A word from your chair

Over the last couple of months IMSTA has maintained a focus on operational matters – keeping members informed of policy and practical issues and liaising closely with DH and HSE to demonstrate the significant contribution that members are making to help manage the current crisis.

In parallel we have also taken some time to deal with some pressing organisational matters, namely:

  • IMSTA strategy
  • Governance review
  • Revised Memorandum and Articles
  • Plan for this year’s elections

Let me share some details with you.

Strategy

We deep-dive on strategy every 3 years or so to ensure that our strategy reflects the environment we are operating in and how we can best serve the members. This year a number of Board members took a few hours post Board meeting to assess our strategic options for the next 3 years. We were very ably facilitated by Rosemary Durcan who is well-known to us and of course knows IMSTA very well from working on a number of reports with us, including most recently our Digital landscape report

We since had a follow up Teams call (I’m guessing you are all pretty much familiar with/fed up with Teams/Webex/Zoom by now) to refine & allocate actions and responsibilities. We always find this a good discipline to make sure that we have brought in diverse opinions and perspectives and that we have a really clear direction for the organisation over the coming years. We will share the output of the strategy sessions with members in due course.

Governance

I know – everyone’s favourite topic – don’t drift away – whilst arguably not the most exciting area we have to get involved in, it is nonetheless really important that we have clear governance roles and structures to protect the organisation and to support our continuity/succession plans. Again, this is an area that we review approximately every 3 years as both legislation and best practice moves on. We are very grateful for the guidance that David Duffy provides to us in this area where he is a global expert who again is known to/is familiar with IMSTA as a former Board member. Our revised governance structure will be shared at the AGM (date to be announced) and thereafter on our website.

Memo and Arts

Stay with me! Again – not the stuff of Hollywood but …. important that we test ourselves periodically that we are following our own rules and that those rules reflect our reality for today and for tomorrow. The major changes will be in terms of limitations of the tenure of Board members and officers of the Board to ensure that we have a legitimate balance of knowledge/experience along with new thinking and challenge/provocation. In addition, we will create headroom for a small increase in the number of Board members to reflect our increasing membership. Again, more details on these changes at our AGM.

Plan for 2020 elections

As many of you know I have overstayed my welcome at IMSTA and will be stepping down this year as Chair. The new Chair will be announced at the AGM and there will be a number of Board seats up for election. If you believe that you have a contribution to make to the strategy and running of IMSTA then please do consider standing for Board election – and feel free to have an informal discussion with either Justin or myself (or indeed both of us!). Over the years that I have been Chair I have aimed to have a progressive balance on the Board between company type, gender, experience and specific skill sets. We look for people who are well-connected in the market and who are willing to dedicate some of their time to driving the organisation forward – let us know if you are interested!

And finally……

It would be remiss of me to take a solely ‘business as usual’ approach at this time as we all go through our individual and collective experiences of the current pandemic. At the same time I am not sure I can add a lot to the millions of words already written about this and indeed the billions that I am sure will follow. So perhaps just allow me a couple of personal reflections which you may choose to fleetingly dwell upon or indeed casually discard. From a distance (being based in Nottingham), and you may disagree with me on this, but I compare and contrast the behaviour and effectiveness of the Irish Government and the British Government and in all honesty I yearn for the transparency and competence that you at least appear to be blessed with in comparison with the indecision and finger-pointing (within Cabinet) that we are enduring (and indeed have brought upon ourselves). This is a personal view and does not necessarily reflect the view of IMSTA or indeed my current employer! My wife and daughters recently were delighted to receive their Irish passports (for reasons not related to COVID-19 of course) but the handling of the current crisis is another reason for this to be a particularly smart move from my better half. I’m just a bit worried that she was less keen for me to get one……………..

I wish you all the best, for yourselves, your families, your friends, your businesses and the country as a whole. I thank you all for your continued commitment to IMSTA and I would also like to thank Justin, Clare and my fellow Board members for  the high levels of activity and energy that they have put in over the last few weeks.