JUDI Geggie says her appointment as the first female chairman of nib foundation’s independent board is “natural progression”.
Granted, she had five years under her belt as a director at the volunteer board, plus more than three decades of experience in community and family services.
“Over time they saw I had the capacity to be chair and I am delighted to be here because it is an excellent foundation: forward thinking, well run, with excellent philosophies,” Mrs Geggie says.
“We are 50 per cent women on the board and it is a sign of maturity of the foundation and something that is being encouraged by corporate [nib]. “It’s great to have 50 per cent [women] on the board and who is in the chair is not as important as [that].”
Mrs Geggie’s appointment follows the retirement of former chairman Keith Lynch, who was instrumental in establishing the charitable foundation.
She moved to the Hunter in 1971 and worked for eight years as a teacher. Soonafter she worked part-time at teacher’s college on an early childhood project funded in part by a charitable foundation in The Hague.
“It was working with families living permanently in caravan parks, which was not legal to do at the time but the legislation was changing,” she recalls.
“I began to get an understanding of how communities work and I was starting from getting funding to develop programs in respect to what we were seeing in the caravan parks but also in the wider community.”
Her work led to her being a co-founder of the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle, a research, teaching and practice centre focused on families and their communities.
The role afforded her a birds-eye view of what was needed in the community within a nimble operation funded by charitable groups and government.
“I learnt … that you actually need to DO with community, not FOR community,” she says.
The work at FAC gave her an understanding for her role as director and now chair at nib foundation.
“I felt I had something to offer because I feel I understand a lot about the Australian communities and the way families are in the community, especially with running programs and submitting funding,” she says.
Mrs Geggie says nib foundation constantly reviews the way it awards grants and says the onus is on philanthropic organisations to improve and change with society. It is not possible to support every community group but she says the foundation casts a wide net in its operations.
nib’s group executive legal and chief risk officer Roslyn Toms has also been appointed to the foundation board.