Freehills and Company B – ABAF award winners at last!

Congratulations to my former colleagues Annette Bain and Tess Russo of law firm Freehills, and the team at Company B at Belvoir Street Theatre, for winning an Australia Business Arts Foundation (ABAF) Award this week for their community partnership. A beaming Tess is pictured here. I look on with no small degree of pride because it was during my tenure at Freehills (in the days prior to the community program’s formalisation as the Freehills Foundation) that Company B first approached us and we began the conversation that turned into the relationship that turned into an enduring and mutually beneficial partnership. Law firms tend to get antsy about the term “partnership” in this context, but there are few alternatives to describe the necessary interdependence of the most successful relationships between a corporation and a not-for-profit organisation. Power dynamics and egos often bruise the nurturing that’s critical for these types of partnerships to flourish over a period of years. I should also note the importance of Carmen Prince, then Development Manager at Company B, to establishing the relationship with Freehills. I’m so thrilled.

PS Look out for a glamour-shot of Annette on page 42 of the inaugural BRW magazine issue on private companies, representing Freehills as joint winner of the Excellence in Community Practices Award (with PriceWaterhouseCoopers). Go girl!

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