First Steps in Governance Award

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This award provides opportunities for young professionals at the start of their governance journey to gain governance experience in the not-for-profit sector.

About the award

Applications are sought from young professionals who:

  • Are motivated to further their business experience, gain an insight into good governance practice and learn about the dynamics of sitting on a board or trust
  • Are able to demonstrate leadership, diversity of thought, integrity and enterprise in their careers
  • Have a range of experience and skills (commercial, community, public service)
  • Able to commit the time to prepare for and attend meetings and associated events
  • Have not held a significant governance role to date (this does not include a role in a local sports, school or community organisation or club)

This Award is open to young professionals in the Canterbury, South Canterbury and West Coast regions. You do not need to be an IoD member to apply.

Benefits include:

  • A governance internship with Bone Marrow Cancer Trust, Laura Fergusson Brain Injury Trust, Comcare Trust or Venture Timaru
  • One year’s complimentary membership of the Institute of Directors
  • One year’s complimentary attendance at all Canterbury branch members’ events (including online events) where members can learn and share their experiences
  • $850 towards an IoD governance development course of your choice to be taken in the 12-month period following the award
  • Mentoring from an experienced director

Reflections from past recipients

Morgan Walker (2021)

"Applying and being awarded the Canterbury First Steps in Governance Award in 2021 has been one of the most exceptional experiences I have had in my career to date. I have been lucky to be placed on the Ronald McDonald South Island Board of Trustees which has given me exposure to an incredibly high performing Board and I have taken huge learnings from my fellow Trustees including previous years winners of this award. 

Personally, I have taken great pride and satisfaction to be part of this organisation which does so much good for families going through so much hardship and a team that are so effective and passionate about what they do. This experience has really sparked and nurtured a longer term desire within me to be involved with Not-for-Profits and helping our community in the future. 

The mentorship as part of this program from Mark Todd has been incredible and has given me great perspectives on Governance and feedback on my own personal development and career planning.  

As part of the award I booked myself onto the IoD’s Company Directors’ Course in Queenstown which I can’t recommend enough. For those new to Governance it will really help you to find your feet with playing in the Governance space. The greatest highlight of the course were the class and network of people you get to meet from very varied backgrounds which has created a great network who have kept in regular contact.

The award has helped to ‘open doors’ and really is a first step for Governance. I now have a few opportunities I am working through for future Board appointments - something I feel would be a lot harder without having being through this journey.

I am so grateful to the RMHSI Board, the IoD and Mark for giving me the chance with this incredible opportunity and want to thank you all for your help and time."

Logan Hanifin (2021)

"I applied for the First Steps in Governance Award as an executive looking to tap into my governance potential. Throughout my time as an associate director with Venture Timaru I was fully immersed in governance and was surrounded by a group of extremely competent directors. This allowed me the opportunity to participate fully in board meetings and strategic sessions as well as gave me a lot exposure to build connections with stakeholders of Venture Timaru.

The experience and networks gained through the emerging director opportunity has opened doors in governance already, and is proving to be the foundational experience I needed to become a high performing director as well as providing me a new lens to work through in my role as a manufacturing executive. I would strongly encourage anyone with a keen interest in governance to apply for the First Steps in Governance Award."


Applications close at 5pm on Friday 30 September 2022.

Please submit your application by email to 

Download the application form as either a PDF or Word document.