Announcement – A bright year ahead for Blind Citizens Australia

Following its meeting on January 19th 2017, the BCA Board has announced several exciting appointments which will ensure the organisation’s continued growth and development throughout the coming year and beyond.

  • Following a short but intensive recruitment process, Emma Bennison has been appointed to the position of BCA Executive Officer. Emma comes to BCA after four years as CEO of Arts Access Australia, the national peak body representing arts and disability. Her proven track record as a disability advocate and as a champion of leadership opportunities for people with disability will be of immense benefit to our organisation. For the last fifteen months Emma has lead BCA as its National President. The Board looks forward to working with Emma in her new role.
  • As a result of Emma’s change of role, the BCA Presidency was declared vacant and Vice President John Simpson was elected to this position on a unanimous vote of Directors. John served as BCA Executive Officer for seven years during the 1980s and 90s and has held a variety of Board positions since. He has a long and distinguished history in advocating on behalf of blind and vision impaired Australians and will bring strong governance and leadership skills to the role.
  • Dr Lynne Davis, who re-joined the BCA Board in 2015 after an absence of some years, has accepted appointment as Vice President.

As a result of two board resignations in late 2016 and the vacancy caused by Emma’s resignation as a Director, the Board also made three appointments to fill casual vacancies.

  • Fiona Woods, who served with distinction as a BCA Director in the 1990s and early 2000s was warmly welcomed back to the Board;
  • James Manders has accepted an invitation to bring his considerable financial management and corporate governance skills to the Board;
  • And, highly acclaimed Paralympian swimmer Prue Watt will strengthen the voice of younger members at the Board table.

In announcing these appointments, newly elected President John Simpson said “I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead our organisation with the support of such a strong and diverse Board of Directors”. “BCA has made great progress over the last year in restoring its position as the independent and articulate voice of blind Australians and I am confident that with Emma at the helm and the input of such a strong group of Directors, we will continue to improve our advocacy and policy representation of the needs of blind and vision impaired Australians”.

Incoming Executive Officer Emma Bennison explained: “having served as BCA President since October 2015 I am thrilled to have this further opportunity to apply my skills and experience to the operational management of our organisation.” “We have a great team of staff and volunteer members and I am delighted to lead their advocacy, policy development and information sharing work”.

John’s role as President takes effect immediately. His first major task will be to lead BCA’s annual two day board retreat, which will provide induction and governance training for Directors. It will also consider planning and priority setting for the coming year.

Emma will take up her new role in mid-February. In the meantime, she will continue to offer input to both the staff and Board.