ADA welcomes new CEO, Damian Mitsch

17 January 2017

After 14 years working in professional membership organisations including the Australian Physiotherapy Association and most recently as Chief Executive of the Australian Podiatry Council, Damian Mitsch is the leader that will see the ADA through its next chapter, and he has some big ideas. 

 “I’m grateful to Robert (Boyd-Boland) for establishing such a high-performing team and laying the groundwork for the future, and now I want the ADA to take the next step in becoming one of the greatest membership organisations in the country. An organisation that brings together members, branches and staff to create something great. To innovate. To inspire. To influence.”

Being on the Board of the Australian Society of Association Executives, Damian knows better than most that it’s a hard road and patience is a necessary virtue. “I’m big on listening and learning about what makes an organisation tick when I first get into a role”, Damian muses about his first weeks on the job. “To really affect change, you have to understand the detail of the environment in which you’re operating, and for me this is a steep learning curve.”

That being said, he’s no stranger to the core challenges facing the dental profession - “Coming from physio and podiatry means I’m already across how private health insurers are influencing health professionals, the impact of corporatisation and the commoditisation of health services, and the attitude of government and their amazing ability to avoid proper funding for long-term health outcomes” he says.

Originally from Melbourne, Damian has amassed an eclectic range of experience throughout his career; from aged care and disability to IT and company directorships.  A mere glance at his LinkedIn profile paints a clear picture of the skill set he brings to the table which no doubt will prove invaluable to the ADA – strategic planning, corporate governance, policy, leadership, and change management, to name a few.

When considering how his skills and experience translate into his leadership style, Damian explains, “Running your own business gives you a genuine sense of accountability and focus, and an understanding that you need to keep innovating. Twenty-plus years in health associations (including as a member) stresses the importance of really listening to members and delivering value, as well as a keen sense of the real issues and access to a wide and varied network. Time on boards of directors, both large and small, give you an understanding of what it means to govern.” 

He has a strong vision, the credentials to back it up, and a “don’t hold back” attitude, so the question becomes –who is Damian Mitsch? 

A husband to Sara and father to Cordelia, Damian is a self-made man who doesn’t mind a bit of hard rock and heavy metal (despite having to shut it down to make way for Taylor Swift and appease the ladies in his life). He has recently upped stumps from Melbourne to Sydney, to the shock of property prices, traffic, and a little less rain than he’s used to.

He has a passion for business and health organisations, but relishes time with family and friends around a dinner table, and when time and water temperature permits, the odd scuba diving trip.

When asked if he had any final words for this article, Damian simply replied, “it’s time to turn the page”.