Alumni stories

Tanya Stevenson – Collaboration is Key to Transforming Regions

3 December 2019

For Tanya Stevenson, project development was the highlight of her experience taking part in the Leadership for our Regions program in 2019.

“It was great to design a new idea to address our local issues and to brainstorm the project with others with different backgrounds and perspectives,” she says.

As CEO of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre (HBNC), Tanya is in the unique position to see the fruits of her leadership efforts clearly reflected in the wellbeing of her local community. She is currently working on pulling together a team for the HBNC and “supporting staff to have the courage to do things differently.”

She says fostering leaders in her sector is vital.

“It has been difficult to recruit authentic leaders with a multidisciplinary background that incorporates social service qualifications and management skills,” Tanya acknowledges.

A major takeaway from the Leadership for our Regions program has been “to have the confidence and courage to speak up and also to find partners outside of our industry.”

This awareness of the power in cross-collaboration echoes the purpose of Leadership for our Regions – a program designed by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and the Regional Australia Institute, together, to provide a network for collaborative regional leadership in the future.

“I was privileged to be selected to participate in this program and want to grow as a leader to be authentic and create change to improve our communities,” Tanya says.

The results-focused leader is currently tackling the challenge of achieving cost efficiency with contracts, aiming to reduce organisational overheads and have more workers delivering services.

Tanya says “moving to technology-based programs to reduce administration overheads” will be a key part of this.

“Leadership is important in the social services industry to create partnerships in delivering new initiatives that add value in addressing our local needs,” she says.

And she hopes to see many more local leaders being fostered through initiatives like Leadership for our Regions.

“This program will challenge you to reflect on your purpose and vision for your future and also create long term friendships that will support you to develop in your career.“