(Picture Back Left Staff – Toomata Walterlee Imo, Tusitina Nu’uvali, Richard Liu
Front Left – Tui Hicks, Fagaote Lealaiauloto, Leta’a Dan Devoe, Pepe Fia’ailetoa Christian Fruean, Elizabeth Ah Poe.)
Sound governance and sustained hard work by the executive committee, staff and volunteers was the reason behind the boost in Athlete participation numbers and fiscal strength during Special Olympic Samoa’s 2013/14 Annual General Meeting held this week.
The not for profit organisation that provides inclusive sporting and leadership opportunities for Athletes with intellectual disabilities has only been operating since 2009. Since formalising with less than 50 Athletes the organisation has since revolutionized Samoa’s sporting scene, leading the way for all abilities sports bodies to provide inclusive programs for its 400 registered athletes.
The meeting saw a shift in organisational structure from a large hands on Board to a smaller governance focused Board responsible for guiding the staff now managing day to day operations. Changing with the times the members voted to amended the constitution electing only 8 members in place of the previous 17. Votes for the election were submitted by members present including parents, staff, volunteers and sponsors.
Chairman Leta’a Dan Devoe was reelected to lead the Board after outlining the impressive achievements of the organisation over the past twelve months. Events he reflected on included the 2013 Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle Australia, the Global Youth Conference in New Caledonia, the FIFA & Special Olympic Pacific Partnership, the Nation Games and the National Torch Run. Leta’a also presented the financial review which saw a 200% increase in value in kind and financial support from the Samoan community and donors compared to the previous year.
Leta’a went on to deliver a heartfelt appreciation of the Samoan Government, donors, supporters, business community, fans, families and volunteers saying “Without your support we would not be where we are today and I would to thank our long time sponsors Digicel who have been with us since the beginning.”
Joining Leta’a in being reelected to the board included CEO of Digicel Pepe Fia’ailetoa Christian Fruean who spoke passionately about the positive changes that had been achieved over the past 12 months “The Athletes are the reason we are all here together working to make change and I commend the work of CEO Tusitina Nu’uvali and her team of staff members and volunteers who have moved mountains with limited resources to provide world class programs for our athletes.”
Joining Leta’a and Pepe on the Board is six other members including, Treasurer Tuitama Nia Vaifale, Secretary Elizabeth Ah Poe, Athlete Representative Saleilua Matautia, Parent Representative Fagaote Lealaiauloto, Medical Director Dr. Tanya Pataia, Promotions & Marketing Tui Hicks. Together these members will be charged with the challenge of setting the strategic direction for the organisation through the 2015 World Games and beyond.
As the number of board members was reduced a number of long serving members did not continue on as part of the board and it was with positive sentiment that CEO Tusitina Nu’uvali thanked them for their support say “This is the celebration of a new era of the organisaton and we do not farewell our members we welcome them to support us in our new beginning going forward together as one united movement.