Better Boards Conference 2024

Better Boards Conference 2024 Master the Art of the Boardroom SYDNEY, 14 & 15 JUNE 2024


Impactful Governance Ecosystems

Mele-Ane Havea

Co-Chair, B Lab

Mele-Ane's professional background spans the areas of corporate law, human rights and community law,leadership development, strategy, operations, investment management and media. She has worked in Australia (predominantly based in Melbourne and the Kimberley) and overseas (the Netherlands, the UK and the UAE).

Before taking time to care for her young children, Mele-Ane was the founding CEO of Small Giants Academy for two years during its establishment. Prior to that, Mele-Ane held various positions across the Small Giants Impact investment family office including co-CEO, strategy and portfolio manager, and general manager of Dumbo Feather.

Mele-Ane began her career in law, working at Clayton Utz in Australia in corporate law, including governance advisory work and then for international French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, supporting their expansion into the United Arab Emirates. Mele-Ane is the co-chair of B Lab Aotearoa Australia & New Zealand and a founding board member of Regen Melbourne.

Prior to that Mele-Ane was a Director of the Impact Investment Group (impact fund manager), Tolu - Te Pae ki te Rangi, an investment fund using Maori values and principles to invest in communities, where she served as interim Chair. She also sat on the Investment Committee for Small Giants Family Office and The School of Life, a board she also chaired, finally she was also Company Secretary of the UN Principles for Social Investment.

Mele-Ane has a Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Studies), a Bachelor of Laws, and a Masters of Business Administration from Said Business School, Oxford University where she was aSkoll Associate Fellow.

Designing governance for impact takes creativity, courage and community. When you are thinking about systems change - we need to rethink the approach to governance in a way that reflects the dynamics of systems work.

Mele-Ane, co-chair of B Lab Aotearoa Australia & New Zealand will share a case study which brings this premise to life. B Lab AANZ is part of a global network of interdependent and interconnected organisations which work together to transform the way businesses operate and contribute to economic systems change for the benefit of people and the planet.

In line with this vision, B Lab AANZ has established a governance ecosystem to align the governance with the nested goals the work,

  • (i) overseeing a small non-profit that manages a holistic business certification;
  • (ii) facilitating a rapidly growing network of purpose-led businesses (B Corps); and
  • (iii) contributing to the necessary transformation of our economies.

Accordingly, the work began in 2020 when the board began reimagining the approach to governance, asking which stakeholder voices we needed to embed in the governance practice. This process has resulted in two main evolutions – evolutions in organising structures and in mindsets.

In addition to the B Lab AANZ board, we established two other forums which allow for the role of community convenor and systems change advocate to be reflected. First, the B Council, a forum for certified B Corps to deliberate, protect their shared interests, and mobilise the regional network for greater influence and impact. Secondly, the Horizon Council, a forum intended to create space for longer-term sense-making and cooperation with other entities, networks, and movements with aligned goals. The B Council and the Horizon Council won’t operate like conventional boards. They will facilitate emergent governance functions and conversations that are beyond the scope of conventional boards and which provide the foundations for community leadership and systems organising.

The vision for this governance ecosystem is that the B Council and the Horizon Council interact and intersect with the B Lab AANZ board and team in ways that allow for increased insight and information flows, deepened relationships and greater accountability for decisions.

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HLB Mann Judd
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Integrite Insurance
Australian Ageing Agenda
Russell Kennedy Lawyers