The winner of the 2015 NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Award in the not-for-profit sector Lucy Perryinformed her followers on Facebook on Friday that she had been forced to step down as CEO of the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia foundation.
Perry was appointed by Australian obstetrician Dr Catherine Hamlin in 2012 in order to create the new charitable entity to raise funds for a network of hospitals and a midwifery school in Ethiopia. As CEO, Perry has supported Dr Hamlin’s legacy – ultimately to help marginalised women who’ve suffered from terrible childbirth injuries.
“This was the turning point for me,” Perry told Women’s Agenda on being appointed to the role. “She and my board of directors gave me complete creative control to take bold steps with some clever, downright cheeky campaigns to raise BIG money. Dr Hamlin’s legacy is safe and she is super duper happy about that!”
In her bid to ‘save the world one vagina at a time’, Perry, has raised more than $7 million for the organisation, running a small passionate team fund raising and building the profile of the work they do. It is unclear why the board no longer want Perry to continue doing this.
The Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia published the following comment on its website yesterday:
At Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) we have entered the next phase of growth and consolidation to support Dr Hamlin, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and the life-changing work they do.
Having successfully completed a 3 year strategy to build engagement through social media and new initiatives, Lucy Perry has now left Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) and the Board thanks her for her contribution to the success of this strategy in growing supporters and funds for Dr Hamlin and the work in Ethiopia.
In entering the next phase Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) will require leadership with a proven track record of long-term consolidation and collaboration. While the Board conducts a search for an outstanding experienced NFP leader, Helen Connealy has been appointed interim CEO to work alongside the highly capable and dedicated Hamlin team.
We thank you for all your support as we continue to raise funds for this vital work and look forward to keeping you updated over the forthcoming months.
The foundation declined to comment further when approached. When asked about an explanation for the decision, one board member directed Women’s Agenda to contact the PR firm who directed us back to the statement.
Women’s Agenda spoke to Lucy today, who confirmed the decision was not mutual. She is “devastated that she is no longer leading the charge to fund Dr Hamlin’s work in Ethiopia”. We have sought comment from Dr Hamlin who we understand is unhappy but unable to reinstate Perry.
If the Board had been open to questions these would be mine:
Were any performance issues ever raised with the CEO?
Did the board approve the CEO’s KPIs in October 2014?
Why would a CEO who raised $7 million for a small not-for-profit in 3 years have her contract terminated without notice?
Was Dr Hamlin involved in the decision making process? If so, what was her position? If not, why?
Is it true that volunteers have resigned from the foundation because of this decision?