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.