Councillor Antonella Celi was first elected to the Mornington Peninsula Shire in 2010 and currently represents the Seawinds Ward. When she moved to the area in 2004 Antonella knew no-one and standing for local government was a fantastic way of connecting and getting to know her new community. She knows what it’s like to start from virtually having no experience and knowledge about local government to finally earning a place around the council table.
Antonella has found that by becoming involved with local government it has helped her realise the many qualities and skills that she has, especially the capacity to persist and advocate for issues relevant to her community.
Over time she has discovered a silent confidence in knowing that things are achievable and having a role in local government is important in delivering outcomes for the community. If you are thinking about standing for local government, her advice is “Do it!! Become familiar with all the traditional and modern tools available to you in your kit – and enjoy connecting with others through the networking opportunities that are available.”
Her advice for women thinking about standing for council is to start developing a social media presence online as a communication tool. Social media is a great way to connect with other women and support those who may be thinking about standing in future council elections. There is a lot to learn about utilising social media and online communication. So whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or a website, the capability to engage with others who are in local government or thinking of standing as a candidate in the future, opens up a whole new world of online interaction, learning and networking opportunities.
“I have found Facebook very effective as a communication tool and one that should not be underestimated in reaching out to those in the local area, the wider Australian community and people in other countries.
In the recent local government elections I used Facebook to engage with women who were standing as candidates through the ‘More Women for Local Government’ campaign page. It provided me with the opportunity to expand upon and interact with my networks in a way that was professionally beneficial and personally rewarding. In cultivating these online connections with others I found I could share my experiences as a councillor and as an election candidate in the myriad of messages, likes and comments that were posted daily on Facebook.
I was astounded at the level of support and comradeship shown by women who became involved with the page, whether as an election candidate, mentor, supporter or observer.
The responses showed how open women were to sharing their experiences online and offering help, support and opportunities to others who are interested in local government.
This latest election campaign has proved that social media has an important role to play for women keen to network and campaign in elections. It has changed my perceptions of social media for the better and for the future.”