As a newly appointed director and Chair of Loreto Ministries (LM), 2020 commenced with a sense of anticipation and excitement around my new role. I’d already had exposure to Loreto through personal experience as a student and parent and, more recently, as a member of the Loreto Province Finance Advisory Committee. Since becoming Chair, I have only held one face to face Board meeting and have not had the opportunity to meet with the full Board in person. How fortunate I have been to join a Board and community which was both welcoming and adaptable to change.
Like many organisations, Loreto Ministries has rapidly adapted to online working and engagement. We have directors across three states, and with lockdowns and border closures, we have had to change our meeting methods. The LM Board has met more frequently in 2020 than in previous years to ensure that we remain across the key issues and changing circumstances. Instead of full-day meetings, we have found we are more productive, holding shorter, more frequent meetings using collaborative online platforms. The Board has been ably supported in this process by the LM team, working from home for more than six months now.
The pandemic has seen many organisations rise to the challenge. This is no more apparent than in our Loreto schools, where adaptation and pivoting (the new buzz phrase) has become second nature. I have been so impressed with the commitment of entire school communities; staff, students, parents, and Boards. Our School Board and committee members give their time voluntarily. In many cases, they met weekly to respond to the changing environment, reassessing risks and impacts on their schools and families, and replying promptly to support their communities. I, and the entire LM team, are incredibly grateful to them for their commitment.
While 2020 has provided many challenges to our community, I believe there are a number of opportunities that it has presented, which we should continue to build upon in 2021. We are working more closely as a network of schools, in collaboration with the Boards and Principals, and with LM, to share ideas and best practices across the schools in several areas. We continue to discuss how our mission and outreach may need to adapt due to some of the constraints placed upon us; however, I am confident these discussions can facilitate new opportunities.
We, as a Board, a collaborative team working together with Loreto Ministries and Loreto Schools across Australia, are ready to embrace all that 2021 will present.
Author: Margaret Kennedy
Board Chair, Loreto Ministries | December 2020
Feature Image: Loreto Ministries CEO, Cate Sydes, and Margaret Kennedy | Commissioning of Margaret Kennedy, February 2020 Body Image: The first Loreto Ministries Board Meeting, 2020