Rolik steps down from Mardi Gras
Michael Rolik will step down as CEO of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) after almost three years in the position, with his tenure coinciding with the aftermath of the controversial decision to split the Parade and Party as well the ignominy over last year’s decision to drop the words ‘Gay & Lesbian’ from the Parade title.
SGLMG announced Rolik would leave on August 17, with the board crediting the outgoing CEO for initiating a long term strategy to help build a sustainable Mardi Gras festival and increase event production standards.
“It goes without saying that I am sad to see Michael go and feel his talents will be a loss for the organisation,” SGLMG chair Pete Urmson said.
“His commitment to not only SGLMG but also to the wider community has been unparalleled within and outside of our organisation.”
Rolik said it was a privilege to have been at the helm of the organisation but thought the time was right to seek a fresh challenge.
“Over any program of change there are ups and downs, but on the whole what I’ve enjoyed most is working alongside a great team of diverse and talented people who get involved and get on with the job, to make a positive difference,” Rolik said.
“I am most proud of lifting the artistic and production standards of the Parade and Party, and the work done to create a fairer, more inclusive culture of achievement for our most valuable asset, our volunteers and staff.”
SGMLG's board has indicated it hopes to name Rolik's replacement by July.
Rolik was elected into the position in late 2009 soon after a decision by New Mardi Gras (as it was then known) to hold the Mardi Gras Parade and Party on two separate weekends riled up large sections of the community as well as members who said little consultation had been undertaken.
Similar scenes have been repeated over the past six months following an announcement in late November 2011 that the Parade would be branded simply as the Sydney Mardi Gras without the moniker ‘Gay & Lesbian’.
At a community meeting held in Redfern last month SGLMG board members admitted the manner in which the name change was handled was a “stuff-up”.
Speaking to SX soon after he first took on the position, Rolik said he would like to be remembered for being a forward-looking leader.
“When all is said and done, I’d like to get to a point where people don’t actually look backwards,” he said at the time.
“They’ll look forward to what Mardi Gras and the community can work on together, and the future possibilities. That requires us to serve our community together, to fulfil our mission and to stick with that.”
SGLMG currently has over 1,500 volunteers and over 2,800 members. Figures suggest Mardi Gras generates over $30 million annually for NSW and attracts over 20,000 visitors to the state although SGLMG posted losses in both 2010 and 2011.