Tell us about the journey to your current role and what it this role entails?
My journey across the Queensland Public Sector (QPS) has been colourful, if I can make an attempt at selecting a descriptive word. Following completion of my tertiary education and practical experience in the private sector, I commenced in the QPS as a HR Graduate Officer in a graduate program at the Department of Education, Training and the Arts (DETA) as it was then. It was through that particular experience that had inculcated in me a true sense of diversity in the QPS as we had a network of HR Graduate Officers working on projects across a range of geographically dispersed locations, as well as having a real mix of experiences and ethnicities in our team. Since that time, I have worked at a range of public sector agencies, large and small, and across a combination of Government department and statutory authority environments. Through the positions that I have held, I have been fortunate to work in a range of HR functions such as organisational development and HR operational and industrial relations focussed roles. My current role is Manager HR Operational Services at the Public Trustee, where I manage HR generalist functions in a partnering model with the business – including employee and industrial relations advisory services, recruitment, policy development, workplace health and safety (and injury management), and workforce reporting / analytics. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy my role from the depth and variety of challenges it can bring – as no two days may ever be the same!
Can you describe a project you are working on/recently completed, and any key challenges you have faced along the way and how they were overcome?
Following a secondment to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) in 2017, I returned to the Public Trustee in 2018 and was involved in developing the annual HR Services Operational Plan – in alignment with the agency’s Strategic Plan. I took great joy in this activity as I galvanised the team through workshops, and facilitated these using design thinking and asking questions from the eFire coaching model. To ensure that we stayed on track and that the projects we developed were in support of the Strategic Plan and its imperatives, we took a customer-centric approach and I constantly asked the team questions such as ‘what would the client say if they were sitting in the room with us’ and ‘what are the positive impacts for our frontline services in order to make a difference for our customers’? This was important as we needed to balance an ‘outside in’ as opposed to the ‘inside out’ perspective that can sometimes be tempting to take, by focussing too much on internal processes – rather than the actual customer experience.
What did you learn from this project? What did it achieve?
Whilst this was more of an HR priorities planning activity, we have achieved synergy in terms of our developed initiatives and key performance indicators, by ensuring that they supported the objectives under the agency’s Strategic Plan, which included elements such as ‘develop increased workforce agility through knowledge management, workforce mobility, embedded diversity strategies and flexible work practices’. Our initiatives integrated seamlessly with the operational initiatives of business areas, and included a focus on talent acquisition and management, and embedding diversity strategies and practices into our agency’s recruitment processes and capability development for managers.
What excites you most about the future?
If I could opt for one word, it would be ‘uncertainty’. We live in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world and with uncertainty comes opportunity. As a business professional, my great passion is in working across the business and helping organisations to realise and seize these opportunities by maximising their human capital potential.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to further their career in government, what would it be?
A very wise executive leader once said to me, ‘be the master of your own destiny’. Those are very powerful words and have stayed with me through my sojourns, providing me with a career compass to help point true North. For anyone looking to further their career in government, I would provide this advice in three lines of thought:
- Encourage the heart – find your strengths and turn them into your passion;
- Stay the course – once you’ve made a plan, commit to it and follow through; and
- Be integrity personified – without integrity, there is no foundation for leadership.
Where do you look to for further education? E.g. articles, podcasts, news sources, courses – e.g. University, online, internal etc?
I tend to read from a range of sources and on a variety of topics. These include articles online from Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and Forbes. I also enjoy watching Ted Talks on YouTube (bless technology) from business leaders and motivational speakers.
Tangentially, I take an interest in law (i.e. employment law and others) and regularly read case law, judgements and decisions from jurisdictions across Australia.