This month we spoke to Johanna Williams about her role as General Manager, Rundle Mall Management Authority, and what inspired her to take part in our Executive Leaders Program this year.
You work for a council subsidiary – can you tell us what challenges are unique to a subsidiary vs working in a council?
As custodian of the Rundle Mall Precinct, RMMA’s role is to deliver economic benefits for our traders, our property owners and for those who work in and visit the Mall. That means we’re delivering a specific part of the City of Adelaide’s agenda under the governance of a Board comprising retail, property and marketing professionals as well as Elected Members.
We work semi-autonomously, developing our own strategy and initiatives for the Precinct, drawing on the expertise and information within Council and with accountability to the Elected Members.
An added overlay is the wider stakeholders we serve – the people of South Australia – who see Rundle Mall as the heart of Adelaide and are invested in what happens here.
We look forward to having you participate in our Executive Leaders Program this year. What inspired you to take time out of your busy schedule and commit to the program?
Given Rundle Mall needs to lead the way in South Australia, I’m striving to build my leadership capabilities so I can keep fostering the innovation culture that’s essential for RMMA‘s ongoing success. I also need to lead a talented team through a complex environment of constant change and diverse stakeholders so I’m looking forward to gaining a deeper appreciation of my leadership style and how to lead with authenticity. Meeting other senior leaders to share experiences and learn from one another will also be invaluable.
What is the most complex challenge you are facing in your role at the moment?
Future proofing Rundle Mall against the rapidly changing retail landscape while preserving the memories every South Australian has of the Mall. In some way Rundle Mall features in most people’s life milestones, so how do we retain that when we’re considering what the Mall should be in 10 or 20 years from now? It’s a challenge to balance that big picture strategy against the short-term delivery of campaigns, activations and leasing that draw visitors in and supports our traders and property owners.
Finally, what keeps you busy outside of work?
When I’m at home I like to unwind in the garden. I’ve just finished creating my first vegetable patch so I’m looking forward to planting seedlings for summer. I also enjoy travelling and exploring new destinations and heading to the footy – it’s just a shame 2019 hasn’t ended so well for the Crows, Port Power or for my Swans!