By: Cherry Birch On: September 24, 2019

Bookings are now open for our Feb/Mar 2020 program:


Session 1 – Thursday 6 February 2020

Session 2 – Thursday 20 February 2020

Session 3 – Thursday 5 March 2020

Session 4 – Thursday 19 March 2020


Margot Foster AM of The Boardroom School & Cherry Birch of Financial Training Australia present Boardroom Excellence: a new approach to learning about being a member of a board.

Let’s talk

This 4 session program, presented by experienced non executive directors Margot Foster AM and Cherry Birch, will give you the tips and tricks to help you navigate the boardroom and be the best board member you can be.

As the title says, these sessions are all about talking: about your ideas, issues, difficulties, problems, questions and concerns, where every thought or query is useful. Learning from each other is just as important as learning from us.

The sessions are themed and include a fictional fact situation requiring you and your fellow participants to work together as a board to resolve a problem. The papers will be provided before each session. Tickets available at www.trybooking.com/557899.

Who should attend

This program is open to everyone.  If you are new to boards and have little or no experience, you will get valuable insights into the important issues that make boards successful.  If you have a reasonable amount of experience, the information provided and the exchanges with your fellow participants will further enrich your store of knowledge. However, if you just need a top up in a fresh and different environment, there is plenty for you too, as well as an opportunity for you to share what you know and broaden your knowledge of what others are experiencing.

The program is also ideally suited to CEOs and senior management who’d like to get the feel of what it’s like to be ‘on the other side of the table’, as it were.

We would encourage groups of 2 to 4 from any board to come along, not only for the confidence in attending together with fellow board members, but because you can then discuss and share your learning with your whole board subsequently.

The program

Whilst the sessions are themed, in reality there are no such delineations on a board, so there will be some overlap from session to session. Therefore the elements in each session set out overleaf, are not exhaustive, but a guide only.

The four sessions will cover a wide range of topics and it is recommended that all be attended to make the most of this immersive opportunity. Places are strictly limited to 12 to allow for the ‘boardroom simulation’ experience, which will be an essential element of each session.

Meet the presenters

Margot Foster AM

Margot is a lawyer by profession and has spent many years on a variety of boards, from local to international level, both private and government. She has built up a treasure trove of experience and knowledge about what good governance is and how boards should think and behave. However, it is a constant learning process as new ways of thinking about both governance per se and boards evolve.

What Margot has learned is that unless board members understand their roles (legal, fiduciary and financial) and are prepared to use the foundation documents (constitution, charters, policies) to guide them in the making of decisions, an organisation will flounder. More importantly are the people around the table who need the confidence to speak up, to not just go with the flow, to challenge and ask questions about why a decision is to be made.

Margot‘s board roles have included the Australian Sports Commission (now Sport Australia), Gymnastics Australia, Rowing Australia, New Zealand Sports Commission, National Parks Advisory Council (Vic), Presbyterian Ladies’ College Council, VicHealth and many others. She is currently on the board of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) (and is not a petrolhead!), Vicsport, and the Olympians Club of Victoria. In December 2018 was appointed as chairman of a committee for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for athletics.

In her prior life, Margot competed for Australia in rowing, winning a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympic Games and a gold medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

Margot hopes that you will bring lots of questions to the session which can be discussed with the group.

Cherry Birch

Cherry is the Founder and CEO of Financial Training Australia (FTA). A Chartered Accountant and former Partner in a London firm, Cherry has over 25 years international experience in the financial services sector and in consulting.

Inspired in her role as a senior Finance tutor at Sundridge Park Management Development Centre in the UK, she followed with 4-years in Malaysia, where she established her reputation in South East Asia, delivering financial training across 10 different countries. Moving to Australia in 1999 she set up her own consultancy in 2003. Since then, she’s been an associate with the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) and has built a reputation as Australia’s leading financial trainer with Corporates, Universities, Healthcare Providers and Lawyers. In demand, her services are now called upon by clients in the USA, Dubai and Singapore.

Cherry has served on a number of Boards both in the UK and Australia and has just finished 8 years on the Board of Yachting Victoria including stints as their Treasurer and President. Cherry has presented on the Financial Responsibilities of NFP Board members for Leadership Victoria as part of their Board Orientation Series, and has also run a number of financial acumen sessions for various boards.

Program details

Session 1: People – Thursday 6 February 2020

  • Who and how many
  • Skills and expertise
  • Selecting the chairman
  • Induction and training
  • Election and appointment
  • Terms and rotation
  • The CEO/board relationship
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Legal and fiduciary responsibilities
  • Financial responsibility

Session 2: Meetings – Thursday 20 February 2020

  • Agenda, minutes and board papers
  • Motions and making decisions
  • Conflicts of interest decisions
  • Financial reporting
  • Board calendar
  • Constitution and policies
  • Role of chairman
  • Speaking up and disagreeing with others
  • Groupthink
  • Meeting time arrangement

Session 3: Structure and Compliance – Thursday 5 March 2020

  • Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic)
  • Insurances and risk
  • Legislation and audits
  • Financial compliance and reporting

Session 4: Roles of Board Members – Thursday 19 March 2020

  • Strategy
  • Risk
  • Budgeting
  • Communication to and with stakeholders
  • Working with stakeholders
  • Board committees and policies
  • Code of Conduct and Board Charter

How to book

To book your ticket head over to www.trybooking.com/557899.

All sessions will run from 9:30am – 1:00pm and be held at Level 18, Bourke Place, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000.

Ticket price

$455 + GST per session

$1,820 + GST for all four sessions*

*Special bonus

Book all 4 sessions and receive 2 x 1-hour one-on-one mentoring sessions – one with Margot and one with Cherry.

It is recommended that you subscribe to the complete suite of sessions to obtain the full benefit of this immersive program.

We also offer this program for in-house facilitation for your own Board. Contact us for details.

Please direct any queries to (03) 9510 9401 or info@financialtrainingaustralia.com.

Click here to purchase your ticket

Click here to download our brochure