2023 ‘Women in Local Government’ Category Winner

City of Kalgoorlie Boulder, WA

Community Development: Mia Hicks and Lauren Chapman-Holle

The Initiative

Two key female leaders at the City of Kalgoorlie‑Boulder exemplify the powerful interface between local government and community through their work empowering female City staff and women in the broader community.

Director of Community Development, Mia Hicks, is the City’s sole female executive member, leading by example to empower colleagues and the community. She draws on 10 years’ local government and consultancy experience, and other powerful project and policy work in industry and development.

Mia is a strong advocate for gender equality, promoting greater roles for women in leadership and mentoring multiple City staff members, some of whom have continued to significant career advancement, or to win State awards. Mia has organised the City’s inaugural International Women’s Day celebration and is advocating for formal City programs to encourage greater representation of women in local government leadership.

Mia is a strong advocate for First Nations empowerment, encouraging cultural change through City decisions. Mia selected respected First Nations artist, Regina Donaldson, to create the artwork for the City’s new entrance signs, and has led the City’s nationally significant First Nations CBD arts project, in which more than half of the artists are female.

The advocacy of Lauren Chapman-Holle runs deep into the community. Lauren has 17 years’ City experience in communications, public relations and policy, and is currently the City’s Manager of Community of Development.

Lauren has developed and overseen various workforce initiatives which empower women. Lauren’s most recent initiative is the City’s successful application for a childcare education scholarship fund. This fund has facilitated the study of eight women, whose work will in turn permit multiple women to work outside the home and pursue leadership opportunities.

Lauren oversees the City’s just-launched, inaugural Age Friendly Strategy, which overwhelmingly supports women, Lauren is also a longstanding Australian Services Union representative, and was named 2022 WA Local Government Divisional Delegate of the Year.

Lauren has a strong track record of leading high performance local government teams, including coaching and mentoring female staff, and supporting women in grassroots community initiatives.

Mia and Lauren consistently model integrity as they work to ensure the best outcomes for their co‑workers and empower women in the community.

Photo of the ‘Welcome to Kalgoorlie-Boulder’ sign with respected First Nations artist, Regina Donaldson, who created the artwork for the City’s new entrance signs, and other members from the Council. Photo credit: City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, WA

About the Category

The ‘Women in Local Government’ category recognises initiatives and female leaders in local government which:

  • 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; and/or
  • showcase an outstanding female leader who is making a positive difference to their local government and community.

Successful initiatives 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/or
  • advocating for gender equality, women’s rights and representation in the workplace.

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