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From the outside, it can be hard to picture what goes on in a typical boardroom, with Hollywood painting a particular picture that doesn’t always match up to reality. Before his election as Group C Director in 2019, Ryan Greaves thought the role of the Board would be more hands on.

However, after a three year period where Qantas Super and its members went through perhaps one of the most difficult periods in the fund’s 80-plus year history, Ryan said his biggest learning was understanding that the job of the Board is to ensure the right checks and balances are in place, and that the fund is operated with the best interest of all its members at heart.

“It was a great learning, because I got to see that strong governance processes are in place to ensure that our members’ hard-earned money is taken very seriously; decisions aren’t just made on a whim,” Ryan said.

At no point was this more evident than through the pandemic, Ryan explained. Through this time, the Board was able to draw upon various procedures and programs put in place over a decade before to ensure that all continued to run smoothly.

“Kudos not only to the previous directors who set all those mechanisms up, but also the current directors who did a great job and really stepped up even though some of them were stood down themselves. They still came to each meeting with a really positive mindset to do the best that they could for members at that very difficult time,” he said.

Along with his fellow Directors, Ryan also paid tribute to the Qantas Super management team.

“I really saw that whenever the time comes to make a decision, the management team at Qantas Super always comes back to the question of, what is in our member’s best interests?” Ryan said.

“Getting to see how deeply management and the Board care about getting the best outcomes for our members was one of the highlights of my time on the Board.”

With that in mind, Ryan said he’s proud that Qantas Super didn’t take its foot off the accelerator during the pandemic, but rather kept its focus on what it could achieve for members, despite the various difficulties faced during that time.

“Not only were we were able to deliver great returns, but I’m also proud of how well we manage our risk, and I’m proud of how we constantly adapt. I’m proud that we have these new products like the mobile app – we don’t just sit on our hands, we’re constantly looking to improve and offer better products and services for our members,” Ryan explained.

“We had a range of different issues going on all at the same time through the pandemic, so I’m proud that management got up and just said, let’s go. It’s not one thing in particular but an overarching attitude.”

Now departing the Board as he leaves the Qantas Group, Ryan said his experience underscored the role of member-elected Directors.

“Member-elected Directors play such an important role, because they keep everybody in tune with what is going on at the ground level. We’re at the coal face, because we’re involved in the day-to-day of our members in the workplace, so we’re able to give that direct feedback,” Ryan said.

“As member-elected directors, we’re also members of the fund ourselves, so you can know that the decisions we’re making on your behalf are going to be in your best interests.”

With Ryan departing, Denis Evison is expected to be formally appointed to the Qantas Super Board as Group C member-elected Director on 8 December 2022.

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