• 22 Feb 2021 3:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Dr Helen Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer at Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council and found out about her career background, why collaboration is important and some initiatives council is working on. 

    As Chief Executive Officer at Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council – what does a typical day look like for you?

    I am not sure there is such a thing as a typical day. It can go from early morning through to the late evening. I can have a week that is packed with community and other meetings, and then a week with very few appointments.  Between meetings time is spent supporting staff in fulfilling their responsibilities, managing expenditure and developing and critiquing projects. 

    In my position it is about taking the long view about the organisation and the broader community needs and opportunities.  Working with elected members to implement the Council’s strategy and specifically with the Mayor to communicate it to the general public, engage with state and federal elected members across a whole range of issues. 

    What is your career background to date? 

    Varied! I spent time in academia before joining the mining sector working for 17 years in environment and social responsibility in various parts of the world.  Then returned to Australia and joined local government.

    We’re thrilled to have you as part of the program for our 2021 Annual State Conference. Can you tell us a bit about what factors are essential to successful collaboration? 

    Respect; listening; debating and deciding.

    Why is collaboration important?

    The best ideas, outcomes and commitment come from collaboration.

    What is the most exciting initiative that Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council is currently involved in? Any big projects on the horizon? 

    $40million of stormwater infrastructure; A stakeholder engagement project with 15 communities to decide what to do with under-utilised buildings that don’t meet current standards and are not accessible to all members of the communities in which they are located.

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

    Gardening; Sogetsu Ikebana; mentor to my nieces & nephew.

  • 14 Dec 2020 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we chatted to Pam Jackson, General Manager, Strategy and Business Services at City of Holdfast Bay about her role and council's recent win at the Federation Awards.

    What is your role and what does it involve?

    I am the General Manager, Strategy and Business Services, at the City of Holdfast Bay.  I am responsible for a broad portfolio of functions including: Strategy, Governance and Risk, People and Culture, Information Technology, Finance and Risk.

    Congratulations on your recent win at the Federation Awards and our Leadership Excellence Awards earlier this year. Can you tell us a bit about the project?

    The awards were won for the partnership the City of Holdfast Bay has developed with the Kaurna Nation.  The City has a rich heritage of both indigenous and European history.  A key vision for our Council is to preserve and celebrate our indigenous history, and to be a leader in aboriginal reconciliation.  A key challenge in reconciliation, and in promoting a greater understanding of indigenous culture, is giving Traditional Owners the opportunity to “tell their truth” and celebrate their culture.  In order to achieve this the City of Holdfast Bay and Kaurna partnered to deliver two key initiatives.  The first was the repatriation of ancestral remains in Tulukutangga/Kingston Park in August 2019.  This was the first time a repatriation had occurred on council land in South Australia.  The second was the truth telling exhibition “Tiati Wangakanthi Kumangka (Truth Telling Together)”.  The first of its kind in South Australia, the exhibition details the colonisation of South Australia from an indigenous perspective.  The significance of this exhibition was recognised by winning the 2020 Museum and Galleries Overall National Award.

    What does it mean to you, your council, and your community to be recognised for this partnership?

    To be recognised for this partnership is an honour.  It provides a platform to bring awareness to the truth of the Kaurna people in their own voice.  It recognises the injustices the Kaurna people have suffered and it celebrates the importance of Kaurna culture to the history of the City of Holdfast Bay and South Australia. 

    The award also demonstrates the important role the local government sector can play in social issues previously deemed to be the responsibility of Federal or State governments.  Local governments are the closest tier of government to our communities and are in the unique position of being able to see the social change that can be achieved through their leadership.

    What advice would you give to someone thinking of nominating for the 20th Annual Leadership Excellence Awards?

    I would strongly encourage that person to apply.  Shining a light on the work the local government sector does, and the impact these achievements have on communities, is so important.  It shows the true value of the sector.  On a personal level, while not everyone can win, the process of developing your application makes you reflect on what you have been able to achieve and how that has positively impacted the people within your city.  These successes should be acknowledged and celebrated.

    What’s next for you? Are you working on any projects you’d like to share with us?

    I am currently working alongside Kaurna to revitalise, protect and enhance Tulukutangga and the sacred Tjilbruke Spring.  The spring site is part of the extensive Tjilbruke Dreaming Story and a place of reflection and mourning for the Kaurna people.  For thousands of years the permanent freshwater spring has bubbled away in the reserve and on the beach, once forming a freshwater coastal lagoon. The Tjilbruke Spring has been neglected for decades and currently flows through a pipe to the coast.  The project is seeking to return the spring to flow as it has historically, and to rejuvenate the native vegetation surrounding the spring.

    What do you enjoy doing outside of local government?

    I enjoy painting, reading and decorating my house.

  • 23 Nov 2020 12:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Jacki Done, Manager People & Culture at City of Charles Sturt about her role, why professional development is important and her role as Chair of our People and Culture Network.

    What is your role and what does it involve?

    I am the Manager People & Culture at the City of Charles Sturt.  Our team partners with our organisation, working to ensure we maintain a highly capable and motivated workforce.

    You’re currently the chair of the People and Culture Network Committee, can you tell us about the role of this committee?

    We started the year by changing our name from the HR Network to the People & Culture Network, the purpose of this change was to be more inclusive and attract all the amazing people who work within the People & Culture space.  Our committee is focused on connecting P&C practitioners across the sector and providing opportunities to collaborate and grow capability.

    What is your favourite LG Professionals SA memory?

    It is from earlier this year when the world turned upside down, and our network had to pivot and our focus shifted from providing our quarterly forums to wanting to provide support to our peers as we navigated all that COVID-19 threw at us.  In March we introduced fortnightly P&C Informal Zoom Catch Ups – there was no agenda, no guest speakers, we created a space for P&C practitioners across the sector to come together to ask for help, to share, to listen, to just be able to talk and seek reassurance from colleagues.

    These have continued throughout the year and are now held monthly.

    Why do you think it is important to make time for professional development?

    No one should ever stop developing, the world is changing too quickly to think we know it all. I know time is a precious commodity for all of us, but making time for professional development means you are always bringing your best self to the work that you do.

    What advice would you give to someone looking to take the next step in their career?

    Believe in yourself, take a leap of faith and surround yourself with people you trust and that will provide you with constructive feedback along the way.

    Lastly – what do you enjoy doing outside of local government?

    This year I have become a bit of a KX Pilates junkie, it is my new thing and I absolutely love it. You can find me at the Glenelg Studio three or four times a week.

  • 26 Oct 2020 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Meisha Quinn, Manager Corporate Services at District Council of Cleve about her role, stepping out of your comfort zone and her professional development.

    What is your role and what does it involve?

    My role as Manager Corporate Services provides management, leadership and strategic advice to ensure the District Council of Cleve meets its financial, accounting and reporting requirements.  I am also responsible for the management and supervision of the administration team that consists of 6 staff who are responsible for various roles and responsibilities. 

    What was the attraction to local government?

    I had been working for Bank SA for 8 years in Cleve when the position on Council as an Administration Officer presented itself.  I was ready for a change and felt attracted to working for local government so I could contribute to our local community.  Not long after joining Council, our local Bank SA branched closed, so it was good timing in the end.  

    You're currently completing the Emerging Leaders Program and are already thinking about which leadership program you should undertake next - why do you feel it's important to invest in your own professional development? 

    Investing and making time for your own professional development is important to continue to grow and adapt in the work place.  By undertaking these programs, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses and learn the necessary skills, tools and knowledge to be able to grow into an effective leader and role model for your peers.

    How has the Emerging Leaders Program made you step outside of your comfort zone?

    Being the only rural participant from a small council in our group for 2020, I felt a little intimated at the beginning.  However, I quickly started to get to know everyone and have enjoyed the chance to network and make connections with fellow participants. 

    What advice would you give to someone just starting on their leadership journey?

    You will have times where you may doubt yourself or your abilities as a leader. When this happens, take a deep breath, remember that you were given this opportunity because of what others see in you and believe in yourself

    Have a solid support network around you including at work and at home.  If you do not have a supportive Manager, seek out someone you admire and ask them to be your Mentor.

    Leadership has its ups and downs.  It can be difficult and frustrating at times but also very rewarding when you and your team achieve success. 

    What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time? 

    I enjoy keeping fit, spending time with my family and friends and watching a good girl flick.

  • 25 Aug 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we chatted with Jamie Dunnicliff, Strategic Procurement Lead, Cities of Charles Sturt and Marion about being recognised as the Emerging Leader of the Year at the recent Leadership Excellence Awards, and his career thus far.

    What is your role and what does it involve?

    My role oversees the Strategic Procurement function at City of Charles Sturt and City of Marion. Both teams operate as one larger team across the two councils to support and facilitate procurement activities. I split my time across the two councils to oversee the teams and support the business functions.

    What do you enjoy the most about working in local government?

    I really enjoy the tangible outcomes of the projects and processes you get the opportunity to be a part of, knowing that the community can directly benefit from these initiatives provides a high level of satisfaction.

    Joining a sector where there is a high level of collaboration and support from employees within the council and across other councils is an added benefit of the sector.

    Congratulations on your recent award for Emerging Leader of the Year at the LG Professionals SA 19th Annual Leadership Excellence Awards. What does this award mean to you?

    Thank you, it’s quite a humbling award to win, I’m greatly appreciative of my leaders taking the time to nominate me for the prestigious award. From my personal perspective, I’m thankful for the terrific opportunity to have such a diverse role. My team have been terrific to lead over the past 19 months, which has made the assimilation into Local Government very easy. Having two closely aligned organisations has also assisted in being able to work seamlessly at each office. The Executive Leadership at each council have also been incredibly welcoming and supportive of the new role.

    What do you think makes a good leader?

    I believe good leadership is a mix of many different attributes. Most importantly it’s about the connection to your team members, the understanding and open communication with them to all be inclusive and supportive in our roles. Being able to lead by example is another key element.

    A strong focus on the emotional intelligence aspect of leadership has been an important focus for me personally, whereby my staff and I can enjoy a very healthy working relationship, whilst also having a strong foundation of care and well-being, this has been especially important over the past few months during COVID.

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

    Now that I’ve retired from cricket, I enjoy playing golf each weekend, I’m also President of the Golf Club, which takes up a bit of my spare time. I also coach my son’s Under 8’s football team at Flagstaff Hill Football Club, which is terrific fun.

  • 29 Jun 2020 12:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we chatted with Nat Traeger, Chief Executive Officer, Kingston District Council about her career, being a long time supporter of LG Professionals SA and working at a rural council.

    We’ve been following your career journey for many years now – can you tell us where you started in local government and where you are today?

    Well it’s been a lengthy journey that has taken me to places and given me experiences I never would have imagined when growing up in the small rural community of Coonalpyn.  When I started (way back in 1987, quite obviously when I was 10 years old!) my late grandfather was an elected member and my late father was a community facilities team member of the then Coonalpyn Downs Council.  It was that exposure to local government and the opportunity to secure a role in my local community (I hadn’t adjusted well to city life) that saw me start as a casual in the Tintinara office, some 33 years ago.

    Casual turned to permanent, amalgamations came 10 years later, and this directly resulted in opportunities to access varying and higher-level roles due to the increased size of the organisation.  Having by that time held customer service, administration, finance and human resource positions, I secured the Manager Corporate Services role with the now Coorong District Council in 2007.

    My natural passion towards community development saw me start managing a few new and different projects for the Council.  The Acting CEO at the time, and now one of my highly regarded mentors John Coombe, expanded my portfolio and I became the Director Community & Corporate in 2011.

    By that time, I had two amazing daughters, relocated to Tailem Bend, built a gorgeous house on the River Murray and wasn’t contemplating any sort of career change.  I’d also never truly aspired to be a CEO; I was comfortable at the Director level and never actually backed myself to take that next step – until last year.

    A cancer diagnosis and personal issues made me really think about my future and readjust some of my life and career goals.  Overcoming life challenges gives you confidence to tackle anything, so I decided to go for it!

    I was fortunate to secure the Kingston District Council CEO role mid last year.  The sea change has been so much more than I’d anticipated.  I’ve never looked back nor regretted my decision to take a major deviation in both my career and personal life.

    You’ve been a member of LG Professionals SA for over 10 years! Being involved with our rural management challenge, leadership excellence awards, network forums and conferences, what’s your highlight so far?

    You just can’t go past the leadership excellence awards!  I love the challenge of pitting your projects and achievements against others in the sector.  From recognising your team by making them the subject of an award nomination, to developing the submission, finalists’ announcements and ultimately being part of the annual gala awards dinner is affirmation and recognition of a job well done at the highest level for our industry.

    The Kingston team had not participated in the leadership excellence awards prior to my arrival and the fact that we are a finalist this year, up against two large metro councils has been a fun-filled and rewarding journey.  It makes you realise that it doesn’t matter how large your budget is or what resources you have on hand, the collaborative teamwork that you are doing is making a difference to your community and we should all take every opportunity to recognise and reward that.

    How cool is it that thanks to COVID-19, ALL our team members can join in the celebrations given that the virtual event is virtually free?  The only minor disappointment is not being able to frock-up but we are still looking forward to some light refreshments and being more inclusive with who can attend the award ceremony.

    Now that all has been revealed and Kingston District Council were announced the winner of the Excellence in Local Economic Development award last Friday, what do you think this award means to the Council, your staff and the community?

    You only need look at our Facebook page to see what this means to our community; our award win has been one of our most engaging posts this year, reaching an audience of over 3,300 people.  In this time where we are working on community connectedness and recovery, this sort of promotion and sense of pride has been a major boost for a region that has been doing it tough in 2020.  As for our council and staff, we are such a great team, that when the announcement was made and my acceptance speech was done, I came out to tears from the Mayor and a couple of the staff.  So yes, it meant a lot to have affirmation that bold decisions are recognised, worth it and vindicated at the local government logies!

    What would be your advice for others thinking of entering in the future?

    Take the Nike approach – just do it!  Think well in advance about the categories and their criteria and try and capture thoughts along the way to contribute towards the award submission.  Don’t leave it until the last minute, involve the team through brainstorming and input into the nomination and lastly, give it the time it deserves.  Now I have given away my trade secrets, I’d better start working on our 2021 nomination!  

    Why do you like being part of the LG Professionals SA community?

    The level of investment versus the rate of return is value for money in terms of opportunities to network, access to professional development and being part of a team of like-minded people and stakeholders with the ultimate end game of working for the community.  I would at some point in the future, like to have a more hands-on, higher level contribution to LG Professionals, whether that be through the Board, or other representational opportunities.

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

    The people – whether it’s your team, your contractors, your consultants, ratepayers (love them the most), community members, visitors, tourists – just so many different people.  Yes, they are at times our biggest challenge, but they are why we do what we do, to make things better for the people.

    In terms of being in a leadership role in local government, it is being able to provide a solution to a problem that might generally be out of reach individually.  For example, following a devastating spate of male suicides in a short period of time in my previous role, I was able to respond by founding and leading the ‘Conversations Matter’ Suicide Prevention Network.  At a time when the community needs you the most, being able to deliver outcomes which are effective and truly make a difference is very rewarding.

    In more recent time, being able to lead the local recovery for our Keilira community ravaged by bushfire in late 2019, and knowing how much those property owners have appreciated you going that extra mile, because you are local government and that’s what we do, has been the most satisfying thing about my new role to date.

    During these uncertain times, what do you see as the biggest challenge for your council, and regional councils more generally?

    Our Council area is unique in many ways and we are faced with a different set of challenges to metropolitan councils, and in indeed many rural ones.  We have a seasonal population and economy, an ageing demographic with over 100kms of coastline with some 25kms actively being managed during a period of impactful climate change weather events.  Further, we have a vast rural and agricultural area which expects, and rightfully so, a serviceable and well maintained sealed and unsealed road network.

    Notwithstanding the on-going general challenges, by far the biggest hurdle we need to get over is our marine infrastructure in Kingston and Cape Jaffa; balancing the community’s expectations with what we can reasonably deliver and afford with a small income base is a conundrum that we are faced with every day.

    That coupled with developing acceptable and affordable strategies to help our community recover from a dual bushfire and pandemic crisis, with very limited resources will remain a challenge for an indefinite period.

    When reflecting on regional councils more generally, I’d suggest sustainable asset management, attraction and retention of good quality and skilled staff combined with maximising tourism, post disaster stimulus and economic investment opportunities will be common issues.

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

    I love doing what we are all now being encouraged to do – explore your own back yard, whether that is literally or figuratively.

    A good old road-trip, weekend camping adventure, camp-oven cooking, fishing, geo-caching, shopping, 4WD’ing and cruising along the beach.  If I am not able to get out and about, I enjoy pottering in my recently acquired house, cooking, socialising, table tennis, tending to my ‘succulent farm’ and catching up with family and friends on social media.

    My absolute, ultimate favourite past-time is op-shopping – just love a bargain or finding that quirky treasure that you can re-purpose or restore!

  • 25 May 2020 4:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we chatted with Marianne Tucker, Manager Organisational Development, District Council of Grant about her role and working at a rural council.

    What is your current role and what does it involve? What does a typical day look like for you?

    I’m currently the Manager Organisational Development with the District Council of Grant and operate within a small team offering strategic and operational expertise in the areas of organisational development, human resources, industrial relations, work health and safety, and risk management.

    There is no typical day in my current role which is one of the reasons I have chosen to continue to work in local government - I like the variety and challenges that it brings!

    What attracted you to work in local government? 

    I honestly didn’t know much about local government when I applied and achieved the position of Costing Clerk after completing studies in accountancy. However, it didn’t take long to realise the diversity of job roles in local government.

    My career has taken me through roles in finance to Rates Officer, design and implementation of an electronic records management system for the then District Council of Mount Gambier. Our Council ‘consolidated’ with the neighbouring District Council of Port MacDonnell to form the District Council of Grant, and my new role became Senior Administration Officer.

    From there I developed a passion for human resources and moved into the role of Manager Organisational Development. During this time, I undertook study and achieved HR Certification through the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC).

    It is this diversity of roles and the opportunity for growth and learning that motivates me to continue in Local Government, and to advocate it as a career to others.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in the sector, especially in a rural council? 

    It is not boring! I enjoy the diversity and challenges of working in a rural Council with not only the office and depot but an Airport, a Saleyard, and a Community Complex at our largest township Port MacDonnell. In the regions, we are able to utilise our knowledge and skills across a range of issues, and it is satisfying to contribute widely and to be continually learning.

    You’re a member of our People and Culture Network. How important has it been to stay connected with this network during recent times?

    Local Government is constantly evolving and therefore networking is key to navigating through the challenges and celebrating the milestones.

    Since COVID-19, the People and Culture Network have provided a regular ZOOM networking session for HR practitioners. This has not only been tremendously valuable from the information sharing and discussion perspective, but also for the wellbeing aspect of participants.

    Can you share a highlight from your experiences with LG Professionals SA?

    Through my years as a HR practitioner, I have been involved with and advocated for inclusion of regional and rural practitioners in People and Culture Network discussion groups, networking and working parties not only to contribute and participate, but to learn from metropolitan colleagues.

    However, distance, time and travel have been a continuing issue for myself and other rural and regional practitioners.

    The recent ZOOM networking meetings that LG Professionals SA has facilitated have been a game-changer, presenting an additional option for future People and Culture Network calendared events. 

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of local government? 

    My husband and I have three beautiful children and living in the great South East of the state we enjoy exploring the pine forests, natural forests, beaches and of course the Blue Lake and Valley Lakes area. I like to unwind in the garden and enjoy being creative.

    I choose to give back to the local community and have been on the St Martins Lutheran College Council for over 15 years, currently Chair, and also a number of sporting and community groups over the years.

    Currently my passion is acrylic and watercolour painting, and I am looking forward to completing my current creation (which has been in the works for some time) and especially excited to visit overseas art exhibitions in the future!

  • 27 Apr 2020 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we chatted with Hugh McIntosh, Manager, Marketing Operations from City of Adelaide about his role, being a LG Professionals SA Board Member and his thoughts on staying connected.

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

    I enjoy a breadth of responsibilities including leading three full-service ‘marcom’ teams that partner with the wide variety of departments across the City of Adelaide, supporting our three commercial businesses (U-Park, the Adelaide Aquatic Centre and the North Adelaide Golf Course) and supporting our Marketing Strategy Specialist. As a bit of a marketing-nerd, I also enjoy leading the marketing for the soon to be redeveloped Central Market Arcade.

    You are one of our newest Board Members – what inspired you to nominate? What do you hope to achieve as a Board Member? Any advice for others considering this path?

    As a privileged attendee of the inaugural Executive Leaders Program, I was moved by the professionalism of the course, the relevance to my needs and those of local government executives and surprised by the impact it had on attendees: literally life-changing for some. With a life-long belief in ‘giving back’ to that which you value, when nominations for the board went out, it was an easy decision.

    Whilst community focused nature of local government makes the work innately rewarding, to further support and develop those who play a fundamental role in making our cities and regions better places to live, beyond my council’s boundaries, is a main objective for my time on the board.   

    For those considering a similar direction, my advice would be to set your sights high in local government, seek the counsel of those who inspire you and continually ask yourself: what else could I be doing to make a difference? Actively networking regularly with peers from other councils will help broaden your knowledge whilst extending your support base.

    Being part of the Executive Leaders Program Alumni how do you think the learnings from this program are relevant in the current COVID-19 world? What would you say to others thinking of undertaking the Executive Leaders Program?

    In the opening half hour of this six-day program, the concept of ‘VUCA’ was introduced – a situation and response model where how much is known of a situation and how well the outcomes of actions can be predicted are key metrics. It is safe to say, this pandemic has us at the extreme ‘Volatile’ quarter – a situation that’s unexpected / unstable and compounded by an unknown duration. 

    The course developed participants leadership ‘tool kits’ to manage themselves and others in increasingly unpredictable situations or scenarios; embedding skills and approaches I have leaned upon heavily of late. Every participant was challenged to get out of their comfort zones, into their ‘productive zones of disequilibrium’, question their past patterns of behaviours and thought processes and become agile leaders in the face of evolving, increasingly complex challenges.

    If you can attend this exceptional program, you absolutely should; you won’t come out the end of it the same, to you, your organisation and your team’s benefit.

    Can you share some tips for staying connected during these uncertain times?

    There is no shortage of advice and digital ‘connectivity’ tools flying around at present, so alongside these I say also keep it as simple. Whether introverts or extroverts, we have evolved as social beings. Working from home and social distancing can have unexpected impacts on wellbeing and health. Make sure you reach out to co-workers or your teams weekly at a minimum without an objective or purpose. Chew the fat, laugh about ‘that awkward Zoom meeting’ and generate those ‘water cooler moments’ that often only become apparent in their value when they disappear.

    For those with a step counter in their watch or device, if you’re anything like me you’ll have noticed how much more sedentary we’ve become when working from home. Personally, I’ve made a point of increasing exercise and breaks from the desk and done my best to reduce those fridge and pantry ‘drive-bys’!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?

    These days my spare time includes long family walks, catching up with our close-knit-neighbours, improving my ‘handy-man’ game and occasional travel, especially to Japan (for which I have a ceaseless fascination). That said and without doubt, Daddy-Daughter time is a biggest and most valued pastime.  

  • 24 Feb 2020 11:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we chatted to Adrian Skull, Chief Executive Officer, City of Marion about his role, and his thoughts on trust and collaboration.

    What is your current role, and what does it involve?

    I’m very lucky to be the City of Marion’s Chief Executive.  My primary responsibilities include working with staff and elected members to set the direction of our organisation; implementing and integrating the strategic direction of Council; making major corporate decisions; managing the overall operations and resources of Council; acting as the main point of communication between the Council and operations and being the public face of Council alongside the Mayor.

    I need to have a strong awareness of both the external and internal landscape; and in a changing world, a capacity to seize opportunities for collaboration that will benefit all parties to the partnership.  I need to be a cheerleader for our staff and a champion of the organisation’s values and have strong networks across the sector, State and Federal government, businesses and community groups.

    What is your career background to date?

    I’ve had a few career moves in my working life. After University (Flinders) I travelled for a year overseas and then joined the Army.  I served six years, finishing as a Captain.  During that time I married my beautiful wife and when I left the services we went to live in Switzerland where I worked in a Swiss Hotel Management College.  I ended up as the Academic Dean of the Domino Carlton Tivoli (DCT) College in Lucerne.

    Our twin boys were born in Switzerland – and after 4 years, we came home because, in our opinion, Australia is the best place to bring up children.  I ran my own training business for 3 years, and then joined BAE Systems as Tender Manager where I was put in charge of the Australian part of a global change program for the company.  Our third son came along during that time. After 5 years at BAE I left to be the HR Manager at the City of Charles Sturt and then I followed my then-CEO to Adelaide City Council.

    After ACC I ran my own consultancy business for about 9 years before I joined the City of Marion as GM.  I followed that job with the role of CEO of the District Council of Yankalilla and then 4 years ago I came back to Marion as CEO.

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government?

    I really love the community side of our sector.  I feel passionate about delivering for our community and they are genuinely at the forefront of everything we do.  

    We’re thrilled to have you as part of the program for our 2020 Annual State Conference. Can you tell us a bit about what factors are essential to successful collaboration? 

    Successful collaboration is not easy – and we’ve learnt that in our recent collaborations with Port Adelaide Enfield and Charles Sturt.   To succeed, it needs unwavering commitment from the CEOs of the collaborating organisations and regular reinforcement of that commitment to working together.  It’s not for everyone.  But when it works, the benefits are sensational.  You need trust (to be trustworthy and trusting), energy, focus, courage and the capacity to share a vision that will mean that sometimes you will benefit less than your partners – but overall you all come out in front.

    Why is collaboration important?

    In our sector we aren’t, or shouldn’t be, competitors.  When you really work together you will see the gains possible through creating synergy.  Every Council does many of the same things – and we duplicate resources to do those things.  If you collaborate you reduce cost – and the ratepayer gains. 

    What is the most exciting initiative that City of Marion is currently involved in? Any big projects on the horizon?

    There are lots.  We have a new football club facility at Morphettville in train and some exciting smart developments around the new Oaklands Railway station. In the near future, we are going to build an international standard BMX track and a new soccer facility on Major’s Road, O’Halloran Hill.  We will also be building a new sports hub and neighbourhood centre at Mitchell Park and we will be doing some exciting streetscape projects across the city.  Internally we will be investing resources into building better systems over the next few years. We’re also working to evolve our volunteering offerings to capture people who have lots to offer but don’t want to do the ‘traditional’ Council volunteering things – and we are planning for our future workforce which we think will be quite different for many roles.

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

    I love kayak fishing with my three sons.  We also watch our youngest play soccer for Cumberland in the Adelaide Premier League.  I love our diverse group of friends, and I love our family. My favourite night of the week isn’t Council meeting night (surprise!!) but our weekly ‘family dinner night’ when we all get together.

    My wife and I love to travel – and we do two or three weekend breaks every year. We will be getting a new dog this year, which we are excited about.  We lost our Labrador last year and we miss the pitter - patter of little feet in the house and the love that dogs bring.

  • 24 Jan 2020 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we spoke with Chris Campbell, Digital Communications Officer at City of Tea Tree Gully about his role, his recent experience completing our Emerging Leaders Program and how he is planning for the future.

    What is your current role and what does it involve?

    Digital Communications Officer. My focus is customer and employee digital experience - transforming services and bringing processes online for continuous improvement. This includes managing our online forms, CRM’s, website, reports and analytics. It’s a real mix between digital content creation and digital services.

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

    I’ve worked in local government for almost 7 years, all with the City of Tea Tree Gully. Previously I worked in media: TV News, 3 years at the ABC and 3 at Channel 9. My work there consisted of news video editing and news transmission. I made the move to local government to work on the ‘other-side’ of media, in what started out as a more traditional communications role. Quickly this transitioned into having a digital focus, and hence to the role I’m in today.

    What do you enjoy most about working in local government?

    I didn’t know a lot about local government before I started, but like a lot of people, quickly realised how much local government does. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of all the things that support a community, from the operational to the events and opportunities.

    I always find myself looking towards the future and sharing the possibilities of what could be and where we could go. So I suppose being a part of a team and organisation that’s working towards that, and looking at the best way to build a resilient, safe, innovative and sustainable place to live is exciting to be a part of.

    January is often a time for reflecting on the year that has passed and planning for the year ahead. What does this look like for you?

    2019 was a year to just get stuff done. I was pretty exhausted by Christmas and really enjoyed the holiday break. In an ideal world the plan for 2020 would be to spend more time planning, less time doing (on the business not in the business). I’m hoping to focus on presenting and sharing ideas, continue my own professional development and focus on where I can add the most value to the organisation.

    You recently completed our Emerging Leaders Program. What were your biggest takeaways from this program?

    I really enjoyed the course. For me there were two things that stood out.

    1. Weaved throughout the course structure were models and systems to support our understanding of behavioural & cognitive psychology, and how this relates to leadership, teamwork and organisational culture. I found the mix of these topics really engaging and it renewed my interest in personality profiles and psychology.
    2. The Team. The 2019 Emerging Leaders were an amazing group of people. We all connected and formed a close friendship. I feel that for all of us, as our careers evolve throughout local government, we now have an extended network to be able to lean on and collaborate with.

    What advice would you give someone who is thinking about doing the Emerging Leaders Program?

    Jump in. Admittedly there was probably more group/assignment work than I had previous imagined, but this is all part of the challenge. It’s a good course that explores workplace culture, who you are and how you fit within it. If not for the learnings, the network and friendships you make along the way are invaluable.

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

    Being a dad with 2 young children a lot of non-working time is spent with them. Bike riding, skateboarding, sports. But I love to travel and we try and get away to a national park a few times each year for camping, hiking and exploring the wilderness. Working on a computer for so much of my day, it’s always nice to get outdoors and enjoy the natural world. Catching up with mates and of course Netflix is also a nice way to relax.

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