Today, The Pinnacle Foundation Chair Paul Zahra announced the appointment of Janine Middleton as the organisation’s first full-time Chief Executive Officer following a national search.
Mrs Middleton, currently CEO and co-Chair at Australian Marriage Equality, will commence her role at Pinnacle from 3 July 2017. Sean Linkson, CEO of Pinnacle and one of its founders, will continue in his role until this date after which time he will remain on the Board as a non-executive director.
The Pinnacle Foundation empowers disadvantaged young LGBT+ Australians to achieve their full potential and transform society for the better by providing scholarships and mentoring support to students who need help achieving their educational goals.
Mr Zahra said Mrs Middleton’s experience at the highest levels of business and not-for-profit organisations would underpin Pinnacle’s vision to offer even more annual scholarships through an increased endowment fund.
“The appointment of someone of Janine Middleton’s calibre as The Pinnacle Foundation’s first full-time CEO is a major milestone as we look to take our vision and our impact to the next level,” said Mr Zahra.
“Janine is a strong leader with a stellar track record in both the corporate and not-for-profit arenas. We look forward to Janine bringing that passion and drive to Pinnacle.”
Mrs Middleton began her career in corporate and investment banking, with over 30 years’ experience including as Managing Director of Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan in London.
Recognised in the ‘Top 100 Women of Influence’ awards for her work in not-for-profit organisations, Mrs Middleton’s experience in this field includes directorships at Outcomes Australia and Australian Marriage Equality.
A passionate advocate of LGBT+ rights and well known for her work on social justice issues, Mrs Middleton said the growth of Pinnacle to reach an endowment fund of $2 million by 2020 and offer even more scholarships was her top priority.
“I’m excited to be joining Pinnacle at this pivotal point in its growth,” said Mrs Middleton. “I also look forward to continuing the momentum we have in Australia towards achieving marriage equality through my ongoing role as co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality.
“There are so many talented young LGBT+ students across Australia who will only ever reach their full potential with the kind of financial and mentoring support that Pinnacle provides. I am honoured to lead our effort to offer even more scholarships across Australia in coming years.”
Founded in 2009 and funded entirely by the generosity of individual donors and corporate partners, over the past seven years Pinnacle has provided more than $400,000 in grants to inspiring LGBT+ scholars in Australia who need support to overcome the obstacles they face.
Mr Zahra thanked Mr Linkson for his service as Pinnacle’s founding CEO, over which time the foundation grew from two annual scholarships in 2010 to 29 in 2017.
“Sean was a visionary in setting up the Foundation in 2009, and the legacy that he has created will continue in this exciting new chapter of Pinnacle’s growth,” said Mr Zahra.
“I want to thank Sean on behalf of the Pinnacle Board, all our donors and supporters, but most importantly the incredible Pinnacle scholars. We are very pleased Sean will continue to bring his expertise and passion to Pinnacle as a non-executive director.”
Mr Linkson said, “From small beginnings, Pinnacle has continued to grow and evolve to now be a national charity providing opportunity and support to increasing numbers of amazing young Australians. It has been a privilege to be part of that growth and work with the most extraordinary group of volunteers.
“The appointment of Janine as full-time CEO is an exciting next step in our evolution, and I look forward to working closely with her and all the Pinnacle team in my ongoing role as a director on the Board.”
An external advertised search for the CEO appointment was conducted by executive search firm SHK to draw the widest possible field of suitably qualified candidates. Candidates were assessed against key selection criteria and evaluated by the Pinnacle Board.