devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Volleyball Vic’s new leadership

Posted by devo on October 13, 2009

VictoriaThe VVI board has announced the appointment of two new positions at Volleyball Victoria: Chief Commercial Officer with the key responsibilities of sales, marketing and communications and Chief Operations Officer with the key responsibilities of event management, staff management and finance. These positions, combined with the appointment of a Management Sub-Committee from the board who will oversee the above positions, will form the new management of day-to-day activities.

The new Chief Commercial Officer is Mahamoud Fahour (Bubs); Mark Gladman is the Chief Operations Officer. The Board has appointed David Jensen to Chair the Management Committee and Liz Pollock to assist as the Deputy Chair will oversee the roles and play an active part in the day-to-day operations of VVI. more

36 Responses to “Volleyball Vic’s new leadership”

  1. Tony said

    well, it is interesting to see how the VVI appointed a board member to a paid position (or is it a voluntary position!). It is even more interesting in that the board member is a newly appointed board member that was co-opted to the board, not voted into the board by the members and even more interesting it is a Heidelberg club member at present considering the current VVI president is a Heidelberg supporter (unless I am mistaken). There is a severe lack of transparency in the whole process undertaken and it smells like a under table deal has been done. Will this member resign from his duties at Heidelberg as well as resign from the VVI board as it appears a conflict of interest.

  2. Michael said

    YES HEIDELBURG IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD TONY… no more duties, nor more transfer rules, no more uniform infringements, we can do whatever we want and you cant stop us bbbwwaahahahahah <—evil laugh.

  3. Tony said

    Yes, it appears that way. maybe it is time all the other clubs start a rebel league and heidelberg can win every division of state league that way as they would be the only team entered ….. bbbwwaahahahahahah <– evil laugh

  4. Michael said

    Nah Eastside is on the board too so it will be Heidelburg vs Eastside.

  5. whosin said

    Does it really matter – as long as they support clubs, make the sport grow in VIC and get things running they way we all want?
    Surely Tony, if it was you or I, would be doing what’s best for the sport or for our club?
    If that is the case (where they will be looking after themselves), then i’m sure volleyball in VIC will soon be no longer.
    But i could be wrong – only time will tell, but i doubt it :-)

  6. Robbo said

    as Whosin said, only time will tell….

    If its for the greater good for Volleyball in Victoria then i’ll support it.

  7. Tony said

    hi, I am only concerned about the transparency of the whole process. appointing board members could be perceived as a conflict of interest. I am interested to see if Bubs is resigning from the board as is he not now a paid VVI employee. As the VVI board dictates policy setting and direction I see it as a conflict of interest if he holds dual roles. Maybe I have interpreted it all wrong and his position is in an honorary role with no remuneration. Was this direction change in terms of how the VVI wants to run the admin side of volleyball circulated to the wider volleyball community? When they decided to go down this path did they re-advertise both positions independently? It is even legal in the confines of the associations articles or constitution to employ from within the board? I am all for getting the right people and I do not know the business acumen of the two new employees but you also need to trust the process and the way it has been handled has been hard to trust. For volleyball to grow and prosper we need a transparent board that shows leadership and direction and a management team that can get the work done of the board. I guess time will indeed tell.

    • Anon said

      I’m with Tony on this one. Granted, Bubs has done a really good job with Heidelberg in terms of sponsorship, exposure and promotion, so I think that he is probably the right person for the job. But the onus is on VVI to make clear the process that was taken to reach this point and exactly what the length and breadth of his new responsibilities are in order to assuage any concerns. I think overall this is a positive step as it is now someone’s active responsibility to promote the game, but I too would like to know exactly how we (As paid up members of Volleyball Victoria) got there.

  8. Michael said

    There were two people hired to run VVI why is bubs getting all the crap? If you honestly think he would still be on the board ..if you honestly think he will still have involvement with heidelburg next year if you honestly think both men were not a part of the original process for the search for a replacement then your very nieve. No matter where the leadership came from I believe both of these men are the most qualified to lead victorian volleyball. But of course it will take support not just from the board but also from the community at large. If your already condeming them before they even start then no matter what they do they wont be successful. Maybe if we take a step back from criticising and looking at eveything like the glass is half empty maybe we can get somewhere. No matter who they hired the haters would rear thier ugly head anyway. I have never seen a sports community so hungry to tear people down.. To be honest just sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me because its not you running things.

    • Anon said

      I’m not questioning Bubs’ involvement, nor am I questioning his integrity, or even his ability to do the job well. Volleyball Victoria has a responsibility to inform their members and the public at large as to how these decisions were reached and specifically what is expected of these two new positions. I think the fact that they are making steps to help promote the game and protect it’s best financial interests is a good example of being proactive about the situation; but I would like this information to be freely available before finding out about it on Devo’s.

      • Anon said

        In fact I actually think it’s a legal requirement (though this is an area I’m not particularly savvy in) to make these processes and positions public knowledge. But once again, I’m looking at this situation as a step forward, if there’s nothing to hide (which I’m sure there isn’t) then VVI should not have a problem coming forward and explaining away.

        • Whosin said

          i must be missing something – but i don’t see how or why VVI should have to justify their reasoning for choosing the people they have to do a specific role / job.

          • devo said

            The 2 people appointed will probably do a great job.

            But perception is everything. One job was advertised. Two jobs eventuated. One job went to a member of the board.The community needs to have this explained to them. If the explanation is simple and justified, there is no problem.Silence from the board only fuels mischievious thoughts.

            The ball is in the board’s court.

          • Anon said

            But they do have a responsibility to inform their members. I’m not questioning the appointments, but there needs to be an explanation, particularly when board members are involved, as to how that decision affects make up of the governing body in terms of individuals roles and responsibilities. I’m not accusing VVI of anything underhanded and they do have the right to keep the exact reasoning to themselves, we are to assume they have chosen the best candidates for the job and I’m fine with their decision in that regard, but this is something that could potentially cause disharmony or sour grapes with some circles and I feel it would be in VVI’s best interests to outline and make public exactly how these changes will affect the landscape.

  9. Steve said

    It would have made sense if the position advertised was the position that eventuated, and if there was a decision made to have two roles instead of one then I think it would have made sense to re-advertise for the two roles rather than simply announce that two positions had been created.

    That being said, most of the comments I am reading here are fairly unhealthy for the sport. Tony implying there is some Heidelberg conspiracy to take over volleyball in Victoria is one of the more stupid things I have read on this board. Irrespective of where he played his volleyball back in the day we should feel lucky to have Steve Conroy involved with the game. To suggest he would appoint someone to a paid position within VVI because of club ties is simply disrespectful and shows a lack of class.

    Automatically believing that resignation from the VVI board is the next appropriate step after being appointed to the board of VVI is not really a thought out comment either. Terry Jones was a member of the board, these two roles take over Terry’s responsibilities … having both on the board may be appropriate. Have both as non-voting advisors to the board may also be appropriate. Let’s not jump to conclusions here.

    Small mindedness will drive talented people away from the sport, and honestly small mindedness is what I am reading in a lot of the comments above.

    • Tony said

      Why are my comments un healthy for the sport? My comments have sparked comment and debate on the subject and that must be good for the sport. How can one not think something has transpired when 1 position was advertised and suddenly two paid positions have been created out of the blue. The articles of association indicates that there is an Executive Director which it appears there is no longer one? Was the articles of association changed? If so, when as I thought they had to go through an AGM to be changed? Why weren’t these two new positions re-advertised to the volleyball community? I am assuming were they even advertised at all? If they were advertised but not to the volleyball public through the VVI web site or similar then why not? Where is the transparency in the process? My issue is with the assumed secrecy involved? Volleyball Victoria is not a company, it is an association last time I checked. Therefore members have rights to comment just like you have a right to comment which you have done so.

      • Tony said

        Here is an extract from a communication i found on the web from the VVI President.

        “The Operations Manager position will be reviewed by the Board and the new Executive Director, with a view to developing the most responsive staffing structure for Volleyball Victoria into the future.”

        It appears that they decided to not have an ED after all based on current announced appointments thus going against the current articles of association requirements.
        It therefore appears that they decided to change the structure of the back office as well as the articles of association.

        Therefore once they decided to create two roles and remove the ED role, they have not advertised either. I can only assume that Mark was employed and in consultation with him they have decided to change position descriptions and appoint a new position.

        I wonder how close I am to the truth! Once again all I ask for is transparency to the process.

  10. Steve said

    I don’t disagree with questions being asked and concerns being raised, but don’t post idiotic rumours and conspiracy theories unless you want to be called out for doing so.

    VVI has a responsibility to explain its actions, no question, but there are ways and means.

  11. Alan Cahill said

    Consultation and Communication has never been the strength of the VV Board in the past and personally I cannot see that changing.It’s almost irrelevant now how the restructure happened because history will tell us they are not about to change their minds.Unquestionably the Volleyball Community is divided and the biggest challenge for the new structure is uniting the community with direction and common goals. This would require a massive change of direction by the Board and the Management.
    I have always advocated a strong Metropolitan Club and Regional based structure supported by Volleyball Victoria. Currently Volleyball Victoria is more concerned about its income streams from its social competitions,the State Program and the State Volleyball Centre. Nothing will change while they keep looking from the inside out rather than the outside in! If they do not support a model that builds a wide participation base the sport will always struggle for support.
    If VV keep alienating the Regional Associations and the Clubs by treating them with contempt then the sport will remain stagnant. If VV do not recognise how critical it is to consult with,unite and support the volunteer base that make this sport function then it will remain a roadblock to the wider Volleyball community.
    I wish the new structure the best of luck.I hope they have all the answers and if they don’t,they ask.
    Personally I’m going fishing!!

  12. Just thinkin said


    I love the way anyone who questions VVI openly automatically gets kicked around.

    I say “nice work” to anyone who’s questioning this entire situation. As Devo says, perception is reality people. When you cut the crap exactly how does it look when the President and Chair of the VVI Board, a lifelong stunch Heidelberg supporter, appoints the Heidelberg President to the board, only to have the board then appoint that same person to a paid position at the head of the organisation? Furthermore, who steps in to defend this situation? The Heidelberg men’s coach…who also just happens to be in a paid position at VVI?? Please!!

    I’m sorry but don’t start having a go at people for saying what everyone else is thinking. Time will tell and VVI as an organisation will be judged from top to bottom by it’s future actions. For now though I reckon you’d struggle to find a club or association in this state that isn’t very sceptical and very concerned about the recent appointments. The lack of due dilligence in making those appointments is totally unacceptable and I think the board should prepare for some major scruitiny from the clubs and associations that appoint them. Good luck with the voting next time you’re up for election people.

  13. Steve said

    Final comment in this thread from me because we are already going around in circles.

    Question VVI’s recruitment processes all you want, but don’t make it into a club attack. As a Heidelberg guy and former VVI employee myself I think the process followed is questionable and needs to be explained, but by making it a Heidelberg thing and not an issue about the process itself not only do you bring into question the integrity of an Australian Senator, but also that of every other person on the board. Are you suggesting that the other board members are so weak that Steve Conroy has absolute power at VVI? Not only is it an absurd suggestion but it is simply disrespectful to suggest that about people who VOLUNTEER their time for the betterment of the sport. What are YOU doing?

    I also love the fact that you call out Michael for defending both VVI (his employer) and Heidelberg (his club) when the only reason you can do this is because he is man enough to make his identity known on here … and you do it from behind a name like “Just Thinkin” … Just Pathetic, Just Weak, or maybe Just Jealous would all have been more appropriate choices. I would also love for you to point out a better qualified person for Michael’s position who also applied when it was vacant, or are you suggesting he only got the position because of Heidelberg affiliations as well?

    Try reading Alan’s post … that is how a reasonable person expresses concern.

  14. edbinnie said

    Hi All,
    I am keen for questioning processes that are not initially transparent, and am always concerned about nepotism, favouritism and one track agendas.

    I definitely think it is correct for people to say what the heck is going on here. But there are a few things we should all remember.

    Our entire community is pretty poor on communication side of things (with the exception of anything on Devo!!!) You are all right, we shouldn’t settle for this. VV should have announced not just the new people coming in, but cut these questions off at the pass by releasing the reasons behind the change in what they did. I NEVER have a problem with anyone saying “I did think this, I was going to do this, but given the circumstances that have presented themselves, I believe this alternative is better for these reasons.”

    From the note recently released on the VV website (also posted by devo), I would have thought this is a great move – you have a guy with deep volleyball experience, and knows past and present issues. And the other has an array of sports management experience. To be honest, there are very few people that genuinely have both, so to get one of each to work together is a great way to go.

    Having been a past board member of a major association and also state board member, I was often confronted with this problem – lots of people complaining that decisions weren’t transparent. Finances weren’t transparent. That the boards didn’t explain why they did things. Often these complaints were brought up by people outside the sport – parents of a player (ie the parent wasn’t registered with the club or state). Or they didn’t attend information sessions. Or they didn’t really have a place to complain (they were a club member, but not a club director. Information is disseminated from the State board to the Club director, and it is the Club director’s roll to pass the information on) Yes these are examples of communication breakdowns. But the fault does not lie necessarily with the Top Organisation. Maybe you aren’t a valid part of communication chain. If we are, then by all means lambaste away!

    We have to remember that not everything is a referendum. Not everyone gets a say or gets a vote. We do have a democratic process that allows us to elect officials that we trust to make the right decisions. If you have a problem with a decision of the board, then change how you vote in the election.

    That said, I am also a HUGE proponent of COMPLETE disclosure. There are certain things which are required to be kept confidential (certain commercial arrangements, and disciplinary hearings etc) but on the whole I would prefer all to be disclosed. I would push to ensure that our commercial agreements did not need to be confidential. Any member of my club was welcome to peruse the books, attend any meetings, see any minutes etc. There was nothing to hide, and I was proud of the work that we had done. I did change from what I started doing, but I always had a reason.

    It did create some issues – some state league players complained that they were subsidizing National League, or were paying the same money but getting less training time etc. But if as a director/board member you can’t stand up to that scrutiny, then you shouldn’t be in your role.

    To be fair, it pretty much seems like that’s exactly what VV have done (although what they really needed to add was that they felt these two combined would do a greater job than any single candidate). But again being fair, if you turn to the corporate world, the vast majority of new roles etc are never advertised, internally or externally. In fact, someone comes along, expresses an interest in a company or organisation, and if the CEO/Board see that person is a good fit or has something to offer, then they make a role. This may be different from how things occur in government and schools/universities but its not necessarily a bad thing – there are plenty of problems with those bureaucracies!

    Best of luck to the New staff at VV.

    • markleb said

      “We have to remember that not everything is a referendum. Not everyone gets a say or gets a vote. We do have a democratic process that allows us to elect officials that we trust to make the right decisions. If you have a problem with a decision of the board, then change how you vote in the election.”
      This might be the most salient point ever posted on this blog.

  15. darkhorse said

    WOW! I knew people were paranoid of heidelberg, but i didn’t realise just how much! I kinda grew numb to it after a while. You all make us sound like the Corleone family. Tony, and the rest of you crying babies, do you have any idea how to take a club who was dead motherless last in the seventies and turn into a powerhouse volleyball club to stand the test of time before and after you all are gone and finished??? I’ll give you a hint. HARD WORK, DEDICATION, DESIRE, LOVE FOR WHAT YOU DO, PRIDE AND KNOW HOW!!!!!!!

    Tony,i’ll tell you a little bed time story. Back int the late seventies, Tomas Santamaria was employed by the sporting commission of victoria to develop the sport. He tried to spread himself around to all clubs, but guess what? NO ONE WAS ITNERESTED. So, Tomas was approached by a man named Mr Fricson and asked if Tomas would help the Heidelberg club. This is where everybody’s undying nightmare started. Within a year, the club was unstoppable. Mr Fricson offered to pay Tomas but Tomas laughed it off and said ” You can’t afford to pay for what i’m going to do for this club” Inevitably, People, Like yourself, complained about Tomas’s involvement in the club. FUNNY THAT! Anyway, tony, they held a meeting and came up with the conclusion, that Tomas will not coach heidelberg anymore just so babies like you will stop crying! But Tomas said {“for the record, No one on the face of this earth can tell what to do in my own spare time0” The funny thing is, tony, when Tomas offered his help, no one was interested.
    So the moral of the story is, tony, No matter how much you cry, or be paranoid, you cannott stop Steve Conroy, Bubs, or whoever the hell else you are paranoid about, stop supporting the club. Although, to ease your small mind, these people are proffessionals, and they have the capability to be honest in what they do, be legitimate about it, and stay above board.
    Maybe it’s something you might learn from these people.

    What are you people so afraid of?? We all have two arms and two legs. Although some of us choose to get off our behinds and try to create and achieve rather than sit and point fingers.
    Bubs has done so much for vvi in the last year than i care to mention. When bubs brought sponsorship to vvi, no one said squat. We all sat back and happily used it.

    Tony, you should be embarrassed how you attack heidelberg club. You’re shameless. Or for that matter any other club you might choose to bad mouth in your idle times. Are you prepared to put your own time in for the good of the sport??? Who would you rather be there? any ideas, tony? What exactly do you do to help the sport??? I THOUGHT SO!!! THEN SHUT THE HELL UP!! Sorry Devo.

    Michael you naugthy boy!!! Don’t scare tony like that! He might actually believe it.(but are we?!! are we really going to take over the world??!! I’m so excited)BWAHAHAHAHAHAH


  16. darkhorse said

    Good on ya Bubs. If only Tony saw how smart you serve on the volleyball court, he might actually believe in how smartly and fairly you will serve vvi.

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