Daniel Conti has been elected unopposed and will join the Leadership Committee in 2016/17.
As Director of Sponsorship (DoS) in 2016/17, what is one key policy relating to the MULSS’s Sponsorship Portfolio that you would like to implement during your term?
I am firmly of the belief that the LSS requires broad and diverse support, financially or otherwise, in order to provide the JD Cohort with not only the means and opportunities to thrive, but also the peace of mind that there is a significant external interest in our students and their abilities.
For this reason, I think it is vitally important that the MULSS consider the untapped interest that exists in our students outside of our current sponsorship partners (whom we already appreciate greatly!). I have been made acutely aware of this specific new interest through my role as Careers Director this year and completely understand student's concerns about narrowly focused career paths or ones that are extremely competitive. To achieve this, I hope to work closely with portfolio directors to discern their interests/views and make sure that these are being tabled to existing and prospective sponsors to expand, diversify and mature the funding base of the MULSS.
As an aside to this, I believe that it is important to involve the student cohort and committee with as much as possible in the process and I invite you all to forward your concerns or ideas to me as soon as possible.
The role of DoS requires regular contact (both written and in person) with external partners and, most typically, HR managers of sponsor firms. It also requires a high-level of familiarly with negotiating sponsorship arrangements. What key experience, training or qualifications do you have that make you an ideal candidate?
I have fortunately been involved with the LSS since beginning the JD at the beginning of 2015. It has been pleasing to be involved within the LSS as a careers officer in 2015 and then being elected to Careers Director this year alongside Ewa Lobaza. Evidently, the position of Careers Director not only warranted a high-level of communication, management and team skills in order to facilitate the portfolio, but we had to deal with each and every external stakeholder who had an interest in it. This ranged from commercial law firms to government departments to corporate/industry firms to the Bar to public interest organisations. It required Ewa and I, along with our officers, to actually maintain and foster these relationships (including HR managers and staff, solicitors through to partners). At the end of the day, they are all people! I believe that I have developed substantial goodwill and with confidence, can put my best foot forward with all stakeholders, current and prospective.
Additionally I have worked within accounting, management consulting, banking and law in many different roles since beginning my undergraduate studies five years ago. Due to this, I have an acute awareness of how to build professional relationships, navigate business problems and achieve lasting results. I'm certain that by bringing this experience, and my friendly and personable nature, to the table, I will get the best possible outcome for our cohort.
The DoS’ role includes ensuring the financial security of the MULSS. Typically, a large percentage of the MULSS’ funding has been sourced through corporate sponsorship. Imagine several key sponsors decide to reduce or cease their sponsorship arrangements with the MULSS next year. How would you respond?
It's an interesting question which hopefully doesn't eventuate given the great work that the portfolios have undertaken this year for our cohort, and the benefits it has also provided our sponsors. In the instance this did occur, I would approach it like any problem: understand the reasoning behind the sponsor's change of heart and see if the MULSS can facilitate a compromise by consulting with the leadership team and the specific portfolio the sponsorship affects. In my experience, sponsors decrease or cease sponsorship in some areas due to concerns about their 'return on investment' and getting their money's worth. For me, it would be able trying to bridge this gap and understanding.
If a compromise could not occur, I would look to alternative forms of funding from non-legal sponsorship avenues or legal sponsorship avenues which have not been canvassed previously. Its important to keep in mind that sponsorship dollars assist the society as a whole and not just the specific initiative that the dollars attaches to so its crucial that this process is undertaken as delicately as possible.