Media Centre - 23 December 2021

Plan International Australia announces bold new strategic vision steered by new feminist executive team and new chair of the board

Australia’s leading charity for girls’ equality Plan International Australia has announced business and philanthropic leader Sally Treeby as the incoming Chair of its Board of Directors as the organisation adopts an exciting new strategy.

Ms Treeby’s career has spanned executive and non-executive roles in financial services, agriculture renewable energy and the philanthropic and community sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom covering strategy, marketing, line management, general management and ethics.

She was elected to Plan International Australia’s Board in July 2014 and is a fierce advocate in the prevention of online child exploitation.

“I am thrilled to take on this role at such a truly critical time for girls around the world and to work with a talented and passionate team committed to scaling our impact for girls equality,” said Ms Treeby.

“I am incredibly excited to work with Ms Treeby as we move Plan International Australia into an inspiring new era.,” added Plan International Australia CEO Susanne Legena.

“She brings a wealth of leadership experience, knowledge and passion to the board and to the wider organisation, along with great insight into the challenges our sector currently faces.”

Ms Treeby chairs a diverse board with strong representation across gender, culture, age and experience. Her first term began last week, when Gerry Hueston, who served as Plan International Australia’s board chair for nine years, stepped down.

“We thank Mr Hueston deeply for his wisdom and guidance, his outstanding contribution to our work and his unwavering commitment to making the world a better, more equal place for girls and all children. He will always be a part of the Plan family,” said Ms Legena.

“I will leave the Board much enriched by my experience and will continue to be a staunch advocate for, and passionate supporter of Plan International Australia,” said Mr Hueston.

“I strongly believe I am leaving behind an incredibly talented and diverse Board, helmed by outstanding new Chair Sally Treeby, and a refreshed and talented leadership team. It has been such a privilege to take this journey alongside such an incredible organisation and all of its wonderful supporters.

“The work Plan International Australia does and the progress that has been made for children, their communities and in recent years, for girls, is truly humbling, and none of it could happen if it wasn’t for the thousands of generous supporters who stand alongside us and share our vision for a more equal world,” he said.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the international development sector: it has reversed years of socioeconomic progress, disproportionally harming the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Yet the pandemic also allowed organisations to take stock and pivot, and in late 2021, Plan International Australia announced and implemented a bold new strategy to rebuild the organisation into a better-adapted organisation for the times, with a core mission of carving out space for the voices of the most vulnerable children and their communities, and for girls around the globe to be heard.

“The global pause brought a unique opportunity for us to reimagine our world, our work and the way we want to contribute to creating a better and more just world post-COVID-19,” said Ms Legena. 

“The people we serve and partner with want to determine their own futures and expect a relationship of equals. Our vision is to be a next generation international social impact organisation brilliantly partnering to drive systemic change.”

The new executive team comprises Chief Operating Officer Ruth Kestermann and Deputy CEOs Dave Husy and Hayley Cull, working alongside a renewed senior leadership team.

“With the current state of the world, the work we do has never been more necessary or more urgent. The COVID-19 pandemic has set back girls’ rights, challenged fragile health systems and rocked economies and livelihoods. Millions of children have been without schooling. In this digital era, we are increasingly inundated with bad news about what is happening in the world, from Haiti and Afghanistan, to the stark findings of the UN’s IPCC report, which laid bare the fact we are running out of time to avert a climate catastrophe,” said Ms Legena.

“And yet we live and see everyday a much more positive and humane world. Looking ahead, while we have much to do, we have weathered this storm well. We are determined not to accept a set back in children and girls’ rights. We have to get girls back to school and fast,” she said.

Media contacts

Claire Knox

Media & PR Manager
0452 326 549

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