Tell us about your role at Inner West Council
My role at Inner West Council is Business Improvement. I have been at Inner West Council for just over 3 years and I have enjoyed every aspect of it.
Business Improvement, I’ve discovered, is no idealised abstraction. It’s a vigorous, yeasty and sometimes radical process of turning good ideas into better ideas, refining communication channels, ;replacing rusty systems with leading edge technology, and making the whole machine purr. Of course, our natural human resistance to change is an inevitable obstacle, but if you closely collaborate with the people who are most intimately familiar with the existing processes, then people not only buy into change but contribute to it. I can’t stress enough the value of “collaborative collaboration" too, where collaboration runs right across functional teams, documenting, informing, and providing complete transparency.
Can you tell us about some of your current projects which you are particularly excited about?
I work in Parks Planning and Recreation and have been part of the Council’s Project Team for our new booking system. The booking system is Optimo, and it has changed the way we manage bookings. It is a web-based, fully integrated software platform for managing venues, events, facilities, and resources. From my perspective, it enables seamless, transparent reporting and monitoring. During the COVID lockdown in 2020 and 2021, having web-based systems ensured work continuity. That was a relief for me during those challenging times.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Learning how to lean into change, to embrace it. At IWC we have seen it all; amalgamation, changes in management, organisational restructuring, introduction of new technology and systems. When everything is in flux, it's important to do more than surf the waves or tread water, but to swim. You need to become an agent of change yourself. If you contribute ideas in a meaningful way, and become part of the process, you can grow personally and professionally. You need to change your mindset and evolve with these changes or get left behind. Of course, I've been lucky that all the changes at IWC have been very positive, and that we have a strong, supportive, and most importantly a listening organisational culture as bedrock. With strong leadership and values, Inner West Council is a great place to work.
Why did you decide to work in local government?
I never wanted to work for local government and that is the truth. I am a creature of the corporate world. Loved every moment in that high-powered lane, first with Westfield and then 10 years with David Jones head office. When DJs moved its headquarters to Melbourne, I really wasn’t sure what to do next.
As it happened, my recruitment agency submitted my resume to Inner West Council. I successfully interviewed for the role, and here we are. The plan that I didn’t plan turned out to be the perfect plan. Every year I am enjoying my role more, learning more, achieving more.
When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?
I have a strong entrepreneurial streak, and I have some small personal projects outside work that fuel my creative motivation. Right now, I’m learning the complexities of app development through Hyper which is exciting. On the lifestyle front, I am a pretty good amateur chef. My friends are always kind about my cooking, but then they would be. But your family can be your most brutal critics, and mine are fans, so far. I wouldn’t call myself a trendsetting tastemaker, but rather a taste-seeker, willing to experiment with new ingredients all the time. I'm an exponent of cultural cuisine, too, and I’m rediscovering my native Fijian Asian heritage through dishes passed down through generations.
Why did you join LG Professionals, NSW?
LG Professionals really offer members peer networking, professional support, and it provides industry insights that give us some practical and professional educational pathways whilst enabling friendships along the way. I like how it has expanded my professional network and gives me access to the latest updates in local government and connections to industry leaders. I would encourage council workers to join up as members and expand your network.
Interested in joining LG Professionals, NSW? Join here.