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2022 Women in Local Government Award Winner

Broken Hill City Council

Showcase female leader—Kathryn Graham

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Broken Hill City Council—Showcase female leader—Kathryn Graham

The Nominee

Nominated by her council, Kathryn Graham is a constructive leader whose influence is driving significant cultural change in a male-dominated work environment. In rural and regional Australia, it is often difficult to recruit strong leaders with a commitment to remain in a small town and Kathryn is committed to living in—and making a difference—in the regional centre of Broken Hill.

Kathryn's place in the strategic roll out of cultural change has been integral to the Council's commitment to "the right people, in the right place at the right time." Kathryn has been able to navigate many difficult conversations to lift and encourage the workforce to deliver improved customer service and workplace outcomes.

Kathy's background in environment and mining has resulted in her being able to navigate primarily male-dominated industries. She is also well respected in the Broken Hill Arts community as an artist (potter), was the former Chair of West Darling Arts Committee, and a musician frequently sought after to perform with her band, Smoke and Mirrors.

Kathy joined Council's Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in November 2019 as Waste & Sustainability Manager (supervising 16 staff) and has been an active member of the SLT in-house Leadership Development Program. This program in ongoing and is currently mentoring our "emerging leaders program."

Kathy completed the Compass—Women in Leadership Program in 2020—a program that has been offered to identified leaders in Council since 2015. This is a program endorsed by Council to build the leadership capacity of Broken Hill City Council's female workforce. She was also nominated to attend the Compass Advance—Unlocking women's leadership capability in May 2022.

Kathy was recognised as a strong leader from the day she started and in November 2020, took on a 12-month secondment as the Manager Sustainability, Waste & Works (Supervising 60 staff—including 8 direct reports) and while returning to her substantive in role December 2021 has returned to the acting role for another 12 months from July 2022. She is often sought out for her assessment and or opinion by other senior leaders in the organisation because of her ability to observe, assess and analyse situations.

The Award Category

This category recognises female leaders and initiatives in local government that:

  • support local women to stand for elected roles to represent their communities
  • implement initiatives in the workplace which help to improve the progress and representation of women in leadership positions
  • establish programs to support and recognise women as current and emerging leaders, including mentoring, networking and training opportunities or
  • showcase an outstanding female leader that is making a positive difference to their local government and community.

Successful projects in this award category benefit communities by:

  • promoting greater roles for women in leadership, both as elected representatives and officers
  • developing gender equality strategies and programs to support women of all ages to participate and become leaders in their workplace and community and
  • advocating for gender equality, women's rights and representation in the workplace.

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