(This is the transcript of the CEO’s annual address at this years conference on 12th September.)
The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone, it ended because a change came. And similarly, we as a sector are facing radical change.
So it is timely that the theme of our conference this year is managing change.
We are in a new exciting era.
Structures as we know them are being challenged and are changing rapidly. Our country is governed by a coalition government, and whether you agree with their policies or not, they are leading our country through partnership.
This way of working is not unusual in our sector, indeed we could not do what we do as effectively as we do it if we didn’t work in partnership. But working together is no longer a choice, it has become a necessity for survival and when you consider the bigger picture, it also makes sense.
In the public and third sector we are not here to perpetrate our own organisations. We are here, ultimately to improve the lives of the communities we serve.
And if these communities are better served by us working closer together in partnership, consortiums or merges, or indeed by closing our doors and passing the baton to more able and better placed organisations, then in all conscious, that is what we must do.
Today I want to challenge you to look at what you do and how you do it and ask yourself:
- What real difference do we make?
- Can we make that same difference in a better way?
- Does that better way involve me?
It’s a question we all need to ask and to ask carefully, honestly, frankly and bravely.
Tribalism, like the Stone Age, is coming to an end and l believe our sector is well placed to take on the exciting new opportunities the age of collaboration can bring to all of us.
But we must move our ambition from organisational growth and pride, from individualism and separatism, from protectionism and ego, to the wider civic benefits we can bring.
And if you can answer yes we do make a real difference, this is how we should be doing it and no one can do it better than us, then you need to fight to keep doing it and Catalyst, I hope, will be there to help.
We then showed a short film of our achievements in financial year 2011-12 ending April of this year prepared for us by one of our volunteers Anna Jackson.
You can view the film here