Adam Fennessy has worked hard to be able to say he is championing equality.
“In my experience, you’ve got to lead by doing,” he said.
Faced with a lack of gender equality in his workplace, he endured the opposition that came with significant staffing and cultural change.
“I got a lot of push back,” the former Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning secretary said.
But Mr Fennessy said it was a change for the better.
He said the measures his former workplace implemented to become more inclusive, including flexible working conditions, resulted in a higher performing team.
Greater diversity among the staff meant the organisation started tapping into ‘really strong areas of talent’ it wasn’t formerly drawing upon.
A difference of opinions and experiences also made for more rounded debates.
“It was a better place to work,” Mr Fennessy said.
The former Melbournite also took a stand to live and work in central Victoria.
“I think I was the first senior state government executive for a couple of decades to not live in Melbourne,” Mr Fennessy said.
In doing so, he highlighted the importance of the DELWP office in Epsom.
“Just living in regional Victoria gave me a much better perspective of what state government meant for the regions and, in particular, for central Victoria,” Mr Fennessy said.
He said the strength of a leader was not determined by where in the state they were based, and was hopeful Bendigo would become home to more executive roles in a range of industries and sectors.
“It allows Bendigo to share in the growth of the state,” Mr Fennessy said.
The Public Service Medal he is to be awarded as part of this year’s Australia Day honours is a reflection of the years of work he has done in state government, particularly in support of gender equality, diversity and Aboriginal inclusion.
“For me, that’s about creating fairer, more equal societies,” Mr Fennessy said.
To meet more of central Victoria’s 2018 Australia Day Honours List recipients, click here.