Brett Macdonald, Co-Founder and Executive Director of national charity, Dry July Foundation, has won the McCarthy Mentoring Executive NFP scholarship for 2014. Brett will be mentored by Ian Elliott, company director and ex Chair and CEO of George Patterson Bates.
Now in its second year, the scholarship seeks to support a leader who makes a significant contribution to the community yet has limited funds for professional development.
Since its inception in 2008, the annual Dry July fundraiser has improved the wellbeing of adults living with cancer by challenging participants to give up alcohol for the month of July. It has collectively raised more than $15 million, helping support 37 cancer services across Australia and NZ. Having initially launched the campaign as a challenge amongst friends, Brett has been instrumental in its year-on-year success and growth.
His mentor, Ian Elliott offers 38 years’ experience in the advertising, marketing and diversified communications services industry, including 10 years’ board experience in ASX listed companies.
Brett said he was incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to have Ian as his mentor – both for the organisation and personally.
“With the Dry July Foundation entering its next phase of growth I want to strengthen my leadership skills and manage the challenges that come my way, ” said Brett.
“The organisation has experienced rapid growth and is expanding into new markets which, while exciting, presents its own challenges. My role is also developing and I believe a mentor with Ian’s experience will provide invaluable support and direction during this time.
“It’s reassuring to think I have someone outside the business who is in my corner.”
Brett’s was amongst a large number of high calibre applications that were received from youth programs, arts organisations, festivals, indigenous services, health initiatives and education platforms.
The applications highlighted the strong leadership across the sector and the common challenges they faced. They included building sustainable funding, communicating effectively with boards, growing networks, access to leadership development opportunities, managing difficult resourcing issues and having a fresh perspective and independent support with the significant stresses and issues leading NFP organisations.