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ARI NSW announces leadership change with Marco Blanco named new Chair

ARI NSW announces leadership change with Marco Blanco named new Chair
May 19, 2023

The Aquatic and Recreation Institute (ARI) NSW has announced that Matt Griffiths will be stepping down from his role as Chairperson, making way for the incoming Chair, Marco Blanco.

Enjoying a long and successful tenure with ARI, Griffiths first joined the organisation as a Committee Member, then served as a Director until 2020, then returning to the Board in 2021.

During his time as Chairperson, Griffiths worked tirelessly with the Board, the ARI Advocacy Committee led by Blanco, and ARI's partners to champion the aquatics and recreation industry and its vital role as the heart of communities across NSW.

In 2022, ARI relaunched core member offerings with a refreshed Annual Conference and Annual Awards of Excellence, with the latter taking on a new standalone format that was well received by members.

ARI will once again host its Annual Conference as of next week (on 22nd and 23rd May) at the Fairmont Resort in the Blue Mountains.

Reflecting on the accomplishments during his time as Chair, Griffiths noted "ARI weathered the storm of COVID and has emerged more self-aware of its role in the aquatics and recreation industry than ever before.

“I am extremely proud of what I have achieved in my time with ARI as the organisation has re-established a firm foundation from which it can build an expanded offering to support its members."

Expressed confidence in his successor, Griffiths added "I now pass the reins to Marco Blanco as the incoming Chair to lead the ARI Board. Marco has worked tirelessly on behalf of the sector in recent years, and ARI will thrive under his leadership. I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him all the best."

As the incoming Chair, Blanco expressed his excitement for the role, stating, "It is an absolute privilege and honour to take over as Chair.

“I thank my fellow board directors for entrusting me with the responsibility to lead ARI into the future. I would like to extend my deep gratitude to Matt Griffiths for his dedication, steadfast leadership, and enduring support. Additionally, I would like to thank Sally Farrow and Brooke Atkins, who both resign at the end of their terms, for their immense efforts and contributions."

Marco Blanco, the founder, principal lawyer and Chief Executive of Child Safeguard, joined the ARI Board in 2020 and has been actively involved in leading ARI's Advocacy, Governance, and Child Safety committees.

Notably, he represented the Aquatics and Recreation sector on the NSW Government's Covid taskforce, advocating for the successful reopening of the aquatics sector during lockdowns in NSW.

Conveying his optimism at ARI’s future, Balance advised "we look forward to the future with real enthusiasm. ARI has re-established itself as a more stable and sustainable organisation, well positioned to deliver fantastic opportunities and benefits to its members, and engage more effectively with government stakeholders.”

With ARI having also appointed a new Executive Officer, he stated “I am thrilled by the recent appointment of Natalie Brownstein as Executive Officer.

“It signifies an important milestone for ARI and Natalie’s addition will enhance and strengthen member engagement and connectedness.”

Highlighting the growing importance of the aquatic and recreation sector, Blanco he went on to say “as the cost-of-living crisis further impacts communities still recovering from the effects of COVID, the significance of our sector and its value to the community has never been greater.

“In addition, leading into the 2032 Olympic Games, the sector must be ready to seize the economic, social, and cultural opportunities that will arise. In this context, we will continue to champion our members who play a critical role in enabling people to lead active and healthy lifestyles.”

Click here for more information on the ARI 2023 Conference and Trade Show in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

Click here to contact ARI NSW.

Images: Marco Blanco, incoming Chair of the Aquatic and Recreation Institute NSW (op) and his predecessor Matt Griffiths (below).

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