NEW Mildura Working Man’s Club CEO, Jill Fleming, PICTURED, has listed ongoing support and training for staff, a growing membership base and increasing the club’s community involvement as her immediate, short-term goals.

Mrs Fleming, who was recently appointed to the club’s top position following the retirement of long-serving Workers’ CEO John Harlock, said that ensuring the club remained financially viable was also a top priority.

“The club’s a great institution in Mildura, and we want to keep it that way,” she said.

“It needs to remain financially viable for that to happen, and that needs to involve our members and the community as a whole – as we say, ‘It’s your club, but our community.’”

Mrs Fleming, who has been a Club employee for the past 25 years, said that she had been encouraged by Mr Harlock, a mentor of 15 years, to apply for the CEO’s position.

“Having been an employee at the club for the past 25 years, I’ve worked my way up from being a general hospitality staff member to over the years being given the opportunity and knowledge to expand my skills,” she said.

“I’ve spent the past 10 years as operations manager. It’s been great and I’ve had lots of learning opportunities along the way, and that’s given me the confidence to do what I’m doing now.

“When the (CEO) position arose I thought it was time to give it a go.

“John has been a huge influence on my career. He’s been a great mentor, and he has provided me with those opportunities and learning along the way to give me confidence, and build me up to take on this role.”

Mrs Fleming’s appointment as the Club’s new CEO has also created history – she is the first woman to hold the top position in the club’s 100-plus year history.

The Club Board undertook an extensive recruitment process in conjunction with Community Clubs Victoria (CCV) in a national campaign to seek out appropriate candidates, with more than 30 applicants from across Australia presenting their case.

The selection panel included Club board members and representatives of CCV.

“It certainly wasn’t my intention to cause a stir (by becoming the first female CEO at the club),” Mrs Fleming said.

“And it didn’t enter my head going into the process that this was going to be an outcome and be such a talking point.

“I’ve had a lot of people congratulate me and make comment on me being the first female CEO, but it didn’t form part of my goals when applying for the role.”

Club president, Daniel Cawood, described Mrs Fleming’s appointment as “well deserved.”

“With more than 25 years experience in the club and hospitality industry, Jill has put together an impressive resume that made her the ideal candidate to fill this important role for the Workers,” he said.

“Having recently served as interim CEO, Jill has immense understanding of our operations and has great rapport with our 65 employees and 12,500 members.

“Her knowledge and ambition, along with her ability to communicate with other stakeholders and the board, has been recognised, and the club is truly in safe hands under her leadership.

“To have someone of her ilk leading the way is very reassuring for both the board and the club’s members.”