By now you may have seen the formal notification that the GANZ AGM will be held on
Sunday 22 November 2020
7:30am AWST (WA) / 9:00am ACDT (SA) / 9:30am AEST (Qld) /
10:30am AEDT (NSW, VIC, ACT, TAS) / 12:30pm NZT (Christchurch)
Full details available here
One of the important parts at the AGM will be the elections, and as you may be aware the President’s role is currently vacant. This is a pivotal role both for GANZ as an organisation and the GANZ Council, yet in its current form may not be the most attractive role for people to step into. In writing today, it is my hope that people who are interested in a role on the GANZ Council might shift from thinking “no thanks” to “well I could do that”.
It seems that part of the problem with the President role as it stands now is that the title and constitution create an image of a leader who holds power in a hierarchy and who comes in to the organisation with a vision that others follow for an extended period. This isn’t consistent with the reality that the emotional investment and sense of ownership of GANZ belongs between council, members, elders, training providers, and other stakeholders. It also doesn’t reflect the current reality that council members, including the president, will come and go every 2 or so years. It may also be that the role of President is weighed down by GANZ’s old history and conflicts from GANZ’s time as a regulatory body, during which the President role did have different powers and responsibilities.
The reality of how the current GANZ Council functions is quite different. We operate a very flat and collaborative power structure. A collaborative leadership model also sits better with Gestalt relational values. Martin Buber’s distinction between a collective and a community is relevant too, where “members of a collective surrender their autonomy to achieve a common goal, whereas members of a community create a network of friendships that support the development of individuals within the context of shared values” (1).
In the lead up to this AGM, the GANZ Council will be writing more about our vision for GANZ for 2021, but for now I would like to say that the current and previous Councils have no shortage of ideas – although we are short of hands on deck to implement them.
The discussion the GANZ Council has been having around the President’s role is part of a bigger conversation about the future of GANZ that we will bring to members in the lead up to the AGM. For now, while the constitution remains as it is, a President is required for the Council to function. There are some basic responsibilities that this role is currently required to perform, which I will outline below, but beyond these set of responsibilities there is scope for changing how the President’s role is undertaken in practice.
Beyond this, the role could be fulfilled in a range of ways. The current Council envisages this role to have an emphasis on relationships. For example, key duties of a president could be to:
In short, while there are some defined parts of this role, there is plenty of space for someone to come in creatively and be supported.
Finally, I would like to add a personal note that I have found that Aicha, Annie, Eric, Julia, Marc, Michelle and Nathan are warm, good to work with, able to balance cohesion and dialogue, strongly interested and engaged in Gestalt practice. They have my respect. If you missed our recent series of Facebook posts re-introducing the Council Members you can read about them here.
Nominations for this position must be received on the attached form by 1 November 2020 addressed to: The Secretary GANZ Inc, PO Box 398, Fairfield, Vic 3078 Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in discussing this role, please contact Anthony Jones at email@example.com
GANZ Vice President
(1) Buber, M.(1979) Between Man and Man. Glasgow: Collins. p 50 – 52. Quotation taken from “After Buddhism” Stephen Batchelor, Yale University Press