Diverse competition for Crows’ board spot

Four candidates – two women and two Aboriginal men – have nominated to replace outgoing Adelaide Football Club director Rod Jameson, as the club moves closer to introducing term limits for board members.

Feb 22, 2023, updated Mar 02, 2023
Angela McCabe (top left), Shouwn Oosting (top right), Dr Roger Thomas (bottom left) and Imelda Lynch (bottom right) are all vying for one spot on the Adelaide Football Club's board.

Angela McCabe (top left), Shouwn Oosting (top right), Dr Roger Thomas (bottom left) and Imelda Lynch (bottom right) are all vying for one spot on the Adelaide Football Club's board.

Club members began voting last Thursday for Jameson’s replacement, after the former Premiership player decided not to stand for re-election.

Jameson is one of two member-elected directors on the club’s board. He was first appointed in 2015.

Former Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement Dr Roger Thomas has nominated to fill the upcoming vacancy, along with Aboriginal engagement consultant Shouwn Oosting, former Heart Foundation SA/NT chief executive Imelda Lynch and former Flinders Private Hospital general manager Angela McCabe.

The winner of the election will be announced at the club’s annual general meeting on March 1, with voting closing at 5pm on February 27.

The successful candidate will serve a two-year term before having to stand for re-election.

Thomas, a Kokatha and Mirning man, was the state government’s top Aboriginal adviser from 2018 to December 2022.

His position as Aboriginal Engagement Commissioner was abolished by the Malinauskas Government late last year because of the push for a state-based First Nations Voice to Parliament.

Thomas has also been chair of both the Adelaide Football Club’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Reconciliation Action Plan Committee.

In his candidate statement to members, he said he would work to strengthen the club’s commitment to reconciliation.

“I strongly believe that with all of the work that I have provided leadership on within the Club, I am a highly suitable candidate to now be elected to the Crows Board and provide a strong voice at the Board level and strengthen our commitments to reconciliation,” Thomas wrote.

“My election will strengthen this commitment and deliver a strong message to the Aboriginal Community that the Adelaide Crows is committed at all levels of its business to reconciliation and reflect the significant role of Aboriginal people play in the AFL.”

Meanwhile, Oosting, a Waanyi Garrwa descendent, is a long-time former public servant who has now runs his own consulting firm, KSJ Consulting Service.

The firm provides Aboriginal engagement consultancy services to a wide range of clients, including the South Australian Government.

Oosting is also on the board of the South Australian Film Corporation. Prior to his move into consulting, he worked in the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment as principal consultant, Aboriginal public sector employment.

“As a Board member, I will bring strong experience in governance, leadership, stakeholder engagement, strategic and critical thinking to help guide the future direction of this great club,” Oosting wrote to Crows members.

“I will work hard to: ensure the club is inclusive of its members interests in the Board’s decision-making processes, provide honest and transparent communication to all club stakeholders and members, [and] help develop an inclusive and safe club culture, a place where all staff and players feel empowered, will thrive and be successful.”

The current makeup of the Adelaide Football Club board. Image:

The two female candidates both have a background in health administration and leadership.

Imelda Lynch led the South Australian division of the Heart Foundation from 2017 to 2021. She also currently sits on five boards, including as chair of Glenelg Golf Club, and is a former Royal Adelaide Hospital non-executive director.

“My career has provided a significant and diverse range of experiences that will add value and contribute to the overall good governance of the AFC,” she said.

“As former CEO of the Heart Foundation SA/NT and current Chair of Glenelg Golf Club, another member-based organisation, I understand the importance of members and the communities that support the Club. I look forward to engaging with AFC supporters.”

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Meanwhile, Angela McCabe was from 2016 to 2022 the General Manager of Flinders Private Hospital, part of Adelaide Community Healthcare Alliance (ACHA) Incorporated.

Prior to that, she was General Manager Manager’s at ACHA’s Memorial Hospital, and SA state manager at Gribbles Pathology.

“I believe I possess the skills and aptitude to participate as an Adelaide Football Club Member Elected Director,” she wrote to members.

“I am a confident communicator, with strong negotiation skills, influencing others positively.

“In May 2022, I completed the Australian Institute of Company Director’s course and look forward to contributing to the Adelaide Football Club Board utilising my skills and knowledge.”

The Adelaide Football Club constitution allows only two member-elected directors, with the remaining board members appointed and ratified by the AFL.

The four-way election race for a spot on the board comes after the club appointed a three-person advisory panel in December to provide input on the club’s selection process for board-appointed and member-elected directors.

The panel was given a remit to consider factors such as diversity objectives, club policies, skills and succession requirements.

The club has since moved to introduce term limits for directors, with the issue to be considered at next week’s general meeting.

The proposal, announced by club chairman John Olsen earlier this month, will limit member-elected directors to eight years on the board, equivalent to four two-year terms.

Board-appointed directors will be limited to 12 years on the board, equivalent to four three-year terms.

The term limits proposal still needs formal approval at the general meeting as it will alter the club’s constitution.

If successful, club legend Mark Ricciuto (appointed 2014) and SAPOL assistant commissioner Linda Fellows (appointed 2015) would be the first in line to depart the board.

In a club-issued media release earlier this month, Olsen said the proposal represented good governance.

“Having the right people sitting around the Board table and guiding our Club will always be of paramount importance,” he said on February 8.

“Putting timeframes around tenure ensures there is renewed knowledge, skills and perspectives.”

Club members last year elected media personality Graeme Goodings to the board, while also re-electing Jameson.

Goodings replaced former member-elected director Nick Takos, who resigned in December 2021 over a standoff with club over its vaccination mandate.

The timing of Takos’ resignation means the club will now have a board election each year, rather than every two years, with Goodings up for re-election in 2024.

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