Pollinators Re-structure for Growth

In early 2016, the Pollinators Board, supported by Farlane and Pracsys, finalised work on a new Strategic Business Plan to guide Pollinators’ growth over the next 5 years. Through consultations with members and partners and via Board and staff workshops, several challenges facing Pollinators were identified that must be addressed to deliver on our mission for our members and community. These were:

  1. Developing a sustainable leadership model
  2. Evolving the value proposition for existing and future communities of interest.
  3. Growing a sustainable enterprise that includes resources for investing in innovation and growth.
  4. Driving positive disruption and healthy transformation in socio-economic systems.

In addressing Strategic Challenge No.1, we’ve been considering and evolving the structure and roles in the organisation to best express our values (connected, collaborative, creative). This included: changing how Board and staff govern, getting the right mix of autonomy and accountability, separating services to enable collaboration, and reducing reliance on individuals.

The reliance on Andrew is a case study in addressing this first challenge. Andrew held a lot of our knowledge and “memory”, is a powerful force in achieving our mission, and also held many things that need to be let go – a similar dynamic seen with many ‘founders’. The challenge for organisations is to manage the transition, ensure the “business” doesn’t suffer and in fact grows, and enable the individual to continue in a role appropriate to their contribution and talents.

So, in August 2015 Andrew resigned as Executive Officer to enable creation of true ‘Lead’ roles and Minimum Service Levels – one for each of our Service Areas Community, Space, Learning and Sustainability – and new forms of staff contracts to get the mix of risk and responsibility right. This has really worked for all e.g. Angie has led Space brilliantly. And, it’s continued to evolve e.g. in early 2016, and at Andrew’s request, we trialled several excellent candidates for roles in the Community area.

Following these changes and trial we felt it was the right time to communicate our updated structure:


Samille Mitchell has been appointed to the ‘Community Lead’ role. In this role, Samille will report directly to the Board and will have ultimate responsibility and complete autonomy in managing the ‘Community’ service area. Samille, a Kalbarri-based freelance writer, photographer, social entrepreneur and founder of Inspired Magazine, will already be well known to many of our members. Samille will bring a new perspective and her incredible energy to the Community Lead role and will soon make it her own. Samille will be supported in this role by the wonderful Lia Thornton in the ‘Community Administration’ role.

Scinapse – the Mid West’s science engagement group and ‘Regional Science Hub’, is gaining momentum and having a positive impact on how our region perceives the contribution of science, technology and engineering to our community.  Pollinators auspices Scinapse and is also contracted to provide space and coordination support. Andrew will continue to coordinate Scinapse activities with the Community team providing communication and administration support.


Andrew Outhwaite will continue to manage the Learning service area as ‘Learning Lead’. Andrew will continue to report directly to the Board and will be responsible for planning, resourcing and managing all our learning programs and activities with partners. This includes Lunchtime Labs, Digital Dojos, Goodness Festival, Catalyst, GovHack, Startup Weekend, growing a culture Innovation in the region, and other learning programs and projects.


Angie West will continue to report directly to the Board in the ‘Space Lead’ role, expertly overseeing all our spaces, including CreativeHub, and ably supported by Lia Thornton in the ‘Space Administration’ role.

Pollinators Board are very excited about these changes, and the appointment of Samille as Lead in our ‘Community’ area is a significant change. Our staff are members, and all our members are both pollinators (in action) and Pollinators (by association) and we trust all our Leads to embody this and enable it in others. We believe these changes will mean our values (connected, collaborative and creative) are better expressed and our mission better achieved: to Grow people and innovations that enable healthy, resilient communities.

If you have any feedback on this, or any other queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me on chair[at]


Paul Dyer

Chair – Pollinators Inc.

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