Fresh focus on inclusive finance

Fresh focus on inclusive finance

Dear friend

I’d like to let you know of some changes we are making at Good Shepherd Microfinance.

Thank you

But first, let me thank you for your inspiring action to truly value people’s hope, dignity and aspirations and for choosing to work alongside us to lift inclusive finance options for people on low incomes, especially women and girls. Together we are reaching far more people than ever before, seeing demonstrated impact through economic mobility and building financial resilience of individuals, families and communities and increasingly becoming community-led in everything we do. This has directly led to around half a million people, indeed all of us, achieving a greater sense of the fullness of life and human connectedness.

Count Me In mid-point review

In the second half of last year Good Shepherd Microfinance undertook a mid-point review of Count Me In, our strategic priorities for 2013 to 2018.  We are pleased with our progress, but want to position ourselves to respond to a changed environment with new opportunities and to accelerate reach and impact by increasingly putting the client at the heart of what we do.

We believe that our collective efforts are needed more than ever and that broad coordinated effective action is needed for a whole of system approach.  There are still more than three million people, or 17 per cent of adults, that are completely or severely financially excluded. This has serious consequences for those people and makes life more challenging than it needs to be. The exploitative and harmful payday lending and goods rental sector has ballooned from $100 million to $1.2 billion in the last decade. The Australian Government are reviewing the fairness and practices of this sector now. Young women are the fastest growing part of this market. Around the world banks are becoming more conservative due to perceived client income volatility – due to increased short-term employment contracts and casualisation of work, especially impacting women – and a desire to use blunt instruments to impress prudential regulators to stave off increased capital requirements. There are some exceptions to this, especially in Australia!

Last year, our Financial System Inquiry has called for greater focus on financial inclusion.  We also welcome the commitment of almost all governments around the world, including Australia, to the Sustainable Development Goals from 2016 to 2030 to drive policy on inclusive economic growth, gender equality and sustainable institutions amongst the 17 goals both in Australia and through international development work.

New focus and opportunities

Over the last year we have signed new agreements worth over $65 million covering the next five years to accelerate innovative inclusive finance programs, including multi-sector advisory work, in Australia and internationally, digital enablement and learning and capability building activities. We have complemented our established lending and savings programs offered at over 670 locations through our highly engaged microfinance provider network, with insurance, purchasing and energy offerings and new community finance stores. We are developing breakout concepts and ideas for home ownership, superannuation and new physical and digital channels to increase reach.

Our foundation partnership with NAB has gone from strength to strength as we explore new horizons together through a $130 million commitment to microfinance.  We have also welcomed The Good Guys, Suncorp, IAG, EY, Centre for Social Impact and others as vital partners, enabling us to fully leverage long-dated federal and state government investment to build and strengthen our network.

Leadership changes

This changed landscape has meant we need to reorganise ourselves to focus fully on these opportunities.

There are five new executive roles reporting to me designed to: accelerate new business and organisational development; be more client centric and strengthen connections with our network; use information technology to reach more people and transform the way we offer our programs; better prioritise and focus on initiatives, and; significantly build on our financial capability learning and education activities.

The people appointed to these new roles are:

  • Peter McNamara, General Manager – Business and Organisational Development
  • Renee Hancock, General Manager – Innovation and Marketing
  • Dr Vinita Godinho, General Manager – Advisory
  • Lisa Carroll, Chief Operating Officer
  • Corinne Proske, General Manager – Retail and Online

Further information on executive team structure here.


Peter McNamara, General Manager – Business and Organisational Development

I’m delighted to appoint Peter McNamara to this crucial role, which will lead our organisation-wide business development function.  This will involve establishing and maintaining relationships with key investors in our work, including the corporate, government and philanthropic sectors.  This requires advanced strategic influencing, communications and stakeholder engagement capabilities.  Industry representation, gender strategy development, connectedness to the Good Shepherd network and fundraising are all part of this position to enable us to grow, increase funding diversity and sustainability and reach more people. This position also involves leading our organisational development function, to put in place strategies and activities that enable our organisation to be a high connecting and performing team, providing real meaning and value in our working lives.  This includes responsibility for people and culture, wellbeing, volunteer engagement and leading our Investors in People strategy. Peter’s bio.

Renee Hancock, General Manager – Innovation and Marketing

We are fortunate that Renee Hancock has been appointed to this position, which involves innovation and new program development – from concept to implementation and ultimately transfer to the Chief Operating Officer, after operating programs for two years.  Developing programs within this role include Good Insurance, AddsUP, Good Business, Good Energy, Good Homes, Good2GoNow, Debt Deduct and others.  This role is also responsible for our important marketing and communications strategy and functions including event management, branding, speaker series and relating with our key stakeholders, as well as working together with the General Manager – Business and Organisational Development, on funding and partnership proposals. Renee’s bio.

Dr Vinita Godinho, General Manager – Advisory

Vinita Godinho is a wonderful appointment to this new role, responsible for establishing a fully sustainable advisory and consulting function, focusing on inclusive finance, building on the paid advisory work we’re doing now including in New Zealand, Pacific and Financial Inclusion Action Plans, and focusing more on Latin America and Asia (starting in Myanmar), in 2016.  Our research function will provide the policy, positioning and intellectual leadership both for this advisory capability and across the organisation and undertake the impact evaluation for all our work, focusing on economic mobility, as defined by the client, and broader social and economic impact, especially in relation to resilience.

As a newcomer to our executive team, Vinita is widely recognised as an influential and respected leader in financial inclusion, action research, community development and financial services.  Vinita brings extensive insights, commitment and experience in applying community-led approaches, along with a vast collaborative contribution to a conceptual framework for financial resilience and inclusion, drawing on deep practical and academic knowledge.  In 2015, Vinita was awarded a Doctorate for exploring the relationship between well-being and financial inclusion of Indigenous people.  Vinita was invited to share her findings at conferences convened by the UN, financial services peak bodies and other influential forums – including the 2015 NILS Conference and at our own team day in July.  In her most recent role, as Managing Director Financial Resilience Australia, Vinita has provided advice on financial inclusion strategy and action to two of Australia’s largest banks, the largest Aboriginal credit union, ASIC and other leading organisations working in financial inclusion and community-led capability building. Vinita’s bio.

Lisa Carroll, Chief Operating Officer

Also new to our executive team, Lisa Carroll has been appointed to this critical position combining our existing established and growing programs and functions that are offered through our network – NILS and StepUP – and corporate services activities. Over the next 12 months Lisa will lead a transformation process that will see us delivering increased value to grow and invest in our provider network, exploring new channels including online and phone, and implementing our information strategy to become more client centric and to apply information and tools to the right people at the right time to monitor progress and to realise our unique program logic outcomes.  Leadership of our learning and development and quality assurance activities both for our network and across the organisation is an important aspect of this role.  Lisa will also coordinate our 2016-2019 strategic planning process, undertake company secretariat functions on behalf of the Board and lead finance, legal, risk and compliance, information management functions.

Lisa has an outstanding reputation and track record in not-for-profit leadership and strategy, developing and managing large teams of people specifically focused on learning, impact and transformation, putting the client at the heart of the organisation.  Lisa brings strong experience in client-led program design and stakeholder engagement, especially through digital enablement to achieve outcomes.

Most recently, Lisa spent nine years as an executive at CPA Australia, a leading global member services organisation whose core services include education, training, technical support and advocacy – directly aligned to the nature of the services we offer to our microfinance network.  Lisa’s roles included Executive General Manager – Digital, Communications, Content and Publishing, General Manager – Knowledge Sharing and Project Director – Membership Pathways and Professional Programs.  For clients (members) engaged in these activities, the experience has been inclusive, effective and completely client-led, with exceptional value created for the 150,000 members in 120 countries. Lisa’s bio.

Currently recruiting, General Manager – Retail and Online

This new role is responsible for our direct retail stores (Good Money) and our online channels.  This role manages our fast growing ‘direct’ activities, which we fully manage and own, as distinct from the ‘indirect’ or ‘agency’ activities, where we fund and work through others in our provider network, which is managed by the COO.  This important position will consider the footprint and expansion of Good Money into existing and new states, and in particular, develop a compelling customer experience proposition and retail store process strategy and with performance metrics.

Acknowledging great people – Michelle Crawford and Catherine Richards

Michelle Crawford finished up with Good Shepherd Microfinance in the role of Deputy CEO – Development and Innovation on 29 January.  Michelle played a key role in the establishment of Good Shepherd Microfinance.  She was also closely involved in the development of Good Money, AddsUP, Debt Deduct, Good2Go Now, Good Insurance, leading our Research and Policy unit, also providing support to Good Shepherd in New Zealand and Ireland, and more recently the development of the Financial Inclusion Action Plan program.  As Chair of the Australian Financial Inclusion Network, Michelle is much admired and respected.  In 2013, Michelle was acknowledged as the Spirit of St Mary Euphrasia award for best representing the values and charism of St Mary Euphrasia.  Michelle has made an outstanding contribution to our work and to the hope and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people over this time.  We are very fortunate for Michelle’s role and efforts and for having had the opportunity to work with and know Michelle.  We will miss Michelle’s warmth, insights, genuine care for people, extensive knowledge and way of connecting people through fun and common interests.

Later this month Catherine Richards finishes in the role of General Manager – Corporate Services which she has held since mid-2012, following a distinguished career in leadership of emergency services (CFA) and other sectors. Our strong financial stewardship is well recognised by our auditors, Board and stakeholders, with sound processes, governance, reporting, information management, infrastructure management, people and culture being driven by Catherine and her team.  As a person who inspires us with her care for both her team and family and quiet but effective way of getting things done, we will miss Catherine when she finishes at the end of February.

A new path – walking together

Please join me in congratulating Peter, Renee, Vinita and Lisa on their appointments. Over the next four months our new executive team, with the Board, will lead the development of our second strategic plan from July 2016 to June 2019.  We look forward to making contact with you and inviting you to be part of the process up-front to get your thoughts and perspectives on inclusive finance, social policy development and ideas on how we might be able to work together.

Finally, thanks so much again for the vital role you are playing in changing the way financial services are offered to people on low incomes in Australia. You are offering hope, encouragement and human connectedness to millions of people that often get overlooked or excluded.  You are enabling these people to experience fuller enriching satisfying lives, with increasing dignity, confidence and control, which is in all of our interests.

Kind regards

Adam Mooney portrait

Adam Mooney
Chief Executive Officer
Good Shepherd Microfinance

More News

Household Relief Loans Without Interest

Household Relief Loans Without Interest for anyone impacted by COVID-19 are available now. In collaboration with the Australian Government, we’re providing No Interest Loans of up to $3,000 towards rent and utilities, repayable over 24 months. Take our 2 minute eligibility check and find out more here.