• 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.

  • 27 Apr 2021 11:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Stephanie Tramontin, Team Leader, People Experience at City of Adelaide about her role, career background, and her advice for stepping outside your comfort zone.

    What is your role? Describe a typical day.

    My role is Team Leader, People Experience at the City of Adelaide. Our people are the most important part of my role and strengthening connections is how I work to ensure our people experience is great. My team works to help our people be the best they can be at work, inspiring our leaders to take care of themselves, to ensure they can take care of their people.

    Every day for me is different – and that is what I love about it! It is important to me that my team remain flexible and adaptable to what is happening for our people and always have fun in our approach.

    Just a couple of the things we are working on that I think will be pivotal for the next few years are:

    • Designing and delivering internal culture surveys and pulse checks. This involves working across the organisation to leverage our internal capability, systems and data.
    • Working with our people to broaden their capability in understanding and managing their wellbeing to improve performance.
    • Connecting our people through different avenues like face to face small group conversations and sharing personal stories via our daily news platform.

    What’s your career background?

    I have worked in the learning and development, organisational development, diversity and inclusion and culture change space for just over 10 years and held influential roles at SA Water, Yarra City Council (Victoria) and City of Adelaide. I have been leading teams for 6 out of the 10 years and absolutely love motivating and inspiring others to be their best selves at work.

    My qualifications include a Diploma of Human Resources, Cert IV in Training and Assessment and HBDI Accreditation. I am continuously looking for new information and ideas that I usually find via TED Talks, industry webinars or blogs and my personal network.

    What made you nominate for the People and Culture Network Committee?

    I was looking for an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, broaden my network and hopefully find moments where I might be able to share knowledge, ideas or experiences with others.

    Is there anything you want to achieve now that you are on the committee?

    A measure of success for me would be knowing that I have connected other people in the Network who can share their experiences to learn from each other. Building connections is essential for maintaining our wellbeing and finding ways to be more effective in our roles.

    What’s your advice for someone looking to step outside of their comfort zone?

    Practice self-compassion – we too easily judge ourselves, compare ourselves to others and don’t give ourselves enough credit. Talk positively about your contribution and how you influence moments for yourself and others. You’ve got this.

    What do you like to do in your leisure time?

    I have two courageous daughters, Daisy (4) and Winnie (2) who I adore – most of my time outside of work is spent with family and friends – there is always a playground or an activity to keep the whole family entertained!

  • 29 Mar 2021 2:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month we caught up with Adrian Ralph, General Manager - Asset Management Services at City of Charles Sturt about his role, career background, and his experience with the Executive Leaders Program.

    What is your role and what does it involve?

    General Manager – Asset Management Services

    My team and I manage the civil infrastructure, property infrastructure, open space & club/sporting facilities, field services, asset management planning, fleet services and waste & sustainability. 

    What does a typical day look like for you?

    Every day is generally quite varied and different, with the only real constants being Council meetings, Committee meetings and our monthly reviews of our performance with my staff. In Asset Management Services there is always a new challenge to work on, whether that be an issue or improvement that residents want addressed, working with staff to evolve and improve our strategy and service delivery, or working with Elected Members to ensure our service meets the needs of the community.

    What is your career background?

    I am a Metallurgical Engineer, having studied this at the Levels (now Mawson Lakes) campus at Uni SA and I am also a certified Project Manager.

    I spent the last 5 years in the mining services sector, most recently working as the Global Director of Assets & Fleet at Boart Longyear. Prior to that I have worked in Asset Management consulting with Babcock and Engineering & Asset Management in heavy industry with Boral and Sims Metal.

    You are part of our 2021 Executive Leaders Program (XLP) cohort – how are you finding the program? Any highlights you’d like to share?

    The program is great. It is very challenging and thought provoking, and Andrew from Uncharted Leadership is a great facilitator. We have a great cohort that are now very comfortable and open in discussing the XLP topics and challenges we face in our workplace, which makes the experience even better. I highly recommend it to anyone considering it.

    As someone who is relatively new to the local government sector, how do you meet new people and network with others in the sector?

    The XLP has been a good starting point. Additionally, the collaboration work that the Cities of Charles Sturt, Marion & Port Adelaide Enfield has provided great opportunities to meet and work with others. LG Professionals SA & LGA events are great for networking and sharing ideas too.

    What do you like to do outside of work?

    I road cycle regularly to keep fit and I love to travel with friends & family, but this has been a bit restricted lately. Usually we try to escape the Adelaide winter to Asia or Northern Australia, but Asia has clearly been crossed off the list for this year. I also have a family farm on Kangaroo Island, so I try to get over there as often as I can too.

  • 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.

Mailing Address: 148 Frome Street ADELAIDE SA 5000   Phone: 08 8224 2080   Email: admin@lgprofessionalssa.org.au

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