Scholar Profile - David Jones PDF Print E-mail
David Jones


Non-executive Director at Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western Australia

Awarded a BankWest Foundation / Governance Institute scholarship for a Certificate in Governance and Risk Management, October 2014

What sort of work does your organisation do?

The MS Society of WA is one of the State's largest not-for-profit organisations.  The Society provides health services, advocacy, support, care and accommodation for those living with MS and other neurological diseases in WA.  These services include nursing, counselling, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and are delivered to individuals with a diverse range of needs and backgrounds.  Our accommodation includes full-time high support care, medium care accommodation and respite accommodation.  Our services are delivered at a dozen locations throughout the metropolitan and regional areas.  In addition, MSWA coordinates and provides funding for over $1.5m of medical research, annually.

Describe a typical day's work.

My work for MSWA involves directorial oversight of the Society's operations, strategies, policies and risks. Typically, I sit in board and committee meetings to review a broad range of matters including issues of marketing, government relations, budgets, research funding allocation and member services.  Much of my work involves issues of corporate governance and risk management.  I'll also put time aside to speak at newly diagnosed seminars, and to members of the general public at fundraising events.

What were some of the key learnings from the Certificate in Governance and Risk Management program?

The course was invaluable in equipping participants with the skills to identify and manage risks in their organisations.  I was impressed with the course's emphasis on risk management strategies and frameworks and how these could be integrated with general governance principles to develop a culturally 'risk mature' organisation.  I highly recommend the course to all not-for-profit directors.

How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?

The course has significantly changed my awareness of risk management principles and I have sought to incorporate these principles into my governance practices.  I have reviewed several of the Society's key policies from a risk management perspective, and the Risk and Audit committee has generally become more mindful of industry-best practices particularly with reference to risk management frameworks. The course has certainly made me more conscious of operational risks, and our executive has encouraged the growth of a risk management culture across the organisation.

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

I was interested in both neurological research and NFP work when I was a science student at university.  Years later, a colleague in the legal profession mentioned the good work being done by the MS Society. Two close friends had recently been diagnosed with MS, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to support an iconic organisation.

As soon as I sat in my first board meeting, I knew it would be a great learning experience.  My NFP involvement has now grown to include directorships in the other sectors.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

Strong partnerships between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.  I see a great opportunity not only for funding partnerships, but also mentoring opportunities between NFP directors and FP directors.  NFP's operate in an increasingly competitive sector.  Through appropriate partnerships, NFP directors can gain a better understanding of governance principles and corporate commerciality, while at the same time allowing FP directors to volunteer their expertise to community organisations.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?

I'm an opera singer!  I've sung with WA Opera for a decade and also work as a non-executive director of Lost and Found Opera Inc, which presents 'lost operas in found spaces'.

Click here to read about other ASF scholars.

"I was impressed with the course's emphasis on risk management strategies and frameworks, and how these could be integrated with general governance principles to develop a culturally 'risk mature' organisation."


David Jones is a not-for-profit director, disability advocate and corporate commercial lawyer. David is passionate about raising awareness of those living with disability in our community. For the past five years David has served as a non-executive director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Western Australia, one of the State's most prominent and successful NFPs. David also sits on several committees of MSWA, and is actively involved in strategic oversight, policy formulation and corporate governance.

Late 2014, ASF awarded David a scholarship to attend Governance Institute’s Certificate in Governance and Risk Management.


Annual revenue / size:

Extra Large - more than $25m pa

Segment of NFP sector:

Health and Disability

Operating in:

WA, state-wide