Revitalise at the Better Boards Conference


Mental Re-framing: Changing the predominant mental attitudes of directors post Covid

Vera Visevic

Head of Not-for-profit Team at Mills Oakley

Vera heads up the Not-for-Profit team at Mills Oakley. She practises in a range of sectors and industries including not-for-profit, property and commercial law. Experience Acting for numerous charities, religious, community groups, professional associations and not-for-profit organisations, Vera has over 25 years’ experience in the legal profession. Expertise Not-for-Profit In the not-for-profit sector, Vera focuses on governance and fundraising issues, mergers and divisions, establishment of charitable trusts and funds, tax concessions and exemptions, social enterprises, and regularly advises on constitutions, structural advice and ATO endorsements. Further, she edits the Clubs & Societies title in the Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, and is an author in “Charity Law”, European Lawyer Reference.

Vera sits on a number of boards and committees, including The Eric Dare Foundation, NSW Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW, Community and Consumer Consultative Group, ACNC Professional User Group, CatholicCare, Diocese of Parramatta, Everyday Justice, Mills Oakley’s recently launched charitable firm which seeks to assist the “missing middle” through free legal advice and representation. Vera has also been in publications including: Charity Global Guide: Australia

Will a change in director’s mental attitudes revitalise your leadership?

A shift in thinking and attitude at board level can make the difference between barely surviving and thriving.

The crisis of the pandemic in 2020 in Australia separated the wheat from the chaff in the NFP sector. Some NFP organisations rose to the challenge and have emerged from the crisis even better and stronger than they were prior to the onset of the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, other NFP organisations, for the first time, were confronted with their inherent weaknesses and shortcomings, which had conveniently been ignored for many years. These organisations had to finally confess that they were not strong enough to survive the terrors of the pandemic; exit plans would need to be made.

What can we learn from those NFPs which not only survived COVID-19 but also thrived? What lessons can we glean from those NFPs which were agile and flexible enough to reinvent themselves and surface from the pandemic with a new energy, new service deliveries and a core strength that will serve them well in the event of any future catastrophes?

Studies from both the NFP and business sectors show unequivocally that flexibility and innovation are crucial to those organisations which are successfully making their way through the unchartered waters of 2020 and beyond. As the board is in the driving seat of any organisation, this means that it is the board which must be agile, nimble, flexible and innovative in order to steer the organisation through calamities and crises.

Vera will explore:

  • • The innate tendency of NFP boards to be risk averse, fearful of change, and slow to make decisions;

  • • The paradigm shift which may be necessary for NFP directors to become more agile, flexible and embracing of change;

  • • The different language which should be used by directors at meetings to steer them away from “same old, same old’ into a new territory of experimentation and exploration; and

  • • How board papers and meetings can change to encourage and coral directors into approaching problems differently.

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