Meet Our Members

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  • 28 May 2019 12:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What's your current role, and what does it involve?
    I’ve been the Chief Executive Officer at Rural City of Murray Bridge since June 2015, where I’m responsible for strategic planning, stakeholder management and communications, finance and asset management, human resources, governance and major projects. I’m also responsible to the Council to build a proactive organisational culture to deliver a “Proud, Safe and Progressive Murray Bridge”.

    What‘s your career background to date that has led to your current position?

    • Financial Management Professional since 1997 at the City of Port Phillip and the City of Yarra
    • General Manager responsible for Corporate Services at Adelaide City Council 2006-2013
    • General Manager Corporate Services at Rural City of Murray Bridge in 2013

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government?
    I’m passionate about implementing the strategies we have developed together, delivering the Vision, and making a difference for our Community.

    What benefits do you and your council get out of your membership with LG Professionals, SA?
    We value the opportunities to progress our professional networks and interact with local government peers across the state.

    We’re thrilled to have you as part of the program for our 2019 Economic Development Conference. How have you shaped your Council’s involvement in economic development and what does the future hold for Rural City of Murray Bridge?
    One of my key priorities upon commencing in the CEO role with the Rural City of Murray Bridge was to develop an Economic Development Strategy, which has guided our involvement in economic development activities over the past 4 years.

    The Strategy articulates our long-term objectives in Economic Development out to 2030

    What is the most exciting initiative that your Council is currently involved in? Any big projects on the horizon?
    Council has committed to a range of major projects to make our entrances more attractive. These projects have included the delivery of a Freeway Town Entrance Statement, roll out of new Town Entrance Signs, the implementation of the Adelaide Road Linear Park Concepts and progression of the Swanport Road Masterplan.

    Finally – what do you enjoy outside of work? How do you spend your leisure time?
    My key commitment to out of work time is a personal training session each week and volunteering in my local community.

  • 27 Feb 2019 5:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we spoke to Naomi Molloy, Improvement Specialist at the City of Playford to learn more about her, what she does and what she has planned for 2019.

    What is your current role at the City of Playford and what does it involve?

    I’m currently on secondment as an Improvement Specialist. My role involves working with different stakeholders across the business to review, design and improve systems and processes in consideration of expectations, desired outcomes and the customer experience. The role has allowed me to expand my knowledge of the intricacies of Council business and has given me valuable insight into how other departments and teams operate. It’s also allowed me to work with people in a variety of fields and has given me a greater appreciation for the value of our LG staff.

    How long have you worked in local government and what is your career background to date? 

    I’ve been in local government for 5 years now, all at the City of Playford. Prior to that I worked for a state government not-for-profit organisation and have worked for family businesses within the building industry as well. My background is in payroll, finance and human resources, which are surprisingly complementary!

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government? 

    Local government is an incredibly meaningful industry to be working in. We’re very fortunate to be able to deliver such great services to our communities and to see the benefit these services provide.

    Another thing I love about LG is that there is no competition between Councils so we have a unique opportunity to share knowledge, skills, resources and ideas between our networks. The benefits of this can ripple across the sector and I feel as though we’re heading towards a stage of greater collaboration that will see our communities thrive.

    You will be participating in the 2019 Emerging Leaders Program.  What are you most looking forward to about the program?

    I’ve been looking forward to this program for almost a year now! Unfortunately I first became aware of it when the registrations were full for last year so I’m very excited to have made it in to the 2019 course.

    I’m particularly interested in the organisational culture, sustainability, change and leadership modules and since I grew up in country NSW, I’m also keen to explore the insights from a rural perspective. I think it will also be great to go through the course with other local government employees in similar (or different) phases in their career as well.

    I really should have just said I’m looking forward to all of it!

    You are a new member of both the Continuous Improvement Network and Women’s Network - what important role do these networks play in facilitating learning and sharing of ideas across the sector? What prompted you to join these networks?

    I’ve attended events run from both of these networks and can honestly say that I’ve made some great connections and heard fascinating stories at these events. For me, joining the networks was really a no brainer after that!

    The CI network has been a valuable resource, allowing me to see how other Councils are running their CI programs, what improvement opportunities they’re working on and to share my own experiences and findings. The network has people with brilliant minds who have some great initiatives and programs happening in their respective Councils. The network provides the platform to facilitate easier sharing of these which can only lead to greater learnings across the sector.

    The Women’s network is such a powerful network to be a part of. I attended my first Women’s Conference last year and was incredibly inspired by the speakers who presented on the day and managed to catch a few of them for a one-on-one chat. I’m excited to see what the network drives and inspires in the future and for women in the sector to not only break through the glass ceiling, but to shatter it completely.

    What motivates you? What are you most passionate about in local government? 

    I like to challenge the norms while keeping sight of the bigger picture. I enjoy coming up with solutions that make it easier for people to perform their job or to provide another service over and above the status quo. I think that local government has started shifting to an innovation phase not only in how we operate externally, but our internal services as well and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few years have in store!

    One of the other things that motivates me is one of our greatest assets - our people. We have people who have been at Council for longer than I’ve been alive and some who started just last week. Across that spectrum there’s so much knowledge and varied experience on offer and I have a lot of respect for the amount of value our people provide.

    Finally – what do you enjoy outside of work?  How do you spend your leisure time? 

    I have two beautiful children (an adult teenager and a threenager!) and a husband who’s pretty good value too, so I actually quite like spending time with them! I enjoy going to the gym as well and I have come to admit that I love (but sometimes hate) running. I’ve branched more into trail running recently so will often spend early mornings and weekends clocking up some kilometres either on the road or on some of Adelaide’s finest peaks. Since life is all about balance I also like to wind down with friends and a glass of wine or two, or with a good tv show or movie and the comfort of my trackies.  


  • 30 Nov 2018 9:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we hear from Beth Davidson-Park, member and outgoing President of LG Professionals, SA, as she reflects on 2018.

    It has been a privilege and a pleasure (as well as a great deal of fun) to be President of this great organisation for the past year. I am delighted to continue to work alongside Nigel and the team as a member of the Board, and am confident that LG Professionals, SA will continue to go from strength to strength as the exciting and innovative program offerings of our upcoming Professional Development Program for January to June 2019 gain momentum alongside the long-term success of programs such as the Emerging Leaders Program, the Strategic Management Program (formerly the Professional Leaders Program) and the Management Challenge.

    I am especially proud of the work that Taryn, Kate and the team put in to launch our brand new Executive Leadership Program (XLP). This program is focussed on development opportunities for local government executives seeking to expand their minds to news ways of thinking, delivering and managing, as well as amplifying their leadership impact. With a complex and continuously evolving sector, it is now more than ever essential that local government is prepared for the future. New services, new skills, local and global impacts and the ever-changing digital landscape have fundamentally changed expectations of both the nature and delivery of services.

    During this year I was also very proud to represent our Board at the National Conference as well as welcoming record numbers of people attending our Annual State Conference 'Fast Forward: Navigating the Future’ and the Women’s Conference ‘Reaching your Full Potential’, as well as the Leadership Excellence Awards Gala Dinner and the Community Conference, which was held at SAMHRI—an apt venue for the innovative approaches our community teams across the state bring to our communities.

    Thank you from me to Taryn and the team for their energy, enthusiasm and support as well as congratulations on bringing innovation to all you do—I am in awe of your work!  


  • 30 Oct 2018 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we speak with Timothy Tol, who has just commenced the role of Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services at Renmark Paringa Council.

    Timothy speaks to us about his passion for working in local government, his career path and his views on professional development.

    You’ve worked in local government for a while now. What is your current role and what does it involve?

    Yes, I have been in Local Government for a while—almost 19 years now. I am currently between roles and will be starting at the Renmark Paringa Council on Monday 29 October as the Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services. This role involves providing leadership to these two portfolios, and I am looking forward to it.  

    What attracted you to the sector and what keeps you motivated?

    Actually when I was studying at university the last place I thought I’d be working is Local Government. I had that negative stereotypical view of Councils back then. However, it was at the end of 1999 when I landed an opportunity to do some work experience as a planner at Victor Harbor through Donna Ferretti, who was a lecturer at UniSA at the time. This led to working as a General Inspector over that summer that led to acting as their Principal Planner the following year. That was my start in Local Government and I soon realised, and continue to the motivated by, the opportunity that Local Government gives us to do great things with, and on behalf, of our communities—that is my main motivating factor. Now that I am in leadership roles I am also motivated to help others to fulfil their potential and grow. I am always inspired by the high quality of people that work in this sector and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to make a positive impression on other people’s careers. 

    Over the years you have attended a number of our programs, events and conferences. How has being involved with LG Professionals, SA benefited your career?

    One of the greatest things about attending LG Professionals events is the opportunity to meet and get to know our peers from across the sector. The knowledge that is shared and the friendships and contacts that we gain are invaluable. 

    What value do you place in investing in your own professional development, and what role has professional development played in your career so far?

    I place a high value in investing in my own professional development and I believe that we must all continue to learn and extend ourselves whenever possible. One of my most recent achievements was completing my MBA through the Australian Institute of Business in 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed that experience especially as it exposed me to concepts and ideas from many other sectors, not just Local Government. The most important thing about professional development is it provides the opportunity to continually improve and this then provides us a greater chance at success in serving our community and being successful in our respective roles. 

    You recently completed our Executive Leaders Program. How did you find this experience?

    The Executive Leadership Program was without doubt the most valuable, inspiring and thought provoking experience I have had with regard to professional development. It’s really created a bit of a paradigm shift in my head to be honest. 

    It was a privilege to be part of the inaugural program and I can’t thank Taryn and Kate from LG Professionals, SA and the facilitators Andrew Stevens, Diana Renner and Barry Bales enough for putting the program together. I’m also extremely thankful for the group we had—we were an eclectic bunch from many professions, city and country Councils, and we all had such a great time learning together. I have made some wonderful friends from the program and am so happy I had the opportunity to attend. 

    I thoroughly recommend to everyone in executive leadership roles to attend the next Executive Leaders Program. 

    Do you have any advice for local government professionals looking to work at the executive level in the future?

    My advice to others is simple, don’t be afraid to get out of the comfort zone and back yourself. 

    Finally, what keeps you busy outside of your work in local government?

    I have recently found an interest in gardening, in particular growing veggies, herbs, fruit and the like. In reality my partner is more the gardener, I am more the labourer, but I’m really loving growing some of my own food and it’s a great escape to be in the garden after a day at work.

    I also have a love for writing, which I am trying to devote more time to. I own a share in a race horse which keep me poor rather than busy. And I love being busy listening to music—I have an eclectic musical taste, but am a big fan of Aussie Hip Hop and been following it since almost before it was a thing. I still regularly attend gigs and am looking forward to the Elefant Traks 20th Anniversary shows coming up in November and December. 


  • 25 Sep 2018 11:40 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Deb Richardson, Director, Community Development at the City of Port Adelaide Enfield. 

    Deb speaks to us about her role, her advice for aspiring leaders, what motivates her - and why she values "getting involved"

    What's your current role - and what does it involve?

    I’m the Director Community Development at City of Port Adelaide Enfield.  I get to lead a great group of people to work with our community so PAE can be a place people can experience high wellbeing, have opportunity and generally be somewhere people love to be. 

    It’s easy (and at times relevant) to describe our work as functions such as Libraries, Development Services etc and it’s also important to not lose sight of what they all add up to, the things we’re all really here for. 

    Where were you before? (what‘s your career background to date?)

    Where haven't I been?  I've been doing a career tour of Local Government.  Prior to PAE I was at Adelaide Hills Council as Director Assets and Engineering, which was a step out of community development and recreation where I have spent most of my working life. 

    I started out in recreation and aquatic centres and over time moved into Community Development and then into wider leadership roles.

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government?

    Lots of stuff, especially things starting with “p”…people, public good and just quietly I do like a bit of politics.  I get paid to work as part of our community to help make PAE and our world  the best it can be.  

    I’m challenged, I learn,  I make mistakes, I laugh, I meet interesting people, I see the tangible benefit of our services,  I am part of our democracy and  I try and make a difference, that’s a lot to like.  There is stuff I don’t like too, but you didn’t ask me that and they don’t start with p, so that will mess with the vibe I’ve got goin’ here.     

    You recently attended the inaugural HR conference.  What did you take away from that conference that you could put to use back in your workplace?

    A few things really got me thinking, how we can work more quickly, take a “start-up” approach and still ensure we apply effective governance? 

    I enjoyed hearing from other Councils that are taking a more regular and immediate approach to measuring culture and will also be sharing my personal development plan widely which was suggested as part of the discussion about transparency in organisations. 

    On a lighter note, I enjoyed the laughter yoga, you can’t have too much laughter in life so perhaps we’ll be doing a bit of that at PAE (I can hear people fleeing our office as they read this).

    You regularly attend the GM network forums.  What are the main reasons you stay engaged with the GM forums?  If you were advising another GM to attend – what would you say are the main benefits of attendance?

    In addition to getting to catch up with great peeps, share information and ideas I look forward to being out of my day to day work and returning inspired and energised. 

    As senior leaders we have an obligation to support the development of our industry and we have a unique opportunity to work together to solve the complex problems our society faces without being restricted by a sense of competition and confidentially that would restrict us in a private business environment.  

    And as an added bonus it’s usually fun; good life advice, always sit at the fun table. 

    As a member of LG Professionals, you can sit back or get involved and maximise the value of your membership.   You are clearly someone who gets involved!  What do you see as the main benefits, to you and your council – of getting involved?

    Opportunities to share and learn with others are reminders that we are not only part of a Council, we are part of a wider industry that can work together, share knowledge and ideas and challenge each other to be our best.

    While it does benefit us as individuals in our own learning and career development the biggest benefit should be to the community, they pay us and they deserve us to be the best we can be.  We often talk about having engaged and involved communities and then don’t do it ourselves.

    I’ve also been participating in the Executive Leadership Program.  It’s one of the best learning experiences I’ve been involved in and I’d highly recommended it if you are prepared to challenge yourself and stretch your thinking.

    What advice would you have for someone wanting to further their career in local government?  Where would they start, what skills and attitude would they need, what connections are important?

    If you are already in local government take every opportunity in your workplace, apply for acting roles, join project groups, get involved outside your area of expertise, be prepared to do things you’re scared of and don’t think your career is more important than doing your job.  

    Connect with others in Local Government and also make sure you learn from outside LG especially from all the people in your community, they know lots of stuff that you and I don’t.  

    But most of all remember that a rewarding career in LG is not necessarily about climbing a ladder it’s about doing the best we can, doing what we enjoy and doing something that benefits others.  

    Finally – what do you enjoy outside of work?  How do you spend your leisure time?

    I love trail running, travelling and that I live in a City with art, theatre and a festival for everything! 

    I think my next career move is to be a professional attendee of festivals, if I'm not doing that I'm probably gardening or planning a revolution. 
     

  • 23 Jul 2018 9:47 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Catherine Loder, Governance Officer, Wattle Range Council.

    Catherine speaks to us about working for a rural council, the excitement being part of the winning team in the Rural Management Challenge last year - and how her participation in the ELP (Emerging Leaders Program) helped her both on the day, and in the preparation for the event.

    What's your current role, and what does in involve?
    I am Council’s Governance Officer and work part-time. A current key project I am leading is the council elections. Other core elements that I work on include policies, delegations, authorisations, Freedom of Information, maintaining council’s website, obligations under the Local Government Act, reporting to council and council committees.

    I also dabble in some side projects such as developing Council’s SharePoint site and helping to automate processes where possible.   
     
    What do you enjoy most about working for a rural council?
    Most of all I enjoy the diversity of work and that there is always something different or a new challenge that I get to be a part of. I also enjoy the working relationships with other regional councils and being able to share experiences across our network.
     
    Last year, Wattle Range Council won the Rural Management Challenge.   How did it feel to be part of the winning team?
    It was wonderful to hear our Council being named the winner. We all put in our best effort and it was nice to be recognised for this. 
     
    How did your team members react? 
    With great surprise! Our goals were to have fun, learn and grow, which we all felt we had achieved through participating. Winning was an added bonus!  
     
    What have been the key benefits of participation in the Rural Management Challenge - to both team members and your council?
    Collectively we have gained broader understanding of the diverse functions of council. The pre-challenge task started conversations across the whole council, which are continuing.
     
    What positives did you personally take away from the experience?  Has it changed your perspective on your career goals?  How?
    Participating in the challenge meant that I was able to extend myself on tasks that are not part of my normal role. Through the feedback received and our team success, I feel more confident that I have the skills and capabilities to make my career goals achievable.
     
    Has the council used the team for anything else since the Rural Management Challenge (e.g. as a cross-functional team?) 
    Our team has reconvened on a couple of occasions to present to council’s Executive Leadership Team and the full staff body.

    Our council sometimes pulls together a multi-disciplinary team to approach a project- the team members will usually be dependent on the project. 
     
    How have you, and your fellow team members grown since the Rural Management Challenge (in terms of career, opportunities, capabilities, leadership)?
    We are all still part of Wattle Range Council, with one member securing full-time employment with council following completion of their traineeship.

    We are all working towards our own goals and aspirations such as undertaking tertiary studies, further training, taking on voluntary positions in council or taking on leadership of projects where possible.  
     
    Did your experience gained through doing the ELP help your team's approach to the Rural Management Challenge?  What skills/experience from the ELP came in handy?
    The Rural Management Challenge provided me with many opportunities to directly apply what I learnt during the ELP.

    Being able to better understand team dynamics, change management and values-based approaches were some of the key experiences that I found myself drawing upon regularly.
     
    Would you recommend the Rural Management Challenge to other rural councils thinking of participating for the first time?
    Yes. If you have people in your organisation that are looking to develop themselves, expand their thinking, change the way they are going about their business, or perhaps need an opportunity to work outside the confines of the office, then I think the Rural Management Challenge has something to offer.
     
    A final word - Can you provide some tips on how to get the most out of the Rural Management Challenge?
    The preparation time in the lead up to the challenge day is very valuable. Get to know your team and what you want to achieve as a team and individuals.
     

  • 22 Jun 2018 9:41 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Gordon Thomson, Director, Corporate & Community Services at the District Council of Loxton Waikerie.

    Gordon explains his approach to 'investing in self' and also discusses the importance of ensuring that staff, especially in regional areas, maintain access to ongoing learning and development.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am currently Director Corporate and Community Services with the District Council of Loxton Waikerie and have been in this role for almost 12 months.  The role includes responsibilities for the corporate side of Council’s business; the full range of community services activities and regulatory services including planning and building functions.    

    You've had a diverse career - can you share some of your background?  Coming from those roles, what attracted you to local government and your current role?
    I have worked in a range of public sector agencies over the years from a long stint in State Parliament as Clerk Assistant in the House of Assembly, to roles in what was previously DFEEST and Treasury and Finance. 

    I worked for a number of years in the New Zealand public sector, have undertaken business consulting in Queensland and have had a contracted period with a regional council in western NSW.  It’s fair to say the decision to move to local government is based on wanting to work more closely with my local community to make a positive difference.      

    You're a new member of the Community Manager's Network - what important role does the network play in facilitating learning and sharing of ideas cross the sector?
    The network gives me an opportunity to stay abreast of ideas and issues, to develop contacts that are helpful not just for me but my wider team and allows the sharing of information in a collaborative way. 

    Speaking of learning and development - in your opinion, how important is it to invest in one's own development?  How have you approached this, personally, in the past, and currently?
    Ongoing learning and development are very important to me.  I am currently working through a Master of Business Administration. 

    I have also maintained a professional membership with the Institute of Public Administration (having previously been President of the NZ body for a couple of years) and I am a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.   

    What advice do you have for younger professionals looking to advance their career, in terms of investing in themselves?
    There is significant merit in looking at both taking up or extending areas of study linked to employment and as I have mentioned above in exploiting membership organisations such as LG Professionals, SA to build a network and keep up with trends and issues. 

    It’s also a great way to meet people with similar goals and interests and build these relationships.

    Working now for a rural/regional council, how important is a pro-active approach to professional development? Do rural/regional staff sometimes feel left behind?  Or is it the opposite?
    It is often easy to overlook your professional development when you are working in a remote area but this should give us a greater motivation to make sure we don’t neglect ourselves. 

    There are a number of online opportunities that can be explored and perhaps we should be considering the establishment of regional ‘branches’ or at least get together with colleagues on a regular basis and developing forums to discuss and share ideas.

    What motivates you? What are you most passionate about in local government?
    Working with individuals and communities to make a positive contribution is what drives me.  Our challenge is to identify ways to deliver the expected outcomes rather than getting stumped by any particular obstacle.       

    Finally, how do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
    I am a keen gardener and grower of organic fruits and I enjoy making my own wines (and of course sampling them).

  • 24 May 2018 8:53 AM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Darren Birbeck, General Manager Corporate Services at the City of Charles Sturt.

    Darren speaks about the power of clear and positive language in motivating and leading staff, as well as outlining a number of his key projects and objectives.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?

    In my role as General Manager Corporate Services at the City of Charles Sturt, I work closely with the executive and leadership teams to help achieve our Community Plan goals and objectives. It’s an exciting time at Charles Sturt, as we deliver our largest ever capital works program which includes the redevelopment of the St Clair Recreation Centre, the Port Road drainage project, the redevelopment of our Waste Management Centre and the revitalisation of Point Malcolm Reserve.

    I am really fortunate to have a fantastic team which covers the areas of Finance, Information Services, People & Culture, Governance & Operational Support and Media, Marketing & Communications.

    Some of the new initiatives that we are currently working on include rolling out our Digital Workplace Strategy, review and redesign of our Leadership Development program, the launch of a new Corporate Wellbeing Program, an in-depth review of our recurrent budgets and the completion of our draft Smart City Strategy.

    We continue to seek better ways to communicate with our residents and have recently launched Charlotte, our intelligent chatbot on Facebook, delivered three live streamed events to Facebook, introduced a live Panomax camera at St Clair to monitor progress and our internal communications team have shot drone footage of Point Malcolm Reserve and the Port Road drainage projects.

    What attracted you to local government, and your current role?
    It is incredibly gratifying to work for an organisation that is dedicated to providing services to the local community. Having worked in the Aged Care sector for over a decade, it was important for me to continue my career in a role that delivers positive outcomes for people.
    The role at Charles Sturt was very appealing; in addition to the broad range of services we provide, I was also attracted by the positive culture of the organisation. Charles Sturt has a strong commitment to a constructive workplace culture which I believe is critical to the success of any organisation.

    You mentioned that you came from the Aged Care Sector.  Local government is known for often using too much jargon and many acronyms – how have you found this?  Is there anything you are doing to combat this practice?
    To be honest, jargon and acronyms litter most sectors, industries and professions. While local government has its fair share, I haven’t found it any more daunting than in finance, aged care or the automotive industry, where I have also worked.

    For a large part of my career, it has been my role to explain organisational performance to an audience from outside the sector or the profession in which I have worked. As a result, I try to avoid using jargon and acronyms wherever I can.

    I believe it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. The best way to get your point across is to deliver it in a way that resonates with the people that you are communicating with. By using jargon and industry specific acronyms, you are effectively alienating your audience.

    How do you use the power of language to motivate your staff?
    My natural style is a collaborative and consultative one. What drives me is seeing people reach their full potential whilst achieving extraordinary outcomes. I pride myself in being able to communicate with people from across the organisation and it is these interactions that inspire me to come to work each day. I tend to use every day examples from my own experience to demonstrate ideas and motivate staff to achieve great results.

    I am passionate about the work that we do for the community and do my best to communicate this to my colleagues. My tendency is to use optimistic and achievement focussed language to motivate the people I work with.

    How important is using clear language in providing a strategic direction to your team?  Why?
    It is absolutely critical to provide clarity when setting a strategic direction for your team. By using clear language, you minimise the risk of any ambiguity which could lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

    Positive language is especially important in conducting performance reviews.  What advice do you have for our readers about conducting reviews?  What works well, and what doesn’t?
    Given my preferred coaching/collaborative style I always take a positive mindset into performance reviews. From my perspective it is critical to achieve a shared and honest assessment of an individual’s performance, while delivering it in a respectful and consistent manner.

    I believe that the most critical aspect to performance reviews is that they occur continuously throughout the year. This helps ensure that performance reviews become an ongoing conversation, rather than a once in a year event.

    Like many parts of business, Corporate Services is a function likely to undergo significant change, through technology and other influences, in coming years.  How will you manage the challenge of constant change?
    I cannot recall a time in my career when the Corporate Services function hasn’t been subject to significant change! I believe that it is a matter of developing flexible and dynamic plans that can adjust to changes in the internal and external environment. For me, adaptability and resilience are important attributes in dealing with constant change. A sense of humour also helps.

    What keeps you busy outside of work?
    My wife Kylie and I have two adult children who are finishing their university degrees and we are extremely proud of their achievements. Every Saturday we cheer on our son who plays for the Happy Valley Vikings, the club he has played with since he was six years old. Meanwhile his big sister continues her passion for dancing, performing in a troupe with ’That’s Dancing’ at Warradale.

    Aside from the kids, travel is our passion and we are fortunate enough to have visited South East Asia extensively, as well as trips to the US, Great Britain and South America.

    Highlights have included celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh, kayaking in Borneo and visiting Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

  • 23 Apr 2018 10:33 AM | Deleted user

    This month we speak with Warren Gearey, Continous Improvement (CI) Specialist at the City of Salisbury and Chair of the Continuous Improvement Network at LG Professionals, SA.

    What is your work background/career path so far?

    I started my career working for Fujistu Microelectronics in Manchester (UK) as a microelectronics technician being promoted into an Engineer role after further study.

    After moving to Adelaide with my family in 1996 I worked for Motorola and Freescale Semiconductors for 10 years and then BAE Systems until 2015. I started in local government with Adelaide Hills Council in a Continuous Improvement Project Officer role prior to moving to the City of Salisbury in July 2016.

    What motivates you? What are you most passionate about in local government?

    I really enjoy helping people to do things better at work. There are so many people in local government who want to do the best they can for their residents and community. Continuous improvement provides them with the opportunity to make things better no matter how big or small the opportunity is.

    It is rewarding when I work with staff on their improvement ideas especially when they reap the rewards of implementing their suggested improvements.

    I am keen to raise awareness of the benefits of continuous improvement across the local government sector and hope to enable this as part of my role as the inaugural Chair of the Continuous Improvement Network.

    What is the most exciting initiative that you are currently involved in at the City of Salisbury?

    I am currently working on developing and implementing a continuous improvement framework to help achieve an organisational approach to all activities. By their very nature the improvements can vary hugely in scale but the benefits all add up. One example was to add a pump to the water system that fills trucks. The pump cost approximately $2,000 but provided an annual saving of nearly $77,000 per year. This also reduced the time to fill a truck from 12 minutes per fill down to 3.5 minutes per truck fill. If this is how much you can save from a small improvement just imagine what can be achieved when the scale of the improvement increases! It’s exciting to be given the opportunity to have a positive effect on employee’s day to day working environment and to continuously look for improvements, working towards a common goal.

    The Continuous Improvement Network - what is it?

    Generally, there is a very small number of Continuous Improvement Specialists in councils, and therefore the network is a great opportunity for like-minded professionals to come together and share experiences and knowledge with the use of CI tools and techniques.

    Guided by the network values – collaboration, innovation, integrity and respect, the network undertakes continuous improvement promotion and advocacy, ensuring that there is a cross section of skills and abilities, encouraging learning off one another.

    A couple of months ago, Taryn met with the network and presented the Performance Excellence Program which I feel, along with 20 South Australian Councils who are currently using the tool, is a big opportunity for local government moving forward. The comprehensive tool measures and provides councils strategic and operation insights into a range of areas such as corporate leadership, finance management through to operations and risk management. The part which excites me the most, is what organisations and cross council collaborations could look like in the future.

    This network has not only helped me build strong relations with LG Professionals, SA but has provided me the opportunity to work with other local government bodies. I feel privileged and am very excited to be presenting at the LGITSA (Local Government Information Technology South Australia) conference in May to promote the existence of the Continuous Improvement Network.

    Finally, how do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?

    To relax, I like to walk and talk with my wife Jill, as well as putting my watercolour skills to practice since recently attending some art classes. Then there is trying to play golf with friends…

    Jill and I are also in-between homes, so finding a new place to live is a priority and I’m sure that when the dust settles, my weekends will be filled with household projects.

    If you would like to hear more about the Continuous Improvement Network or the work that City of Salisbury are doing, connect with Warren on LinkedIn today.

  • 21 Mar 2018 10:14 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Thuyen Vi-Alternetti, Senior Property Officer (Projects) at the City of Mitcham.

    Thuyen talks about her motivation, how she will meet the challenges to be faced in the coming years - and how her participation in the Emerging Leaders Program has helped provide a solid foundation for the achievement of her career goals.

    Hi Thuyen - thanks for speaking with us.

    1. What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am currently the Senior Property Officer (Projects) at the City of Mitcham.  My role broadly speaking involves managing Council’s property portfolio which includes land and building transactions such as leases, licences, permits, acquisitions and disposals.


    I am also a key driver of the building asset management planning for the organisation. The role also sees me negotiating and bringing people together to deliver customer focused solutions with a strong emphasis around people skills and leadership.
     
    2. What attracted you to local government, and your current role?
    Prior to working within local government, I worked predominantly in property roles both within the private and state government sector, so local government was a sector that I knew very little about.


    I hate to admit this but I was amongst the many rate payers who had no idea what services councils provide to the community, our rates just go towards household waste collection right? 
     
    So when a local council property role came up, I thought what a better way to learn more about local government than to submerge yourself working in it.  The added attraction for me also at the time, was that my parents were looking after my young children and they lived in the same council area, so it made my daily commute a lot shorter which was a bonus. 
     
    I think the opportunity at Mitcham Council came at a time in my career where I was ready for change and a new challenge. Mitcham was a different council with their own set of challenges and demographics; it also provided me with an opportunity to transfers and test my leadership skills in a completely new environment.    
     
    3. What are the major challenges in the next 2 years for your role and how are you addressing them?
    One of the major challenges (which no doubt you find in all organisations) is around how can we further improve the way we do things and can we be more innovative in the way we deliver services to our customers?  


    Mitcham has strong established systems in place which is great, but it also presents a bit of a challenge as well.  My key focus for the next 6-12 months to assist in these challenges, is around developing a strategic approach to property transactions, building asset management planning and aligning them to service standards and the overall planning vision for the City of Mitcham.
     
    4. What motivates you? What are you most passionate about in local government?
    I love being challenged, learning new things and being part of a team that makes a positive difference.


    I am very passionate about doing my part in being an advocate for local government and for me this means focusing on customer service, being innovative and working collaboratively to achieve positive outcomes for both the community and Council.  
     
    5. Why did you decide to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program?
    At the time I was keen to do some further studies to challenge myself and hopefully open some doors and opportunities within local government. I looked at a number of options including MBA, but I didn't feel that I had the time to commit to such an intense and demanding program.


    The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is a unique program designed specifically for local government and I knew it was going to provide me with the opportunity to learn more about local government and network with like-minded people in our sector.
     
    I would encourage anyone wanting to learn about our sector and who is keen to network and challenge oneself in a safe and encouraging environment, to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program.
     
    6.  What were your most important learnings/experiences from that program?
    There are so many great learnings and experiences I gained from participating in the Emerging Leaders Program and would be here all day if I had to list them all.  What I can say is that the program triggered a lot of self-reflection for me, both professionally and personally.


    The Team Management Profile and self-awareness assignment at the start really set the tone of the program. The overall program helped me understand what leadership meant to me, my strengths, and the type of leader I wanted to be. 
     
    7.  Part of the ELP is about achieving goals. What did you learn from the ELP that has helped you achieve your own career goals and will continue to help you in the future?
    The program really highlighted the importance of networking, collaborating and emotional intelligence awareness; they are skill sets that I have been very conscious of practising and developing since completing the Emerging Leaders Program and strongly feel that they have, and will continue to play a crucial role in achieving my career goals now and into the future.  
     
    8.  How has the ELP helped you in your career?
    ELP has demonstrated that the subject matter of local government is so broad; it has opened my eyes to other parts of local government in the metropolitan and rural setting. The opportunity to meet so many motivated and passionate leaders within our sector, who I can call upon for support and career advice has been instrumental in my career development.


    It has definitely given me the confidence as a leader to move out of my comfort zone and to continue to grow both personally and professionally in the sector. 
     
    9.  You attend many other LG Professionals, SA events and programs. What has been your experience of them?
    I have to admit one of my favourite parts of attending the LG Professionals, SA events and programs is the networking component, you never know who you will meet at these events and how they may be able to assist you in the future.


    I always find that these programs provide you with an opportunity to get away from daily tasks and provide some thinking time to work on the business rather than in it. Often the topics presented at these events are very thought-provoking and there is always a take away message you can apply back in your workplace.

     
    10. Finally, how do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
    Outside of work you will find me spending time with my little family. I have two primary school aged children who keep my husband and I very busy.


    When I am not busy with my kids, you might just find me at the gym or going for a casual run, but often I am just at home relaxing, reading a book and enjoying a nice mug of green tea.
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