In this special Q&A series, we introduce the members of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT Future Leaders Committee (FLC) who work closely with us to deliver a series of events throughout the year.

This time around, Zoë Tassicker tells us about working on communications for the committee, and creating more opportunities for sharing diverse perspectives – in her own work, but also across the public sector.


What is your role in the public service and what do you enjoy most about it?

I work for the Department of Health and Aged Care where my current role is a  steady mix of policy and program management work. I really enjoy that my role is split between twoquite different styles of work. I find having the opportunity to think strategically and work on big-picture ideas challenging and rewarding but balancing that with methodical and process-driven work provides me with a reprieve from the mental tiredness that can come from lots of writing and research-based work.

What is your role on the committee?

In addition to being involved in the general happenings of the FLC, I’m also a member of our communications team.

Why did you join the committee?

My main reason for joining the committee were motivated by my belief that having state or territory-based representation is crucial in our COVID-19-impacted world and provides a diverse perspective. As someone who is based in Western Australia and has lived experience with dynamic disability and neurodivergence, it’s often obvious when such perspectives have not been heard or sought out.
The world around us is ever-changing, including in the APS. Nowadays, more employees are seeking permanent remote work options thanks to technology proving distance is not a factor in work performance. On top of that, awareness of the diverse needs of people is growing. Being able to play a role in ensuring such groups are considered in networking and development spaces such as the FLC helps me support wider efforts to achieve representation from those outside of the status quo.

What does great leadership look like to you?

Great leadership for me is encouraging diverse opinions, good listening skills, and a willingness to impart knowledge.

If you have participated, can you tell us your three key takeaways from when you attended the Future Leaders Program?

My key takeaways include developing skills on how you can use your voice for good in the public service, how to lead through challenging circumstances, and the importance of understanding and respecting your team’s preferred working styles.

If you have participated, can you tell us about a time when you applied some of the lessons you learned from the program?

I found the lessons regarding the importance of encouraging diverse opinions in your work and how to ensure you’re open to continuing to learn  have had an immediate application to my  day-to-day work. After the program, I found I was seeking my team’s input on my work and ideas more frequently, and in time it became a habit. Initially, I felt worried that I was bothering them and found some critique hard to take, but almost a year later, it’s now a necessary step in my work. The impact of this has not only improved my work output and helped me develop skills but it’s also had a positive impact on my team through heightened knowledge sharing and the ability to implement suggestions from others quickly in several areas. This approach has been supported by the importance of continually learning tenets. I really enjoy having the opportunity to hear my colleagues share their thoughts, which has often turned into a learning opportunity with them sharing their experiences.

Make sure to follow the Future Leaders Committee on LinkedIn.

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