CFA SA Presidents Report

19 Mar 2023

CFA SA Presidents Report featured image

It is my honour to bring you the CFASA President’s Report for 2023.

It was a big year for CFASA. We celebrated numerous Fellow’s achievements throughout the year, with significant media attention, awards, nominations, professional recognition, and many examples of the ongoing legacy and impact of Fellows and their work. The following highlights significant Association events throughout the year:

Whilst much of CFASA’s energy went into the planning and hosting of the National Convention of Churchill Fellows, we also managed to get in some other events earlier in the year, continuing our quarterly Casual Dinners and making the most of the beautiful Autumn weather with a Winston Walk hosted by John Zwar OAM, touring the lower Gardens of Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, followed by a networking lunch in Aldgate.

We welcomed an exceptional group of new SA Churchill Fellows to the family. Congratulations to:

  • Martin Burke – The Donald Mackay Churchill Fellowship to research methodology in countering and disrupting organised crimes use of cryptocurrencies
  • Ryan O’Hare Doig – The Dr John and Mrs Joy Yeo Churchill Fellowship to advance molecular imaging of the spinal cord to predict neurological outcomes following injury
  • Christina Ly – The Dr Dorothea Sandars and Irene Lee Churchill Fellowship to explore accessible and sustainable models of eye care delivery for refugees
  • Andrew Polkinghorne – The Caroline Welsh Churchill Fellowship to investigate how farmers use fluid fertilizers on calcareous soils in their farming systems
  • Travis Saunders – To investigate models of support that enable autistic people to access and enjoy bushwalking
  • Lama Shono – To explore innovative models that respond to complex trauma on systemic and therapeutic levels
  • Kim Syrus – The Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowship to research the propagation and growing of cutting-grown roses versus traditional budded types
  • Melanie Turner – The Churchill Fellows Association of SA Fellowship to investigate the use of emergency mental health centres for suicidal patients

The Board and staff from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Canberra implemented a new approach to induction of new Fellows in 2023. For the first time, all new Fellows from around Australia travelled to Canberra for a national onboarding day in the first week of October.

Our annual dinner and AGM, usually held in November each year, was put on hold to cater for Convention activities. The National Convention of Churchill Fellows held in Adelaide in late October brought together over 100 Fellows from across Australia and NZ. The Convention program ran over 3 days focusing on the key themes of Reflection, Reconciliation, and Innovation.

Kicking off on Friday night 20 October, Adelaide Lord Mayor, Hon Dr Jane Lomax Smith hosted a welcome reception cocktail party in the beautiful and historic Adelaide Town Hall. A wonderful opportunity for us all to reconnect with old friends and make new connections.

The Convention program on Saturday moved away from previous convention formats, using, for the first time, dynamic TEDx style presentations to showcase the achievements and passion of Fellows covering environmental issues, homelessness, tobacco control, mindfulness and engagement of young people in politics. Presenting fellows included Heather Smith, Declan Page, Victoria Cornell, David Pearson, Christine Morris, Cate Howell and Sarah Molds. Post convention feedback was unanimous and very positive about this different way of presenting information. Many expressed that they enjoyed being in the same room and sharing a common experience with other delegates. Q&A sessions were lively and drew out some interesting additional information.

Saturday afternoon saw the convening of the Inaugural Indigenous Fellows Forum in a session hosted by Trust Board Director Shona Reid with Alfonsus Shields and Jared Thomas reflecting on their Churchill Fellowship journeys, their learnings and aspirations.

The menu for the Convention Dinner that night left no doubt about South Australia’s incredible food and wine offerings, enjoyed with a backdrop of the Torrens River illuminated by the Oz Asia Moon Lantern Festival. Retiring Trust Patron, Hon Margaret White delivered a very witty and insightful dinner address, sharing her observations and experiences over her many years connection with the Trust. 2022 Fellow Suzanne Fuzzard joined us by video midway through her Elvie Munday Churchill Fellowship travels and a video of Ian Tolley showed he still has huge energy and commitment to delivering outcomes from his Fellowship learnings. The night ended on a high note with Lainie Anderson’s hilarious on the couch style interview with Maggie and Colin Beer.

Sunday morning began with a fabulous brunch, then a selection of tours showcasing different aspects of Adelaide lead by SA Churchill Fellows, Sandy Verschoor, Lara Torr, Cate Howell, Lainie Anderson, John Zwar, Sarah Brown, and Kate Delaporte. The Convention ended on Sunday afternoon with farewell drinks and the handing over of the Winston Bust to the Victorian Association who will host the next convention. We wish Victoria all the best for the 2025 Convention.

On behalf of the CFASA, let me express my appreciation to all Convention delegates for your enthusiastic participation in the convention activities. On a personal note, huge thanks to Jill Bannon and the CFASA committee, presenters and tour leaders whose hard work helped to make things run so smoothly. We also appreciated the support of Trust staff over several months leading up to the event.

It was wonderful to attend Government House 17 November to see Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC present the latest cohort of returned Fellows with their medals. Your reports signal the completion and awarding of your Fellowship, through their release and your implementation of recommendations, you make a wonderful contribution to the depth of Churchill Fellows commitment to ‘learn globally and inspire locally’. We look forward to hearing of your future success and impact. Congratulations and an official welcome to the ‘Churchill Fellows family’ to Sarah Brown (CF 2018), Evan Marker (CF 2019), Victoria Cornell (CF 2019), Jared Thomas (CF 2019), Aaron Tucker (CF 2019), Rami Al Dirini (CF 2019), Haydn McComas (CF 2020), Mary Leaker (CF 2020), Andrew Christian (CF 2020), and Dylan Crismani (CF 2020).

I must acknowledge the CFASA Committee Members, Louise Kelly, Monica Diaz, Christine Morris, John Zwar, Kylee Von Ohle, Peter Bleby, Meredith Frearson and Barbara Biggins for their ongoing commitment to the CFASA. It is through their hard work that we are able to bring you activities throughout the year where we all have an opportunity to come together in celebration and meet with other Fellows. We wish retiring Committee member Barbara Biggins all the best and many thanks for her contribution over the years.

2024 will be a year where we continue to consider the themes of reflection, innovation and reconciliation. Our Association is in a strong financial position and will continue to find ways to expand upon the work we do. Its timely that we review our constitution and committee structure and seek new ways to better engage with all SA Fellows. We welcome input from all Association members.

The CFASA Committee hopes to reach out to a diverse group of potential Fellowship applicants for the 2024 round as we seek to expand our reach into new sectors and regions.

We also look forward to working with the incoming CEO of the Trust, Rachael Coghlan, and furthering the impact of all Churchill Fellowships.

I look forward to another big year ahead as we consider our role and function and how to best support existing and future Churchill Fellows. On behalf of the Committee, thank you for your ongoing support.

Donna Mayhew

Churchill Fellow 2015


Use the categories below to filter the search results: