I have a long history with Sponsorship Australasia. I was one of the founders way back in 1993 and served as President for the first four years, before the workload became untenable for my little business and I had to retire. I loved that Association and all of the ideals it stood for. I have rejoiced in the ups, and been physically pained when it was allowed to badly falter.
A few weeks ago, I was told that Sponsorship Australasia would be including a Hall of Fame in their relaunched Sponsorship Australasia Awards program, held this evening, and that I would be included in that initial induction. To say I was excited to be considered would have been an understatement.
When we think of a Hall of Fame, we think of an honour roll of the most consistently outstanding people and/or the people who have made the biggest contributions in a given field. Following that well-accepted definition, the Hall of Fame was announced back in December 2010. There are several dozen Aussies and Kiwis who would be truly deserving of that recognition, and if I were counted among that group, I would be more than proud. Then, a few days ago, I found out the actual criteria for inclusion.
The first tranche of inductees will be only past Presidents of the Association – all of them, regardless of whether they truly contributed to the advancement of the Association, or even treated it with due care; regardless of whether they honoured the Association’s mission to elevate the industry; and regardless of whether their body of work outside of the Association contributed to the development of the industry.
The sole criteria was whether they were voted in, and on that basis, I decline.
Where is New Zealand’s Richard Howarth, who spearheaded what is still arguably the best sponsorship in the world? Where is the late Edward Geldard, who drove me a bit crazy, but whose contribution and tireless efforts to raise the bar for the industry speak for themselves? Where is Anne-Marie Grey, who has flown the Australian flag while doing more than virtually anyone in the creation of huge, ground-breaking non-profit partnerships? While on the topic of advancing non-profits, where are Heather Newell, Hailey Cavill, and Jude Mannion? Where is Nicholas Cameron, who has created a sponsorship measurement model widely hailed as the benchmark around the world? I could fill a page with amazingly influential Aussies and Kiwis who have worked tirelessly to elevate this industry (and apologise to those I’ve left out).
I will always remember with great fondness the sense of idealism and mission that the 30-odd founders of the Association had, how hard we worked, and the joy of watching our mission come to fruit. It was an honour to work alongside those people, and that is an honour I will treasure forever.