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  • 28 Apr 2022 3:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Sheree Schenk, General Manager Governance and Executive (CEO) Office at Adelaide Plains Council about her role, her recent experience with the Executive Leaders Program and what she enjoys most about working in local government. 

    What is your role and what does it entail? 

    General Manager of Governance and the Executive (CEO) Office. I am responsible for Governance and Legislative Compliance, Work, Health and Safety, Risk Management, Human Resources, Records Management, Property, Marketing and Communications, Media/PR, Customer Service and Administration. My role is quite broad and entails managing Council’s corporate services, ensuring legislative compliance and best practice across the organisation.

    What do you enjoy most about working in Local Government? 

    I love the diversity of Local Government, particularly being at a ‘smaller’ Council. In my 6.5 years at APC, I have been exposed to every aspect of our organisation. I have been fortunate enough to have had several opportunities and experiences and this has allowed me to grow and develop in a relatively short period of time. I also really enjoy the teamwork and networking opportunities that come with working in LG.

    You participated in the 2022 Executive Leaders Program. How did you find the program? Any highlights you’d like to share? 

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Executive Leaders Program. It was a unique learning experience that I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of. Having the cohort travel intrastate and stay together for a couple of days created a solid and safe foundation for the group to flourish. I enjoyed how challenging the course was and how much it has made me re-think my approach to leadership. Getting to meet and build relationships with like-minded people was definitely a highlight for me!

    Why do you think it is important to step outside your comfort zone and take on new challenges?

    It is very easy to become complacent, in both your professional and personal life. This is why it is important to regularly step outside of your comfort zone and take on new challenges. Being out of your comfort zone allows you to mature and grow from new experiences. For me, taking on new and regular challenges contributes to my overall happiness and allows me to live life to the fullest.

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time? 

    I enjoy sport, fitness and the outdoors. I have a partner and young daughter and we are an adventurous family who love the beach and going camping most weekends!


  • 28 Mar 2022 9:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Domenic Perre, Road Construction and Capital Projects Coordinator at District Council of Loxton Waikerie about his career, leadership journey and the Rural Management Challenge.

    What is your role and what does it entail?

    My role encompasses a mix of coordination of two road construction crews and four maintenance patrol graders, over a network of 10 towns and 3,000km of roads, as well as assisting the Director of Infrastructure with grants, council reports and dealing with public requests.

    What do you enjoy most about working in Local Government?

    I enjoy being part of a team that focusses on making our area a great place to live and having pride in our accomplishments. I also enjoy the networking with other similar rural councils to find solutions to issues that are too challenging to fix on your own, and the friends I have met along the way.

    You are currently participating in the 2022 Ignite Program. How are you finding the program so far? Any highlights you’d like to share?

    The Ignite program is aptly named as I find this program to be a spark to make me think about how effectively I can do my work. I have done leadership programs in the past, but it is great to have new ideas and practices that cater for today’s environment. There are a lot of people that can benefit from the Ignite Program, and I can only hope to spread the message it sends, which is to be a better leader.

    You were Mentor of the 2021 winning Rural Management Challenge team from District Council of Loxton Waikerie - congratulations!  What advice would you give to others thinking of taking part in the future?

    The honour of being part of this amazing Challenge was one to be remembered for decades. The main advice I would give is for the team to put everything about themselves on the table early in the training time, whether it is good or bad. That way the team can sort through, select their strengths and weaknesses, and get on with producing quality work, in quality time.

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

    I have a family with two kids which take up most of my leisure time! I do lots of gardening and like to help my family with cooking and catering for events. I am also a 2nd Dan Black Belt and like to help teach Chidokan Karate at my local Dojo. I read a lot, watch lots of movies, and tinker with computers.


  • 24 Feb 2022 1:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Katrina Fromm, Deputy CEO at District Council of Karoonda East Murray about her career, leadership journey and what she enjoys most about working in local government.

    What is your role? Describe a typical day.

    I have been employed with the District Council of Karoonda East Murray for just over six years, I currently hold the position of Deputy CEO.

    I work closely with our executive leadership team to help achieve the Council’s goals and objectives. I have a diverse portfolio covering Finance, IT, Customer Service, Child Care Centre, Community Services, WHS and Risk. Each day is different and there is always something that will challenge you.

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government? 

    I really enjoy working closely with our small community, together we have been able to deliver some great projects and services. Being part of a small team enables our staff to be more resilient and deal with anything that comes our way.

    You been involved with LG Professionals SA for several years and have participated in various programs and events, for instance the Strategic Management Program, Network Forums and Conferences – can you share with us how these have had a positive impact on your leadership journey?

    I recently completed the Strategic Management Program and a few years earlier participated in the Emerging Leaders Program. Both programs enabled me to make some great network connections, being able to interact with peers from across the LG sector. It has given me greater awareness into my working style and preference and how I can work with this and relate it back to my team.

    You’ve recently joined the Women’s Network Committee – Is there anything you want to achieve? 

    I would like to build on my networking opportunities and connect with other women in Local Government. It will give me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and to build my network.

    Do you have a favourite LG Professionals SA memory?

    My favourite memory would be the last Women’s Network Conference at the Wine Centre, where Dorinda Hafner got everyone to stand up and write a word in the air with their bums. This would have to be one of the best conferences I have attended, and I was also able to bring five women from our council to share the experience.

    What do you like doing in your leisure time?

    Outside of work you will find me catching up with family and friends or relaxing at the river. I also like to travel throughout Australia and look forward to doing more of it now that the borders are opening up.

  • 29 Nov 2021 11:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Bec Lyons, Coordinator Community Experience at  City of Charles Sturt about her career, the leadership excellence awards and what she is looking forward to working on in the future.

    What is your role and what does it entail?

    I’m responsible for the strategic leadership of the Community Experience team across 5 Libraries in the City of Charles Sturt. A key part of my role is coordinating operations across community facilities and our frontline teams and driving business improvement projects to ensure our community has access to resources and opportunities to learn and connect. 

    What is your career background?

    I’m passionate about leading dynamic innovative teams, implementing change and creating spaces that reflect their specific place and people. I’ve been privileged to have spent the last 20 years working in a diverse range of roles across the arts, community development, disaster resilience and local government sectors. I have edited an arts & culture magazine, established not-for-profits, curated arts and literary festivals, launched youth radio shows and run community facilities including community centres, turtle conservation centres, community swimming pools and libraries.

    One of the most rewarding challenges of my career, and what truly shaped me as a leader, was when I moved to Sri Lanka to work with AusAid. I spent over a decade leading disaster resilience and community cultural development projects following the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

    You were awarded Emerging Leader of the Year at the 20th Annual Leadership Excellence Awards earlier this year – what advice would you give to someone thinking of nominating for a leadership excellence award?

    Believe in yourself! To say I was humbled by the experience is an understatement. Being recognised through the Leadership Excellence Awards gave me a huge boost of confidence and the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate my leadership journey.

    Can you share with us any exciting projects you’re currently working on?

    We are set to open our first integrated community facility, Ngutungka West Lakes, in early 2022. This is the first time we have brought together our Library and Community Development teams under one roof to provide a seamless community experience through the integration of our services, activities and programs.  It is an exciting time for our organisation and community and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

    The beginning of a new year is fast approaching, do you have some future goals in the pipeline?

    We have recently started engaging with stakeholders and the wider Henley community as we work towards our second community hub for Charles Sturt. I will be leading the second stage of this project for Community Connections and am so excited to be working with our community to create a place where people can come together to share knowledge, connect and be inspired.

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

    I have a 9-year old; my leisure time these days typically involves Marvel movies and skate parks!


  • 25 Oct 2021 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Ritu Datta, Manager Organisational Development at City of Mount Gambier to find about her new role, career background and why she thinks professional development is important.

    What is your role and what does it entail?

    I recently commenced a 2 year secondment with the City of Mount Gambier in the position of Manager Organisational Development. The position has a diverse portfolio. This role entails strategically partnering with the people leaders and workforce to have the right people in the right roles to enable the organisation to deliver outstanding customer experience. The key components of the position are leadership capability development, change management, executing succession and talent strategy and implementing the overall people strategy that is aligned with the organisational strategic community plan.

    My substantive role is with the City of West Torrens as the People and Culture Business Partner. The role entails partnering with key stakeholders and building workforce capabilities so that the organisation can deliver exceptional service through its people to its customers and effectively meet its strategic goals. 

    What is your career background?

    I have worked almost two decades in the People and Culture function in varied roles within Australia and overseas in medium and large organisations within for profit commercial as well as not-for-profit settings. My ethos is that people are an organisation's biggest asset and by investing in people, the organisation reaps benefits and is able to deliver great customer outcomes. I am extremely passionate about mentoring and professional development. I am a certified AHRI HR practitioner and have recently been re-elected to the AHRI SA state council and have the privilege of managing the portfolio of Mentoring and Development for SA. I am heavily involved in LG Professionals SA Network Committees and am a nominated member on the LG Professionals SA People and Culture Network Committee as well as the LG Professionals SA Women's Network Committee. In 2019 I successfully completed the  LG Professionals SA Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and earlier this year completed the  LG Professionals SA Strategic Management Program (SMP).

    Why is local government a great place to work?

    The sector provides a wide range of roles at all levels and great growth opportunities. The LG sector is inclusive, supportive and provides diverse roles for individuals. There are inter-council partnerships that enable secondment opportunities as well as working on projects with colleagues from other councils. Within a council there are opportunities that come up to work within different departments and functions that are offered to staff. There are passionate professionals who work in the LG sector and are committed to enhancing the services provided to their communities, residents and businesses. The sector is focussed on people and communities which makes it a great place to work.

    What advice would you give to someone looking to undertake professional development?

    Just do it. If you are interested in pursuing further development and study make the time to invest in yourself. I would highly recommend broadening your networks and connections and getting involved with the relevant networking committees. Having participated in the LG Professionals SA Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and Strategic Management Program (SMP), if you aspire to climb up the leadership ladder I would highly recommend you look into these two programs along with other certified leadership courses. I am extremely passionate about mentoring therefore would recommend sourcing a mentor for yourself as well as looking at mentoring other professionals. From my own experience I can tell you that being involved in mentoring is extremely rewarding.

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

    I love spending time with my family, travelling, gardening, cooking and going for walks. I love watching movies and various programs on the tele especially travel, cooking and home renovation shows.    


  • 29 Sep 2021 11:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Daniel Adams, Manager, Business and Innovation at City of Prospect to find out about his career, why it's important to continually innovate and some of his career highlights. 

    What is your role and what does it entail?
    Manager, Business Innovation. I head up the Economic Development and Communications team. We want to drive new investment, visitation, development and jobs across Prospect, and share the great news coming out of our community.

    What is your career background?
    I studied foreign trade and economics at uni, but like a lot of people my age I had to move to the east coast to get into my chosen industry. Before coming to Prospect I worked for Apple before pivoting into local government, working in Economic development for Surf Coast Shire on the Great Ocean Road.

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government?I love being able to see new businesses develop and thrive. Where it’s a small homebased business someone is running on the side coming in to learn about social media marketing, or a major new development coming out of the ground. It’s great to help people seize new opportunities.

    Why is it important to continually innovate or think outside the box?
    The world is changing fast, so it’s vital for leaders in this industry to innovate and adapt otherwise we aren’t going to attract the talent we need or meet the expectations of our community. There are great business coming up with new ways of operating and helping their customers online and in person all the time. This sets new standards for all industries to keep up with, including ours.

    What’s your biggest local government career achievement to date?
    Before COVID-19 hit at Adelaide in 2020, watching industries overseas getting locked down, I came up with an idea to support our local hospitality sector in the event of a lockdown here. It was called ‘Prospect Delivers”. When the first lockdown was announced, we were quickly about to start issuing two $25 vouchers a week to the vulnerable and isolating members of our community. They were able to trade them in for a meal to be delivered to them by a local restaurant. We promised the businesses owners we would reimburse the business as soon as possible to help keep their business going, knowing cash flow is king. Over the course of two months we funded approximately 3,500 meals for our residents. I had businesses tell me we had ‘saved their business’ and we were inundated by thank you cards from our most vulnerable residents.

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time?
    I have a two and half year old and a new house to renovate, leisure time is hard to come by.


  • 30 Aug 2021 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Michael Taggart, Inclusion Project Officer at City of Salisbury about his role, the Community Managers Network and what he's been working on. 

    What is your role and what does it entail?

    I am the City of Salisbury’s Inclusion Project Officer responsible for the development of Council’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP). The DAIP is mandated by the Disability Inclusion Act 2018 (SA). Council’s DAIP is called the Ability Inclusion Strategic Plan” and with its implementation plan aims to include people living with disability across all population diversity in the design of every aspect of Local Government functions.

    What is your career background?

    I started in Local Government when the City of Salisbury was the first SA Council to appoint a specialist access and inclusion officer in October 1997.  Before that I had been a systems advocate for people with disability in employment. I had been enrolled in a Ph.D. in political economy in the early 1980s when I transitioned from very low vision to total blindness between the 28 – 33 years and had to give up academic work.  When computer screen readers were available from the mid-1980s I re-trained and had my first real job at age 38. Council has supported my participation in disability-related advisory bodies such as the SA Minister’s Disability Advisory Council (2007 – 2013) and the inaugural National Disability Insurance Scheme advisory Council (2013 – 2017). 

    You have been an engaged member of LG Professionals SA Community Managers Network for quite some time - Do you have a favourite moment you’d like to share?

    With staff from the Cities of Onkaparinga, Playford and Tea Tree Gully I co-founded the LG Access and Inclusion Network (LGAIN) for staff with Disability Access and Inclusion Plan responsibilities. As the Network grew, we connected with the Community Managers Network (CMN) in 2014 and lobbied for disability inclusion to feature in the CMN’s strategic priorities.  A favourite moment was the February 2017 Community Managers Network hosted symposium on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Local Government with 90 participants.

    Do you have any exciting projects you’re currently working on? 

    One vital project is supporting Salisbury’s Corporate Learning and Development team as we roll out Disability Inclusion Awareness workshops provided by JFA Purple Orange to most employees in the next 2 years and coordinate some employees participation in universal design training in buildings, public realm and in communications such as Easy English writing and web accessibility.  Another exciting project is developing guidelines to apply the principles of universal design in Council buildings and the public realm.

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

    I enjoy recent music (rock, indy, First Nations rap) and love reading historical fiction and walking most days 3 – 4km with my wife Cathy and spending time with our two less than 1 year old grand-daughters Shiloh and Eleanor.


  • 23 Jul 2021 3:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Samantha Killington, Manager People and Culture at Campbelltown City Council about her role, the importance of investing in staff and her advice for anyone looking to do professional development. 

    What is your role and what does it entail?

    I am the Manager People & Culture at Campbelltown City Council. My role entails business partnership and leadership to assist in people capability, strategy, process and culture, and facilitate the implementation and delivery of people and culture programs. 

    What is your career background?

    Prior to joining Campbelltown City Council, I had worked within the manufacturing and defence industries.  After 15 years I sought a change of industry and a new challenge and considered the LG sector.  I was lucky to find a role with Campbelltown reporting to the CEO, and an organisation which is passionate about what it does and invests in its people. 

    Why do you think it is important to invest in your staff?

    Organisations go to great lengths to recruit and on-board suitable employees only then to disregard the importance of their ongoing development.  It’s critical both for retention and engagement but also important given the trends shaping the future of work.      

    What advice would you give to someone wanting to further their professional development?

    It can be really easy to lose focus on your career and professional development because your current role can seem all-encompassing at the time.  It’s important to plan and own your development because it’s unlikely to happen by chance.  Consider seeking a mentor, or mentor someone. Read or listen to podcasts.  Workshops can also provide the opportunity to meet like-minded people and network. I can’t stress enough what a great sector we work in - the opportunities are abundant, you just need to get out of your comfort zone and grab hold. 

    You’re on the People and Culture Network Committee – what made you want to join the committee? Do you have a favourite moment you’d like to share?

    To establish a network which I could connect with and support the P&C profession in LG. There have been many great moments however I felt proud of the committee in establishing regular network forums and of course the fun and inspirational Conferences! 

    Finally, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

    I have two young cheeky girls which keep me busy. Outside of this I’m known to enjoy time in nature, attend concerts when I get a chance and I love a good glass of wine!


  • 29 Jun 2021 11:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Sorana Dinmore, General Manager Corporate Services at City of Marion about her role, LG Professionals SA membership, and the General Managers Network.

    What is your role? Describe a typical day.

    As the GM Corporate services, I don’t quite have typical days. Change is part and parcel I guess of the job as we’re undertaking a large digital transformation program and so there are different areas requiring focus on any given day. An important part of my portfolio is also finance and procurement which pose challenges, enquiries from elected members, etc.

    I could be discussing waste management in one meeting, only to go to people management in another, our financial sustainability in a third. I love the diversity my role affords me as I’m quite challenged by the variety.

    What’s your career background?

    I have a double degree in Law and International Studies from Adelaide UNI and an MBA from UNISA. I was lucky enough to work in various industries, from the private sector, where I was in mining, law, small business to then transition to State government and academia. I was in State for 13 years and for the past 11 years I’ve also taught in IT subjects at UNISA and Eynesbury.

    What benefits do you see in being a LG Professionals SA member?

    I think it’s important to bring a higher level of professionalism to the sector which LG Professionals SA are known to be delivering.

    You’ve recently taken on the role of Chair of our General Managers Network. Why do you think it is important to join a network and share ideas and experiences with your peers?

    For me, it was about increasing my network across local government, we all do similar roles in different locations and so it’s important to collaborate to ensure value for our ratepayers and residents.

    Is there anything you want to achieve now that you are Chair of the General Managers Network?

    I hope to get more GMs interested in participating in the sessions and demonstrate value for the time investment they need to make.

    What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

    I love my Tuesday morning bike rides, followed by a nice breakfast somewhere around the city, I’ve recently discovered reformer Pilates. On Fridays I coach my son’s y6 hockey team and on weekends I love spending time with my boys (21 and 11), unfortunately the 20yo daughter left for Sydney last year.


  • 25 May 2021 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Kristen Clark, Director of Infrastructure at Whyalla City Council about his role, the Leadership Excellence Awards and the project that was recognised for Excellence in Infrastructure Delivery. 

    What is your role and what does it involve?

    My role is Director of Infrastructure, at the Whyalla City Council.  It involves being responsible for all of our outside workforce which is around 48 people.  They cover parks and gardens, civil works, waste and recently leases and licenses have also been added.

    In addition, it involves providing leadership to our capital delivery and environment crew which comprises another 10 staff. 

    Whyalla City Council are finalists in the Excellence in Infrastructure Delivery Award category in this year’s Leadership Excellence Awards for the New Whyalla Jetty Project – can you give us an overview of the project?

    The original Whyalla town Jetty was built in the 1970’s.  During a periodic inspection the piles were found to be in poor condition which led to the Jetty being closed to the public.  Initial plans were to replace the jetty “like for like”, but after consultation with the community we received lots of feedback that called for all kinds of ideas.  Council ran specific Jetty consultation sessions and from that, the final design for the uniquely shaped Jetty came about.

    The new Jetty extends 35m further into the sea than the old jetty, is twice as wide and 1.5m higher than the old jetty (to take rising sea levels into account).  The circle in the middle of the jetty is 48m wide, so almost as wide as an Olympic size pool. 

    Concrete in marine environments is typically reinforced with high tensile steel which provides a useful life of approximately 40 years.  A key decision made early in our planning was to use glass fibre reinforced plastic instead which is stronger than steel, but does not rust, which is commonly known as “concrete cancer”.  The glass fibre was a little more expensive than steel, but effectively doubled the useful life to 80 years, making business case much stronger. 

    Steel from the old jetty pylons were recycled through the local GFG steel works. 

    Perhaps another feature of the Jetty is the LED lights in the handrails.  It’s a nice solution that’s very different to the traditional overhead fluro lighting that would have been easy to install but wouldn’t have had anywhere near the impact.  Have you seen any photos of the Jetty at night?  As the sun sets, the LEDs turn the jetty yellow, orange, blue and finally a deep purple.  It’s a whole other experience at night.  

    Why did you enter the Leadership Excellence Awards?

    We made the decision to enter the Leadership Excellence Awards for a number of reasons.  As a council we are coming out of a period of difficult years.  We saw the Jetty as the first project or sign that demonstrated we have turned the corner and were aiming to proactively move the Whyalla City Council forward in a number of areas, especially our “liveability”.

    Also, like many councils we know we do not celebrate our good work, so we were keen to enjoy and appreciate all the work that went into the Jetty and use it as a model for other projects that council looks to implement.  We are very focussed on ensuring great work continues and promoting this work will help all of us here at Whyalla stay focussed on delivering great outcomes for our community, which is what they deserve. 

    Now that all has been revealed and Whyalla City Council were announced as the winner of the Excellence in Infrastructure Delivery Award last Friday, what does this award mean to the Council, staff and the community?

    It’s great for the Whyalla City Council to be recognised for delivering “excellence”.  Building such a unique Jetty was a brave decision by our Mayor and Elected Members.  It was a real vote of confidence in staff that we could deliver something so different from what we normally work on.  I think it shows that Whyalla can and deserves to have first class facilities, and that if we aim and plan for more, that we (council) are more than able to deliver. 

    The community is super happy to have their jetty back, and with all the attention it’s attracted, people can see that its been a great addition to our town.  Hotels are booked out on weekends now due to the amount of tourist traffic.  Everyone is benefiting from the Jetty.

    I know council staff are all very proud of the Jetty and we are we are very appreciative of the good news story that we have!

    What would be your advice for others thinking of nominating for a Leadership Excellence Award in the future?

    I think nominating for an award is a very worthwhile process.  If nothing else, it can be a good way of reviewing how a project went after completion. As a group we had a few laughs as we remembered the journey!  But it was also good to recall what we did well and what we’d do differently next time.  Nominating for the award made all of us critically think about the project, which was nice. 

    Whyalla is determined to move forward and improving our liveability is one of our top goals, being one of the final 3 projects nominated was a great way to promote our city.  And as you know, even a little bit of recognition can do wonders to motivate people.  So, to win was something else!

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government? 

    Working in Local Government can be difficult.  I’m biased but working in Infrastructure can be particularly difficult!  Our work is so public, and our staff are literally on the front line, in front of people’s homes, that we do get occasional feedback!  The critical environment does help pull a team together though, a bit of “us against the world”.  I love seeing members of our council team do great work under difficult circumstances, and the satisfaction they take away when we have our wins. 

    I love the passion that people have right across council and councils, in each person’s field.  Councils are very diverse places.  Its motivating.  I’m relatively new to local government and the sense of comradery and willingness of other councils or council employees to help has been overwhelmingly positive. 

    I was told before working in local government that it was “a different field altogether”.  Now that I am on the inside and have worked for a few different councils, I can say that it is different, in a good way.

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

    Camping has always been our family’s thing.  About 17 years ago we decided we wanted to drive every dirt road in Australia, and to camp at every beach.  So, travelling particularly remotely, has been a focus.

    I used to do a few fun runs each year, but I’ve switched over to the mountain bike now.  A group of 6 of us are riding the Mawson Trail, which runs from Blinman to Adelaide, about 900km.  We’re doing it in two- and three-day segments and are aiming to finish it by the end of this year.

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