Now you're a councillor

Now you're a councillor

A site for women councillors in Victorian local government

She learned that …

Cr Wrigglesworth was inspired to run for Council in 2016 after she participated in the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program

Leadership is recognising that when you have an opportunity, ability or skill to contribute that can create a good outcome, a better or alternative future, leadership is knowing that it is then time to put your hand up to get things done. Not sitting on your hands, or looking the other way or hoping for the best.

Sitting on the sidelines ‘throwing stones’ or showing little to no inclination to work with others to collaborate or be part of a solution just isn’t part of my value set. I have a saying that you should “wait for no cavalry”, because no one person, system, government or institution is just waiting around to fix or save you.

I love working with communities to recognise their ability to be their own cavalries.

I have been heavily involved in my community (boards and volunteering roles) in the Greater Bendigo regions for the past 9 years since moving from Melbourne to the region as a classic ‘Tree Changer’. The power of volunteering in a small town blew me away, that is how I started rolling my sleeves up to get things done. I wanted to be part of my own town’s success. I had skills to offer and it was a great way to meet my local community. After all I chose to raise my family here, in a sense I feel an obligation to be part of making it a better community for those who live here and those that are yet to come.

Professionally I have been in senior management roles within the healthcare sector for many years, with a particular focus on governance and strategy. It has provided a nice fit to transition into Local Government and understanding the complexities and strategic thinking required to be a Councillor.

The responsibilities that come with being a leader mean ensuring you communicate and are available to listen, and knowing when it’s time to make decisions and take action. Accountability is incredibly important, I am a big believer of the saying “what you permit, you promote”, so the power in being a role model should never be underestimated.

I would advise new councillors to make time to communicate what you have been doing. The workload, reading and meetings are a big part of Council life and it is easy to get swallowed up in it all. However, for local government representation to remain relevant I believe as Councillor we should look to constantly check in with our constituents. Online and social media technology can be our best friends, use them!

Write columns for local newsletters, remind the community why they elected you! They need to feel connected and understand the matters that you are representing them on.

There is lots of training or support available and I recommend joining the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and undertaking the Company Directors Course. Council is essentially a board of directors, it should consider it’s duties and obligations as such, so governance skills and ability should be given a high priority in your training.

Media training is also invaluable, ensure you know how to ‘speak of the cuff’ when approached by media outlets, after all it is another great way to connect with your constituents.