e-connect talks to Australia Southern territorial secretary for programme Lieut-Colonel Winsome Merrett about core mission and the kind of leadership she seeks to model and provide, coming from a divisional commander’s role.
e-connect: You’ve stated that THQ exists to serve the divisions, which exist to serve the corps and programs. Being a secretary for programme, as opposed to a divisional commander – what will that mean, in terms of the kind of leadership you model and provide?
WM: It’s a little early, but I think it is a different role. A DC’s role is a command role – definitive leadership is required. I think leadership is still required from a secretary for programme, but it’s more a position of influence, in some ways. Actually, all leadership positions are positions of influence.
e-connect: You already know the players; you are just in a different role…
WM: Yes, and it’s a case of different relationships. Leadership is still required, but it will be different.
e-connect: The concept of ‘core mission’ has been explored on and off for a long time, and now we have the re-unification of the two Australian territories and the conversation will be sparked off again. What makes sense for you, in terms of the Salvos’ core mission?
WM: Holistic mission, with corps and social working together for the betterment of individuals and the communities in which they live. Our core mission is a very big discussion, one which still needs to continue. I don’t think at present there is a right or wrong answer, and you could ask 20 different people and receive 20 different answers. Their replies would depend on their passions, and their areas of expertise.
I think, regardless of what we do, that we need to be able to find ways to fulfil our holistic mission. We need to be able to care for a person physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially… we need to have the capacity and find the opportunity to do that.
e-connect: Which leads us to the question of different philosophies and service models between the two territories; how are they being or how are they going to be addressed and resolved, before or while the external consultants kick in?
WM: With the Australia One project [re-unification] there are lots of ongoing conversations, with the two cabinets in the Q group, and a national steering committee. Any decisions made by the Q group go to the steering committee, which comprises Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd, and Colonels Mark and Julie Campbell and Graeme and Karyn Rigley.
e-connect: Are they drawing on MASIC * or the staff of the training colleges?
WM: The training principals are part of that process, as are the cabinet secretaries.
e-connect: So there is a good-sized brains trust to address underlying complexities, such as the abstinence–harm minimisation continuum, etc.?
WM: And we are looking at programs and processes, and what we need to work on, addressing duplication and replication. There is a process in place, and we will get to those hard issues over time. At the moment we are mapping services and working out what the projects are, what the ‘load’ is and what the issues are.
This is not the amalgamation of two territories. This is ‘1 + 1 = new’.
* The Salvation Army’s Moral and Social Issues Council (MASIC).