2024 ‘Women in Local Government’ Category Honourable Mention

Western Downs Regional Council, QLD

Inspiring Leadership, Western Downs Regional Council CEO, Jodie Taylor

2024 ‘Women in Local Government’ Category Honourable Mention

The Initiative

Western Downs Regional Council CEO, Jodie Taylor, is an exceptional leader with relentless commitment to staff empowerment and delivering legacy community outcomes.

When Jodie was appointed CEO in December 2021, the Council had a poor organisational culture. The first woman appointed to a Western Downs Regional Council Executive Leadership role, Jodie has been the catalyst for meaningful staff engagement to deliver a modern management structure based on inclusive leadership, professional development, staff retention and recruitment around cultural fit.

Jodie’s commitment to professional development is reflected in the introduction of leadership training for managers, including participation in the Design CEO “Intensive Leadership Masterclass”. Through this approach, Jodie sets a high standard of professionalism, values, and conduct, fostering a culture of growth and continuous learning within the regional council.

The Council has a senior leadership team of 18 managers; roles filled by nine men and nine women – achieved organically by Jodie’s commitment to recruit and remunerate based on skillset and cultural fit.

Guided by Jodie, the team have implemented a modern, innovative approach to professional development. Employees can access free personal, professional, and technical development courses through the Council’s new “One Council” Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

Employees can partner with a mentor manager under the Council’s revolutionary “Level Up Mentoring” program or the “Grow@Work” program which allows employees to undertake a 4 to–12–month placement in a different department to explore new council career pathways.

Jodie’s “Postcards to the CEO” initiative has fostered an environment of honest communication, holding the Council’s senior management team accountable to internal stakeholders. Her commitment to community is exemplified through monthly “Connect with Council” public barbecues in regional centres, where she actively engages with residents and addresses their concerns with sincerity.

Her “One Organisation” approach has unleashed the potential of the regional council teams, encouraging them to create vibrant strategies that elevate the region’s liveability and attract new business and investment opportunities.

By implementing the ground–breaking “One Council” ECM system, Jodie has amplified transparency, visibility, and collaboration across the expanse of the local government region.

As the Local Government Manager Australia (LGMA) Queensland 2023 Manager of the Year for Leadership/Management Excellence, Jodie stands as a shining example of visionary leadership for women in local government.

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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