In January, UFV’s Student Union Society (SUS) hired Mark Wellington as their new executive director (ED). The ED position is responsible for overseeing the services wing of SUS operation and its personnel, and is directly responsible for oversight of the finance department, food and beverage and IT services, and the communications department — the ED essentially oversees everything that the elected executives don’t.
The Student Union has been without an ED for nearly a year. In the summer the SUS board of directors passed a motion to have the SUS president assume the role and responsibilities of the ED position until a hire could be made. SUS board members cannot discuss the conditions around the previous ED Meghan McDonald’s departure because of a confidentiality agreement.
Currently, the ED reports to both the board of governors and the SUS executives, but the relationship is subject to change under different governance. It is common for the ED to act as liaison to and with the executives while reporting to the board.
Wellington comes to UFV’s SUS highly experienced in work with student organizations. He most recently worked with UBC’s graduate student society (GSS) where he served as the general manager.
His influence at UBC’s GSS extended to revamping and reorganizing financial reports and budgets, as well as financial operational protocols. He was also involved with the implementation of the GSS active bystander program, a program that equips graduate students with skills to reduce sexual assault and cultural and gender harassment incidents. He also played a major part in making improvements to the student orientation program.
Before UBC’s GSS, Wellington was the senior manager of the student organizations and grant support services at the university’s student council of Western Ontario. He also holds a master of arts (MA), history / political science from the University of Western Ontario
“Mark matched our candidate profile. He has extensive senior management experience in operations, student affairs, and student government. Additionally, he has significant programming experience, which is an area that our Student Union Society is keen to develop and expand,” said SUS president Sukhi Brar.
Brar also said that it is rare to fill an ED position with someone who has expertise in student affairs, student government, and operations management. Typically only one of these three areas of work is engaged with previous experience.
“We’re also excited about Mark’s experience with developmental / transitional student programming,” she said.
One of the new initiatives that the Student Union is currently working on is to shift away from providing financial reports quarterly to providing them monthly. Wellington said in the July 31 SUS board meeting that this was one of his priority goals coming into SUS. The change will lead to the redesigning of budgets enabling more timely forecasts of profits and losses. The idea is to have a tighter leash on budget analysis and promote transparency. Mark’s experience in redesigning financial budgets is a very important asset.
“I’m stoked about him because he represents huge capacity building for us,” said Brar.