GetUp shakes up with a new leadership

A bit delayed to post this, but here’s from the inbox. GetUp National Director Simon Sheikh has stepped down while introducing incoming National Director, Sam McLean.

Simon Sheikh (right) with incoming National Director, Sam McLean (left).

Dear friends,

I wanted to let you know that I have decided the time is right to step down as National Director. Of course, GetUp will continue its work, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

When I first took on this role in September 2008, many were still wondering whether this movement of ordinary people could continue to make a difference, or whether it would invariably prove a momentary trend; a flash in the political landscape.

Over the years you have proven that this movement of everyday Australians has the capacity to take on and win tough fights and strengthen democracy in the process.

GetUp is driven by its members. Over and over again we’ve demonstrated unequivocally that all of us working together can change things for the better. It has been an honour to stand alongside you over these last four years.

While we celebrate what we have won we should remember what we’re still campaigning for: a nation that better reflects the generosity of spirit, innate sense of fairness, strong community pride and ever-ready humour of its people. A nation that does not shrink back and buy into fear or division. A nation unafraid to aim higher and to understand its place in the world.

Expressing our belief in these ideals by collectively organising will be even more crucial as we approach the next election, a time when our movement can demonstrate its creativity and passion and make a huge impact along the way.

I’ll forever remember walking out of the High Court with two GetUp plaintiffs in a victory that gave over 150,000 Australians the opportunity to vote; standing alongside GetUp members in the Senate gallery the moment the clean energy bills passed; or the night I learned, in a budget lock-down inside the bowels of the Commonwealth Treasury, that, along with our partner organisations, we had won a massive increase in mental health funding. These moments are your victories: they would not have happened without your passion, actions, contributions and presence at every step. And they are just a taste of what this movement can achieve into the future.

Thank you.

It is my great honour to formally introduce to you GetUp’s new National Director, Sam McLean. Sam walked through GetUp’s doors as a volunteer over five years ago, and long-time members will remember the very first initiative he led: ‘Oz in 30 seconds,’ the ground-breaking competition that gave ordinary Australians the chance to create and air their own political ads during the 2007 federal election. Sam is a person of rare talent, energy and proven commitment to GetUp members and all that we fight for. You will have seen many emails from him, especially in his time as GetUp’s Deputy National Director over the last two years. His commitment to serving GetUp’s membership makes my decision to leave much easier.

I’ve suspected for a while now that it’s time in my own life for a change of pace. So while I’m fortunate to be back in good health, my next plan is to pack up the car and head out to see more of this remarkable country with my wife Anna, who has offered me so much support during my time at GetUp. After all, there are plenty of extraordinary places our movement has worked hard to protect. Now I’m personally keen to spend some time enjoying them!

GetUp is not, and never will be, the achievement of its small group of staff. It is the alchemy of many people becoming more than the sum of its parts: people united by common values, committed not just to reading the news, but to changing it.

I’m not going anywhere just yet; I’ll stick around for a while to ensure a smooth transition. But I wanted to make sure you heard this news from me first. And I wanted to take this chance to pay tribute to you – to thank you for all that you are, and all that you do 

Here’s to tomorrow, Simon

P.S. Over the last few years I have been supported by a huge number of volunteers, interns and staff. I wanted to particularly thank our current talented team who continue to drive so much of our work: Sam, Darren, Erin, Paul, Rosie, Rohan, Kieran, Kelsey, Justine, Simon DW, Jarra, Sara, Richard, James, Adri and Jess.

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