OUSA are paying some fancy businesspeople to help them make commercial decisions on a newly created Advisory Board.
The Board will meet bimonthly with OUSA to discuss commercial decisions and the direction of OUSA, as well as keeping in regular contact with the Exec and the CEO. There will be up to five people on the Advisory Board. Currently three members have been appointed.
The Exec have been discussing implementing an Advisory Board system since 2019, due to increasing commercial activities.
“We decided to implement an advisory board because we felt there were certain skill sets missing within our governance level,” said OUSA President Michaela Waite-Harvey. “Such expertise will reinforce and support decision making, and that’s something many on the executive have expressed they desperately want. We are the elected governors of OUSA, and we want to ensure we are making the right decision when it comes to our commercial projects.”
Debbie Downs, OUSA’s CEO, said that: “In a uniquely structured, and broad organisation such as OUSA it is essential to have a wide range of expertise and experience to call on in times of need.” She noted that because OUSA is a charity, they must generate their own revenue to maintain the work they do for students. “We wanted to find people who understood and believe in what we do. We are very excited to work with the Advisory Board moving forward.”
The three current members of the Advisory Board are Ben Nettleton, Amit Prasad, and Gina Hu'akau. They were appointed to the Advisory Board by the OUSA Exec on 29 March. All three of the members are commercially experienced and serve on various other boards. Critic Te Arohi will not list all of these boards because that would get very boring very quickly. Probably just stalk them on Linkedin if you want a vibe check.
Ben is a lawyer. “A proudly millennial director he enjoys challenging the status quo, encouraging diversity and leading from the front in responding to the major challenges which confront organizations,” his bio states.
Amit is a Chartered Accountant who “brings strong business and financial, as well as risk and assurance, acumen to the Advisory Board,” according to his bio. “He is originally from Fiji but is now a proud citizen of Aotearoa.”
Gina has lectured at Otago Polytech and also worked as a Ministry of Education advisor. “Most recently, as part of Mātāwai Associates, Gina has helped create tools for community groups in the non-for-profit sector strengthening their governance and operational practices,” her bio states. She is “a Dunedin local and hails from a large diverse family including Kāi Tahu, Tongan, Irish and Scottish ancestors.”
We tried to explain all this to a student to get comment, but they just said “what?”
Critic Te Arohi Chief Reporter Denzel Chung said “BComs should have to fight in a ‘The Apprentice’ style duel to get the jobs.”