Introducing Shirley Elliot: New Chair of College Finance Committee

We are delighted to introduce Shirley Elliot as the newly appointed Chair of the Santa Maria College Finance Committee. With a strong background in accounting and finance, Shirley brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for compliance and governance. As a College parent and professional, her commitment to financial excellence and community service will be instrumental in guiding our College’s financial strategies. Join us in welcoming Shirley and learning more about her journey and vision for the College.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and career path that have led you to this role?

I have worked in finance for over 25 years now. I initially started in accounting-based roles as my first degree was in accounting and finance. 

Over time my roles in finance have evolved into compliance and governance. Compliance is a passion of mine. I love looking for solutions to enable businesses to grow safely as well as simplifying the legal and regulatory requirements that might relate to it. I completed a post-grad degree in compliance.

I have been studying since I left high school. Fast-forward to now, and I have just finished another degree—a Bachelor of Laws—and was admitted as a Legal Practitioner last year. Whilst my current role is more focused on legal, compliance and regulatory matters, finance is still at the centre of everything I do.

What motivated you to take on the position of Chair for the Board Finance Committee at Santa Maria College?

I have held treasurer positions on committees for sporting clubs and volunteer sporting board roles. Santa Maria College approached me a few years ago and asked me to join as a finance committee member. Having been on the finance committee for a couple of years, I was happy to step into the role of Chair when I was asked. 

Giving back and being part of the community are important to me. I am currently still volunteering on football and cricket tribunals, as sporting governance and female sporting pathway development are personal interests of mine.

I think community means different things to different people. For me, having an opportunity to be a part of the community that forms a significant part of my daughter’s life is a great way to give back to something close to me while being able to see the impact it has.

What skills and experiences do you bring to the committee, and how do you plan to leverage them to benefit the College?

I think the key skills are financial and budget management and reading financial reports, risk management—understanding the potential impacts risks may have on budgets and ensuring they are accounted for, and my exposure to the greater economic environment. Sharing these insights will assist the College Executive Team in understanding matters that could potentially impact the College’s implementation or realisation of planned strategy.

What are your key priorities, challenges and goals for the Finance Committee in the coming year?

Budgets are at the heart of everything we do in the Finance Committee. This includes planning, reporting and reviewing against the planned budget over the year. My key priorities for the Finance Committee in the coming year will be to ensure that we plan the upcoming budget in a way that can meet the financial needs of the day-to-day facilitation and delivery of quality education to our daughters, which also extends to making sure the facilities are adequately maintained. Finally, of course making sure major projects like the cultural centre continue to be supported by the budget.

We have already started the conversations and planning for the 2025 budget.

The Finance Committee will also continue to ensure that it supports the achievement of Santa Maria College’s longer-term strategic objectives. So, it is not just about focusing on the next 1-2 years.

How do you see the Finance Committee supporting the overall mission and vision of Santa Maria College?

I think the Finance Committee is important. The main support the Committee provides is in the careful planning and allocation of financial resources to ensure SMC has sufficient resources to achieve and maintain Santa Maria College’s vision and mission. 

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