Deborah Nisbet

Non Executive Director
Deborah is an experienced Non-executive Director and Finance Executive with a demonstrated history in strategic management. An active listener who seeks to strengthen deliverables through strategic, innovative initiatives. Skilled in Not for Profit organizations, Stakeholder Engagement, Business Planning, Team Building, Fundraising, Governance and Management.

Through her high-level interpersonal skills, she has developed and implement significant financial and change management strategies across complex and diverse organisations, with a strong focus on effective governance process

Deborah is passionate about making a difference and her commitment to the Not for Profit sector has seen great improvement in the financial and social outcomes achieved. She places much of the credit for this success on building a strong team culture, encouragement of innovation and a focus on stakeholder communication.

Deborah is an FCPA, GAICD and FGIA. She holds an MBA, a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), and an Associate Diploma of Business. She is currently a Vice President on the CPA Qld Divisional Council, a member of the CPA Qld Executive Committee, chair of the CPA Qld Not for Profit Committee, and past chair of the CPA Qld Corporate Committee. She is a Non-Executive Director for SALDA (Speech & Language Development Australia) and Volunteer Queensland, and is on the Audit, Risk and Finance Committees for the National Council of St Vincent de Paul Society Australia, the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, SALDA and Volunteer Queensland.

What boards AND COMMITTEES do you CURRENTLY sit on?

I am currently a Vice President on the CPA Qld Divisional Council, a member of the CPA Qld Executive Committee, chair of the CPA Qld Not for Profit Committee, and past chair of the CPA Qld Corporate Committee. I am a Non-Executive Director of SALDA (Speech & Language Development Australia) and of Volunteer Queensland, and am on the Finance, Audit and Risk Committees for the National Council of St Vincent de Paul Society Australia and the Disaster, the Finance and the Property Committees of St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, on the Governance, Finance & Risk Committee for Volunteer Queensland and Finance Committee for SALDA.

When and why did you decide to PURSUE BOARDS?

About 6 years ago I realised that I needed to review my goals for the future. I had always aimed for a C-suite role, and now that I had achieved that I was asking myself “what’s next?”. I realised that as I had built up my experience over the years I wanted to ensure that I could utilise this experience to benefit others in the future. I also realised I needed to prepare if I wanted a role as a director. And so started the journey.

WHAT challenges and hurdles HAVE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME IN PURSUING BOARDS AND/OR SERVING ON BOARDS?

My biggest challenge was myself. I didn’t believe I was ready or had enough experience, so I started to prepare. I completed my AICD directors’ course in 2011, I got involved in CPA Corporate Committee in 2014, completed my MBA in 2017, and joined the CPA Divisional Council in 2017, moving onto the Executive Committee in 2018. 
It was only then that I finally believed I was ready, and in 2018 I started pursuing a board role. Meanwhile, my peers (of the opposite sex) were moving onto boards and committees with much less experience, qualifications or contribution.  It was the catalyst that made me finally take the plunge and apply for NED roles.
Of course, I was competing with many other non-experienced “hopefuls”, so it was many applications before I got my first opportunity.

Have you had mentors and/or sponsors and have they helped you? if so, how?

A number of associates have been really inspirational in my board search. One role I have was through word of mouth and a recommendation from a sponsor. A mentor of mine has continued to recommend and encourage me to apply for roles I would otherwise not considered.  

How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?

WOB has been a source of encouragement, words of wisdom and comradery. It’s nice to know of others achieving, showing that we all can get there. It’s also good to share experiences, knowledge and advice. I was able to attain one role through the WOB board positions site.

ANY TIPS FOR WOMEN STARTING OUT ON THEIR JOURNEY TO THE BOARDROOM?

Sure!! Don’t over prepare!! Don’t wait too long!!  I wish I had started this journey 15 years ago!!! 
Know that your experience is unique and what you bring to a board role isn’t just your expertise, experience or qualifications, it is also your enthusiasm, motivation and passion. So chose the organisations that really interests you. My roles are around things I am passionate about – and the time I spend in those roles gives me much more than what I give.