- Jessica Chen
A Promising Future for 180 Degrees Consulting Unimelb: President and Vice President Interviews
Written by Hamish McLean
Amongst the hustle and bustle of week 12 crunch-time, I had the opportunity to meet with Francesca and Amin: the incoming President and Vice-President of our very own Melbourne branch of 180 DC. Across the next hour, I quizzed them on their path through 180, their plan for next year and what challenges lie ahead for the club. What follows is a write up of their ideas and ambitions - safe to say, the branch’s future looks very promising.
As a relatively new member of the 180 community, it’s been impressive to see just how developed the club is already. As Fran noted, priority number one is simply “maintaining the current level of operations.” She reflected on the amount of ground the current executive has been able to cover despite the transition to the online community. In her eyes, she defined the club with two purposes: one, to offer high quality deliverables to enable NFPs to realise their goals and two, to provide a valuable consulting experience to the student community - helping each member develop their skills and connect with like-minded individuals.
Considering this, she detailed several priority areas she’d like the club to focus on. She wants to ask: how can the club develop long-term partnerships with NFP clients to help them realise their longer-term goals? What infrastructure could be set up to retain the club’s knowledge and research from year to year? And lastly, how can they work towards boosting the club’s alumni network and develop mentoring relationships?
Corroborating the importance of each of these areas, Amin further identified another critical development opportunity. He’s eager to define a cultural standard across the organisation to articulate the expectations and desirable characteristics of both team leaders and consultants. This he hopes, will allow the club to define their value and market themselves to future clients and prospective consultants.
Despite these big questions, it’s apparent that the two understand the practical steps they need to take to realise the club’s potential. It’s also clear that the two eagerly play to each other’s strengths. Much similar to the leadership style of Jeff and Will, Fran and Amin together bring the required operational focus and necessary vision needed to unite such a diverse community.
The challenges ahead
Switching over to focus on some of the hurdles ahead, Amin appropriately flagged the upcoming recruitment campaign as their first major challenge to surmount. Over the past year alone, the club has seen a surge in applications for both team leaders and consultants and managing this process proves an ongoing challenge. As in-person events hopefully resume next year, Amin also commented on the need to continue to support cross-team engagement. As 180 DC projects can often be very group focused by necessary design, he remarked on the importance of developing one central community and ensuring everyone feels part of this broader group.
Finishing off, Fran and Amin reflected on the “culture of mentorship” that has naturally developed within the club. They noted just how driven every member of the new executive team is, and how willing they are to pitch their ideas and contribute to the advancement of the club. As they elaborated, mentorship is really about wanting to guide the people you work with to help them achieve their own version of success. It’s this very organic culture that seemed to be a core part of their ambition for their leadership tenure.
Both Fran and Amin seemed genuinely excited for the year ahead. It’s certainly a tough ask assuming custodianship of a club that has experienced such impressive growth across all domains and portfolios. Yet safe to say, after this discussion, it became abundantly clear that the club is in safe hands: Francesca and Amin clearly understand the challenges and opportunities of leading such a well-respected and diverse University club. As they note, “180 is an exciting community”, and so there’s much to look forward to with the year ahead.