2024 ‘Women in Local Government’ Category Honourable Mention

Armidale Regional Council, NSW

Compass, Women in Leadership Program

2024 ‘Women in Local Government’ Category Honourable Mention

The Initiative

The Women in Leadership Program gives learning and development opportunities for women to drive positive change across the organisation. It is a transformational program that links women’s ambition with their deepest sense of purpose and core values.

Following the commencement of the new General Manager (GM), James Roncon in January 2021, he quickly realised that there were very few women in middle or senior leadership roles within Armidale Regional Council (ARC) and wanted to correct this imbalance by developing ARC women for the opportunities that would inevitably present moving forward. To address this, James implemented the ‘Compass – Women in Leadership’ program, facilitated by Dattner Group, which was rolled out across the workforce to ensure personal and professional growth opportunities for female staff. This program aims to ultimately help to increase the number of women leaders in the organisation to occupy middle and senior leadership roles.

The Compass program works on the premise that you have to know yourself before you can lead others. It is designed to bring out women’s unique strengths and qualities in a supportive environment that fosters collaboration, ultimately increasing leadership capability at all levels.

An extension to the Compass – Women in Leadership program was introduced in 2022. The Compass Advance program provides another level of professional and personal development opportunities for women wanting to elevate and increase their influence within the council.

About the Category

The 'Women in Local Government' category recognises initiatives and female leaders in local government that:

  • support local women to stand for elected roles to represent their communities;
  • 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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