Introducing Anina Findling: Senior Office Administrator for the SCEA Office

Finding a short-term replacement for Anna Guy in the SCEA Office was never going to be easy.

Anna is known as the person who keeps the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Graeme Cross, on time for every meeting and ensures that high standards of cleanliness are maintained in the Padbury Terrace buildings – despite the crumbs and dirty dishes so often left strewn across the kitchen benches by the ICT and Marketing staff!

The looming long-service leave of Anna Guy meant that only the most long-suffering of staffers would be able to fulfil the many roles that Anna has been undertaking for many, many years at SCEA.

Enter Anina Findling, who could easily be mistaken for a CEO rather than the assistant to the CEO!

With a CV that reads like an encyclopaedia of corporate management roles and more postgraduate qualifications than LinkedIn can accommodate, Anina has epitomised the notion of a ‘servant leader’ by stepping into this short-term position at the SCEA Office.

“I love the mission and purpose of SCEA, and I’m always happy to try to add value to the people around me wherever I can,” said Anina this week.

The first thing that you will notice about Anina is her accent.

“I was born in Germany and raised in Canada. So I sound Canadian but I have a German mindset. I love structure and efficiency.”

Anina worked at Commonwealth Bank Australia for more than ten years, being promoted at each level before moving to the not-for-profit (NFP) sector with Baptist Financial Services after gaining board experience and postgraduate training at the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

“I’m always interested in growth and development, both for myself personally and the Organisations I work for. That’s my passion. But I am also committed to supporting increased governance, particularly in the NFP sector, where organisations are typically missionally-focused but often lacking the skills and   operational structures facilitate optimal growth and effectiveness.”

After seven years with the Baptists and travelling up and down Western Australia to assist churches and charities with their lending needs, Anina moved her focus to education, serving on the Kennedy/Mandurah Baptist College Board for seven years. During this time she learnt much about the sector including the regulations around educational institutions. Her various management and NFP Board roles then prepared her for her most recent leadership position as the Chief Executive Officer of The Esther Foundation.

“The Esther Foundation is often referred to as ‘the Shalom House for women’, however we really made education, holistic therapies and empowerment our focus rather than the work-based rehabilitation structure that Shalom uses. The organisation itself receivesfunds from different sources including Government grants, so there was a lot of work required to professionalise the Organisation and utilise every resource for the advancement of the missional purpose of The Esther Foundation.”

After two productive years there, Anina took a break during 2021 to ‘recharge the batteries’ after long stints in her leadership roles across Western Australia.

“Leadership can be very heavy at times, so the last six months of sabbatical have been a valuable time of rest, spiritual renewal and further professional development. This three-month opportunity at SCEA really appealed to me because I think Christian education offers something very important to the world in this post-Christian age. To have non-Christian parents wanting to have their children educated in an unashamedly Christian environment is something very special.”

Anina has now been at the SCEA Office for a few weeks, and the ICT and Marketing staff have not been brave enough to leave out the dirty dishes on the kitchen bench yet. How long will this honeymoon last?

“I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen from SCEA so far,” says Anina,” from the online onboarding process to the way that people interact – it’s been a great start, and it seems to be a very healthy culture here.”

Keep up the good work, team!

Eleven more weeks of putting our dishes away and wiping down the benches after morning tea — not that anyone’s counting…

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