‘Follow your dreams’: Advice from council trailblazer
'FOLLOW your dreams, support each other, recognise you are strongest when working with your male colleagues'.
Those are the words Suzanne Richmond lives by while she works to make sure the Tweed Shire Council has a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The council's human resources manager was recognised on Monday at the annual NSW Ministers' Awards for Women in Local Government, taking home the Champion of Change Award (Regional/Rural).
Ms Richmond's list of achievements includes promoting the benefits of flexible working hours at the council, developing learning opportunities to progress more women into leadership roles and supporting the annual International Women's Day event.
She is also developing strategies to increase the employment of women in non-traditional roles like the Young Women in Construction Pilot Program - a partnership scheme to increase opportunities for young women locally.
Ms Richmond acknowledged the women of Tweed Shire Council, and across the local government sector, that had supported and inspired her.
"My advice for all women in local government is to follow your dreams and know they can be achieved. We can all do this through supporting each other along the way and recognising we are strongest when we work with our male colleagues," she said.
As what she dubs as her proudest career moment to date, Ms Richmond spearheaded work to develop the Local Government (COVID-19) Splinter Award earlier this year.
It provides council employees, across all signatory councils in NSW, with increased job security during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working alongside Local Government NSW and the United Services Union, the Splinter Award was developed to provide council employees with an allowance similar to JobKeeper should insufficient work be available for all employees at any point during the pandemic.
Council's general manager Troy Green said that Ms Richmond was a role model to women throughout the council, and the local government sector as a whole.
"Suzanne will always go that extra mile and inspires others to do the same," he said.