‘Always have belief in yourself’: advice to young women wanting to be public sector leaders

International Women's Day logo

In a recent video released to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, women from every Australian public service gave their advice to young women who want to become public sector leaders.

Nicole Hurwood — Northern Territory Government

Nicole Hurwood

Nicole Hurwood
Deputy Chief Executive of Organisational Services, Territory Families 

Nicole Hurwood encouraged young women to remember that ‘what you do matters’.

‘Every person has value and a role to play in leadership.

No matter where you’re at in the organisation, good leadership will be seen and is noticed.’

She encouraged young women to be agile, responsive and to embrace change as opportunity.

‘Get out and about. Network. Get to know what other people in the sector and across your agency do.

It’ll help you do your job better if you can connect up.’

Jane Spring — NSW Government

Jane Spring

Jane Spring
Chief Operating Officer, NSW Public Service Commission

Jane Spring’s advice to young women was:

‘To know your value proposition, to know what you’re good at, the sort of environment where you work effectively, and then really go for it.’

And she said that when you become successful, be prepared to support others — ‘to pay it forward if you like, and to look after other people’s careers as well’.

Catherine Fletcher — Western Australia Government

Catherine Fletcher

Catherine Fletcher
Information Commissioner, Office of the Information Commissioner

Catherine Fletcher’s advice to young women was that ‘the path to leadership is not always a direct line’.

‘Sometimes — either out of choice or necessity — we have to take a sideways step. It might be family, it might be parents, it might be opportunities of a non-career kind.

So don’t be afraid to take those sideways steps, they’re still valuable.’

Other senior public sector leaders interviewed included Associate Professor Francine Douce (Tasmanian Government), Celia Tran (Victorian Government), Trish Woolley (Queensland Government), Anita Perkins PSM (ACT Government), Erma Ranieri PSM FIPAA (South Australian Government), Gemma Lake (Northern Territory Government), Anne Hayes (NSW Government), Elizabeth Kelly PSM FIPAA (Australian Government), Cathy Taylor FIPAA (South Australian Government), Kathy Baker (Tasmanian Government), and Annie Volkering (Victorian Government.

A link to the video of these fantastic women is provided below.

Advice for young women
aspiring to leadership