2023 ‘Women in Local Government’ Category Honourable Mention

Katherine Town Council, NT

First Female CEO Makes Waves: Ingrid Stonhill

Photo of 4 women at a conference speaking on a panel. Photo credit: Katherine Town Council, NT

The Initiative

Ingrid Stonhill is an outstanding female leader who is leading a cultural shift, within her organisation and local community, striving for higher standards and accomplishments. Ingrid has achieved this and more since her appointment in February 2022, when she became the first female CEO for this Northern Territory council in its 44-year history.

Stonhill has overseen development of higher standards across the Council including an organisational Workplace Health and Safety reform; a financial restructure; the Council’s first strategic plan; and waste recycling. These higher standards have resulted in enhanced transparency and engagement between Council and community, ensuring a more informed and engaged public. Council received the Snap Send Solve Community Engagement Award 2022.

Stonhill has championed additional Council events including a mayoral ball, raising funds for a local hospital therapy dog, business networking events for professional interaction/development, and a partnership with the Territory Government for a weekly community event during the tourism season.

Stonhill has advocated for community developments, ensuring a $10 million election promise to upgrade the local pool, and continues to campaign for economic development opportunities, whilst responding to unprecedented incidents of crime. This has resulted in a more cohesive community, respect for Council’s work, its staff, and better liveability for residents.

Regional areas are often male dominated, including leadership positions, but Katherine is unique with many women holding leadership roles. Stonhill championed the achievements of her peers in the article Katherine Women: Natural Born Leaders, printed in the Territory Q Magazine, NT News and the Council newsletter. Ingrid has showcased Katherine as a place of opportunity, emphasised female elected representatives at Council and higher government, and also acknowledged feats of local women on International Women’s Day.

In the workplace, Stonhill has ensured women are part of the leadership team. Ingrid listened to staff and created a comfortable staff room, allowing parents to bring children to work when necessary. Other changes include office renovations for a better work environment, a mental health expert (post COVID-19) session for staff and the community, and a Staff Kindness Award.

The Council and local community has benefited from this real change, with Stonhill an exemplary example of a woman in leadership.

Photo of Ingrid Stonhill with two other community members. Photo credit: Katherine Town Council, NT

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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