Creating influence across policy and business for international disaster response

Programs and masterclasses

Claire Sullivan

Claire Sullivan found what she needed to build greater influence as she supported government and industry to collaborate, in order to build resilience against increasingly frequent natural disasters.

The Challenge

With more than 10 years’ experience  in senior roles in government focused on strategic planning, policy and partnerships, Claire Sullivan is no stranger to complex issues, particularly when it comes to the need for the public and private sectors collaborating on key projects.

Early in 2020, Claire was working on a national resilience project whose focus is to help government partner with industry to have national impact, to support community resilience in times of disasters, like the devastating bushfires or COVID-19. Put simply, she needed to find a way to help government to partner with industry; traditionally made difficult by cultural barriers, with government seeing this kind of collaboration as risky,  and bureaucratic obstacles between departments.

Claire was faced with blockers that she really needed to break down: both her own, from a mindset and influencing skills point of view, and the pragmatic barriers existing within the government-industry settings. She needed a space where she could listen, learn and think differently in order to help unpack those blockers, and see what was in her control. Having been on many leadership courses throughout her career, Claire was interested in Visibility Co’s work and how their program and methodology could help women in purposeful public sector work.

The Solution

Claire joined the Building Visibility and Influence for Women in the Public Sector masterclass, which was led by Julia and Sarah in collaboration with The Mandarin.

Research shows that while women outperform men in most leadership capabilities, they are under-represented in leadership across nearly all levels of government. The masterclass, designed for women in the public sector seeking to elevate their visibility and maximise their influence, aimed to change that.The masterclass was run over two days and was structured around the Three Pillars of Visibility to support women in and towards leadership by unlocking the mindset and practical skills to support strategic influencing, communication and greater impact. It also included a panel session with Margaret Crawford, the NSW Auditor-General, and Joanne Matthews, founder of the Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance and former strategic advisor in successive state governments.

The Result

At the beginning of the Building Visibility and Influence masterclass, Julia and Sarah emphasised that they wanted to hear all voices. As a confident person who is often the first to speak in a group discussion environment, Claire consciously held back and let others contribute first. In the masterclass she found herself surrounded by a diverse group of women, who she was able to really listen to. In doing so, she found a deeper understanding and appreciation for the value of diverse thought and participation. Claire says she has become a more thoughtful leader by mindfully slowing down, taking more in and making people feel like they have been heard.

Claire found Visibility Co’s strategic framework, GAMPER, very valuable as she mapped out her own leadership vision, supported by a pragmatic visibility plan to support it. She gained deep insight into her own strengths as a communicator, as well as the areas she needs to work on.

The panel sessions were also helpful for Claire, with the topics and discussion being particularly relevant to Claire in terms of her specific line of work and challenge.

She learnt new ways of looking at things, which led to her unpacking the mindset and strategic blockers she was up against prior to the masterclass.  In addition to being clearer on her own aspirations,  Claire felt more able to equip her team with the tools they needed to move things forward. She sees entirely new ways to have the impact she wanted to have, and can see that alignment moving forward thanks to the vision mapping exercises she completed in the masterclass

After participating in the Building Visibility and Influence for Women in the Public Sector masterclass, Claire felt energised and empowered, with new ways of looking at her options and challenges moving forward. She also felt supported, knowing that she could lean on Visibility Co for guidance and advice into the future.

“Visibility Co are bringing together diverse leaders at all levels who are working towards having fantastic impact in their realm of work and areas of interest.

They are giving them the tools to do that in a really practical way, while at the same time fostering women’s advocacy as a key message.”

Claire Sullivan

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