After four years as the CEO of WA’s peak business body CCI, Deidre Willmott will hang up the policy boots next year, leaving the organisation with a stronger focus on members and advocacy and in better financial shape then when she arrived.

She will discuss the changes at the CCI Lighthouse Leadership Series event on December 4.

Expecting to play a leading role in advocacy when she was appointed CEO in early 2014, Willmott quickly realised that like every business in WA the economic downturn, had impacted CCI and difficult decisions needed to be made.

“We had a lot of profit and loss centres and some of them were already showing the effects of the downturn and others were going to face a big change in demand for their services,” she said.

“In those early days, it was very difficult to see where we would make the changes because each business was active and contributing to the bottom line but by the beginning of 2016, that had changed significantly for some businesses.”

Willmott says the organisation looked to its core reasons for existing – a membership organisation advocating on behalf of business, connecting businesses with each other and with government, providing advice on employee relations, apprentices and trainees, supply chain and international trade – to find the way forward.

As a result, CCI divested its group training and migration services and closed some other businesses.

Willmott says CCI is now a much stronger and more sustainable organisation with a greater focus on its vision, mission and purpose of continuing to be the pre-eminent voice of industry and business in WA.

In terms of advocacy, Willmott says CCI now has a much stronger focus in its policy work. 

“The framework we’ve put in place to determine our policy priorities for each year enables us to communicate directly with our Members about the issues that are most concerning them and to develop our advocacy.

“GST, for example, was a top priority, and that has made it a really important focus for us this year.

“In order to amplify our Members’ voice we have brought our publications and policy teams together enabling us to communicate to a much broader audience and in a much more accessible way.”

Willmott says it’s a good time to hand over the leadership to a new CEO.

“I think we have done a lot of work to position CCI to focus on the future. There is a lot more that we can now be doing to look at the future of work, to look at how we can assist employers and employees of the future into lifelong learning and education.

“Most importantly we have an outstanding team who are committed to business policy excellence in WA and providing quality advice and services for our Members.”

Stay tuned to our events page to see what’s up coming up next year!