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Q&A with RCSA’s Robin Shepherd

RCSA’s Head of Operations & Member Services, Robin Shepherd shares her passion for connecting communities and the exciting new initiatives RCSA is leading that will provide further leadership and vision for the industry.

“Ultimately, membership is about being part of a community and supporting those communities to thrive is an amazing feeling."

Tell us about your life and career before you came to RCSA? How long have you worked with the organisation and what did you do before that?

I started working with RCSA in 2017 as Operations Manager and, over time, my role has grown to Head of Operations & Member Services.

Before joining RCSA, I had ten years’ experience working with a variety of membership associations and community services organisations. I fell into a role in a membership body in 2007, and have loved it ever since.

There is something really special about associations. Every one of them is different, but they all have similar needs and issues.

Ultimately, membership is about being part of a community and supporting those communities to thrive is an amazing feeling.

I love working full time, but I also have four children, so you can imagine that life gets pretty hectic at times. I also try to fit in some volunteering for our primary school Council and ad hoc for my children’s sports clubs.

Can you tell us about your role in the RCSA team and what you love about it?

As Head of Operations & Member Services, my role encompasses a little bit of everything actually. It is an interesting, challenging and diverse role.

My main priorities are the internal operations of RCSA – making sure our IT, facilities and HR are streamlined and professional, and that the delivery of our member benefits and services are of the highest quality and easy to access.

I support the CEO to deliver our strategy, provide executive support to the Board, oversee governance, and serve as Professional Conduct Registrar monitoring our Code, grievance processes, and certification schemes.

I am responsible for supporting the broader team in project management and making sure that all RCSA activities and priorities can be delivered operationally.

Like all associations, we deliver a huge range of services and activities on behalf of our members with limited budget and resourcing. This diversity, and the diversity of the recruitment and staffing industry itself, make this role incredibly fascinating.

No two days are alike, there is always something new to learn, and there are always new challenges to keep us on our toes.

How do members’ experience and engagement affect the day to day operations of RCSA?

I love RCSA and the industry as it is so innovative and progressive.

RCSA puts members first and is always striving to deliver the best member experience possible. It’s a pleasure to work somewhere where change and innovation is encouraged, and that being agile to new solutions is essential.

We aim for the stars, and while budget and resourcing sometimes mean we can’t do everything, our prioritisation is easy when considered through the lens of our strategic DNA “member-centricity”.

The whole team go above and beyond constantly to deliver the most for our members, and every single staff member contributes to that.

I’ve never worked anywhere with such a fun and positive culture, which makes it a pleasure to go to work.

You have a wealth of experience working in consulting firms that specialise in member associations, what were your biggest takeaways from these roles?

Prior to RCSA, I worked for an association management company providing out-sourced support to association clients across membership, finances, governance, events and projects.

This was really interesting as I got to see the “back end” of a large number of very diverse association clients.

For those that aren’t aware, there is literally an association for everything! Some of them very unique, some of them more well known.

I loved being able to provide professional support and guidance, often to associations that had previously been run by volunteers or a single staff member.

Working with a variety of volunteer Boards was very enlightening, and as I mentioned, the issues and challenges are similar even though the professions and industries vary so much.

What do you see in terms of change and growth for RCSA members and the industry in 2021?

I am greatly looking forward to delivering our new 2023 Strategy for RCSA.

Unfortunately, Covid last year derailed our plans a bit (that’s an understatement!), but now that things are becoming more regular, we can get back on track with some really exciting new initiatives and projects to provide further leadership and vision for the industry, build our community of proud member advocates, optimise our commerciality, expand our community reach and relevance, and grow the NextGen of recruitment professionals.

We have come a long way from the organisation I joined in 2017 and seeing our Strategic Priorities all focused on members and the broader industry is recognition of the incredible hard work that went into the previous Strategy which was more focused on building our internal operational systems for service and sustainability.

We still focus on continuous improvement in our business systems and efficiency, but it is fantastic to be in a position to focus on some really big picture projects for the good of our members and the future of the industry.

If you would like to get in touch with Robin, please email her at

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