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Most of the time Board and Committee members make their significant contributions to an organisation’s work from behind the scenes.

In this article, we wanted to recognise the value and importance that governance stakeholders, Boards and Committees make toward the health, success and sustainability of an organisation, such as the Australian Physiotherapy Council.

Today, we introduce Dr Kurt Lackovic, Board Member and Chair of the Council’s Audit and Risk Committee.

In talking with Kurt, we asked him about his professional journey and why he’s chosen to invest his significant experience and valuable time into the accreditation and assessment work of the Australian Physiotherapy Council.

Kurt joined the Council as an independent Board member in February 2020, and took on the additional role of Chair of our Audit and Risk Committee in January 2021.

Over the last 25 years, Kurt has worked across various aspects of medical research. After completing a PhD in Chemistry, postdoctoral placements in genomics and early-stage drug discovery, Kurt worked in business development and executive management within medical research focussed organisations. He coupled this experience with further education, including the AICD Company Directors course, the Innovative Healthcare Leadership residential program at Stanford University and an MBA at Melbourne Business School. He is currently the CEO and Company Secretary of Cancer Trials Australia (CTA), a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation that helps ensure Australia remains a destination of choice for international pharmaceutical and biotech companies to conduct their clinical trials. The 50+ staff that Kurt oversees work together to help ensure Australian cancer patients have access to more treatment options sooner.

Kurt describes his leadership journey as one that would lead him to join the Council’s Board in the belief that his knowledge and values aligned well with the culture and purpose of the Council.

As one of several independent, non-physiotherapist Directors, Kurt brings his complimentary experience and knowledge to the context of the Council’s physiotherapy accreditation and assessment work.

The diversity and unity around the Board table ensures robust, grounded, thorough and balanced governance and decision-making.

How does the Council benefit from the experience you have developed in the medical research sector over many years?

Kurt: I have been fortunate to develop a career that has seen me work across many aspects of medical research, from academic research through to commercially focussed research, business development and technology transfer, into broader executive management. Many of the challenges I have faced and overcome in my current and previous roles are directly applicable to the Council, such as stakeholder engagement, risk management, selection and implementation of robust information systems, ensuring a high standard of cybersecurity, and diversification of services. Innovation has been a key theme throughout much of my career to date also.

The Council is proactive, always looking to ensure that our processes and systems for delivering both physiotherapy accreditation and assessment services are contemporary, efficient, value for money and responding to the ever-changing world we are operating in. One of the roles of the Board is to work together with Management to ensure we are future-proofing the Council.

As both a Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC), I look to our CEO and Executive Management team to provide reassurances that as an organisation we are not just responding to the needs and challenges of today, but we are thinking about the future physiotherapy workforce and how we play our part in upholding the standards and competencies of the Australian physiotherapy profession.

As a forward thinking, national accreditation and assessment authority, we consistently review both our current operations and opportunities. This enables the Council to identify where to invest in our systems and processes, to ensure we can continue to deliver the highest quality services, that demonstrate value for money, to all of our stakeholders, both now and into the future.

As a business leader and Director, I recognise the importance of nurturing the right partnerships with our stakeholders, ensuring there is clarity and alignment with the outcomes sought and beneficiaries we’re striving to serve.

In the context of the Council, I’ve been very supportive of the investment our CEO and Chair have made in developing and deepening partnerships and strong working relationships with key stakeholders, such as the Australian Physiotherapy Board of Australia, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and the Council of Physiotherapy Deans Australia and New Zealand (CPDANZ). By continuing to build these networks, the Council ensures it has a strong voice in physiotherapy.

What’s important to you professionally?

Kurt: Consistently over the past 25 years, my drive has been to work with like-minded people, demonstrating shared values, and seeking to improve the lives of Australians.

Throughout my career I have benefitted hugely from both great teachers and experienced mentors. These are key reasons why I remain involved in both Scientists In Schools and mentorship programs run through the University of Melbourne and the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering. If I can help develop our future leaders to be the best they can be, we will all benefit.

The Council acknowledges our Board of Directors and their leadership, especially over the disruption of the last 2 years and is grateful to have such committed and supportive governance leaders.

To read the bios of all our Board of Directors, click here.

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