Statement by the new VBA President Christopher Leach
For the first time since 2012, the VBA has elected a new President. The following is an expanded version of the remarks new president Christopher Leach made at the AGM, after his election as President, together with a little personal background. Here is what he has to say about his new role.
I would like to commence by thanking Ben Thompson for his years as President. Ben acted as a great unifying force for the VBA during his early years. He then suffered through a very serious illness from which we are all delighted he has made a full recovery. Ben has provided a very strong foundation for the work ahead and oversaw a great improvement in the culture, professionalism and processes of our organization. I am very pleased Ben has been made a Life Member of the VBA for his great contribution.
I am delighted that all other members of the Council of 2019 are returning, as well as welcoming back Michael Phillips and issuing a warm greeting to Derek Poulton from Shepparton. We will be a dynamic leadership group in 2020. I also look forward to close collaboration with our wonderful staff, led by Andrew Macready-Bryan (Club Manager) and our world-renowned chief Director, Laurie Kelso and his team.
I come to the VBA role after several years apprenticeship on the Council, plus 25 years of consistent involvement in a wide variety of other charitable, not-for-profit and educational institutions. I operate on a consensus model of governance allied to being a strong believer in process improvement as a central driver of the dynamism of organizations. My background was in business, running a successful enterprise sold to a public company. I am greatly looking forward to this role.
I have set my principal goals for 2020. Firstly, to address and solve the financial conundrums with which the VBA has grappled throughout this decade; secondly, to build on the work done already to create a more welcoming and pleasant playing atmosphere at the VBA, one that will attract more and more advancing players to try our events on Monday and Wednesday nights and, thirdly, to give real emphasis to our signature state events with the aim of ensuring all our top players are in attendance and therefore creating the greatest possible pool of talent for our state teams in the national events.
I am passionate about bridge and bridge education. For a number of years now, the ABF has affiliated teachers of bridge on a national basis and I wish to see more and more Victorian bridge teachers gain this qualification. Like any complex sport or pastime, one’s capacity to enjoy bridge increases in direct proportion to technical proficiency. Our teachers have a central role to play in the development of the game in Victoria.
I hope to play in the vast majority of our affiliated Clubs’ congresses in 2020 and meet as many office bearers and members as possible. In the meantime I am always contactable regarding any issues with which you or your club may be concerned.
Finally, I wish to thank everybody involved for the confidence placed in me. I am honoured and delighted to take on this role and look forward to the year ahead.