was keen to reposition as an evidence-based organisation that would be respected and used as a resource to the arts health sector.
With the help of an external consultant firm, we launched in 2013 our new brand identity as The Institute for Creative Health, underpinned by a comprehensive brand strategy that included a distinctive visual presence and an authentic voice. Most importantly, the team learnt to understand the brand’s promise and feel inspired to live up to it. This has resulted in more vigour and passion, which are essential ingredients for success.
The human health and wellbeing complexities of the 21st Century will require more effort and resources in the arts health sector, and I am passionate about us making a difference.