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.