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MAI Board Changes Announced

Posted: 12-Dec-2017 by Maccabi National

The MAI board held its AGM in Melbourne on the 10th December 2017.

At this meeting the new strategy for MAI was adopted and new appointments to the Board were made as follows:

Barry Smorgon OAM announced that after 11 years’ service to the MAI board ( as President for the last 4 years and prior to that as  the Chairman)  he was not seeking re-election to the Board but accepted a co-opted role to assist with the transition of the organisation that ensures its stability and relevance.

Barry noted that after 11 years of leadership he felt it was time to step aside to enable change, succession and a smooth transition. “The capability of the Board is strong, and the team is well placed to lead the organisation to its next stage in development.”

Barry has been a long-term supporter of Maccabi, his enthusiasm was re-ignited, when, he became the Patron for the first Maccabi International Games held in Sydney in 2006. He was then asked to join the Board at this time as Chairman and since then has been instrumental in pursuing important changes to the organisation some of which are listed below:

  • Reform of the Constitution - to ensure that the State Maccabi bodies were represented on the MAI Board and that the interests were a priority in strategy settings. This overcame the state based division that has dogged the organisation for some time
  • Broadened and resolved the membership definition in line with the demographic shifts of the community enabling participant athletes to become full members of Maccabi if either parent is Jewish.
  • Lead the implementation of the Member Protection Policy (MPP ) which was developed to provide all Maccabi members and stakeholders protection from issues such as bullying, discrimination and abuse etc. The Policy has been recognized by the Royal Commission Into Child Abuse for its depth and quality of processes
  • Changed the method and management of the 2017 Maccabiah, which led to the delivery of the largest and most successful team ever to represent Australia
  • Instilled a culture of Governance and transparent management which lead to the centralisation of complex issues which were dealt with through the MAI office
  • Commissioned an independent Strategic Review which resulted in a more clearly articulated vision of the respective roles of the Clubs, State & National Bodies
  • Revamped the Junior Carnival format to re-orientate it more toward sporting event.
  • Developed the National Fundraising model to underpin the various programs that the Maccabi so proudly offers the Community – such as the All Abilities and leadership programs

In his new role Barry will continue his work and build on the connections with Maccabi World Union, support key revenue raising initiatives and take on the role of Head of Delegation for the 2021 Maccabiah Games. Barry noted that he wants to act as a sounding board and guide to the incoming Board whilst providing them the space to deliver on the major strategic initiatives now agreed

Jeff Sher, a current board member who has served with Barry as Vice President for the past 4 years has been elected unanimously as the new President of MAI.

Jeff joined the MAI Board in 2009, having been involved with Maccabi since emigrating from South Africa in 1978. His service to the organisation has spanned 2 states (NSW and VIC) where he was not only a participating athlete but also an administrator in the swimming and water polo teams. 

As a swimmer and water polo player, Jeff has participated in 7 Maccabiah Games, winning 15 medals. At the 2009 Games he won 4 Gold Medals, 2 Silver and four years later performed even better, winning 5 Gold and 2 Silver in Masters Swimming across all freestyle distances including the Ocean swim.

He was the recipient of the 2013 Maccabi National and Victorian Masters Sportsman of the year awards. Jeff has an MBA and significant experience in business leadership. He has been a CEO of an Australian public listed company and an Executive Director of a transnational business. More recently he has been a strategic consultant to many significant retail and supply chain companies.

He has served the MAI board in various capacities including National Sport, Leadership and Strategy.  In his capacity on the board and as a member of the Executive team Jeff has been instrumental in developing the Vision, Mission and Values of the organisation and through this framework relentlessly pursued a 'One Team, One Voice' objective to gain a greater level of integration across the organisation. In addition, he ensured that an open and transparent management approach was applied across the organisation to build community trust and respect.

Most recently, he Chaired the Internal Review of the 2017 Maccabiah, the outcomes  of which were  presented to the incoming Board & will be an important blueprint for the next Maccabiah in 2021 and beyond

Barry noted that Jeff has been "not only a strong advocate for change but as my right hand has enabled much of what has been achieved over the past 4 years.  I have no doubt that Jeff will be an outstanding President of Maccabi for many years to come”

Board members elected at the AGM were:

  • Daniel Parasol (Vic) – Revenue Raising portfolio
  • David Cohen (NSW) – Sports Development portfolio. David replaces Lauren Ehrlich who has now been appointed as the State President of Maccabi NSW
  • Mikki Silverman (VIC) – was re- elected as Chair of International Sports with responsibility for Maccabiah and other international Games.

They join current Board members including:

  • Sydney Kahn – Treasurer
  • Philip Sheezel – Governance & Risk
  • Julian Dunne – Marketing and Brand Development
  • Dean Rzechta – Sport Development – responsible for National Sporting and Masters Programs
  • Brian Swersky – State President Maccabi Victoria
  • Lauren Ehrlich – State President Maccabi NSW
  • Joan Hillman – State President WA
  • Tom Goldman – Chair of the Board of Governors

For further information please contact Ellana Aarons – Executive Director MAI

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