Top 50 Public Sector Women, recognising exceptional women leaders during COVID-19

13 May 2022

After two years marked by uncertainty and separation (COVID-19), it was my absolute pleasure to convene the Top 50 Public Sector Women awards event in front of an audience of over 300 people. I am extremely proud to champion this IPAA Victoria initiative that recognises and honours the enormous achievements made by women leaders in our sector.

This year's awards are especially significant because they reflect the tireless and inspirational efforts made by exceptional Victorian women leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.The public service across all levels of government has stood up to unprecedented disruption over an extended period. It responded to frequently changing health response requirements through innovation, care, adaptation, research, adjustment, and inspiring leadership. Individuals in the service have done this whilst having to live through the challenges thrown by the pandemic at a personal and family level as well. We may collectively be through talking of the pandemic, but this does not and should not stop us from taking time out to recognise the enormous efforts and contributions made by individuals during the time.The high number and outstanding caliber of nominations received as part of our call out to recognise female COVID-19 heroes meant that we recognised a greater number of women this year compared with past years, in fact we recognised a total of 80 outstanding leaders. This is an acknowledgement of the humbling contributions of public sector women as they supported Victorians during the trying times at the height of the pandemic.For those that may have missed the event, Top 50 Public Sector Women awards judging panel Co-Chair Dr Emily Phillips, Deputy Secretary, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions eloquently remarked that it is noteworthy to acknowledge the hard work of many women in the sector during an unprecedented moment in public sector history. Given that the work of the sector is often done behind the scenes – without a lot of fanfare – it’s often only colleagues who really understand the significance of the achievements.A keynote address by Rebecca Falkingham, Secretary, Department of Justice and Community Safety, further acknowledged those contributions and provided an insight on the extent of operational problem solving the sector truly achieved during the COVID-19 crisis. Rebecca also took the time to showcase the unique dimensions women’s experience through the pandemic can offer to recovery, a next global challenge for community.Judging panel Co-chair Entsar Hamid, IPAA Victoria Deputy President and General Manager, Government and Stakeholder Engagement and Registry Services at Secure Electronic Registries Victoria, reminded the audience that the awards “recognise women who have demonstrated great initiative, who show agility and will continue to be the next generation of public sector leaders.”IPAA Victoria and I would like to formally congratulate the outstanding 80 women established and emerging leaders. We also would like to thank our event partner representatives Clare McCartin (Davidson), Ella McPherson (Victorian Public Service Commission), Kate Houghton (Department of Premier and Cabinet), Katrina McPhee (VicSuper) and Justin Hanney (City of Melbourne). This year's event would not have been possible without our partners.As a values-led organisation, IPAA Victoria is driven by our ethos of innovation, inclusivity and safety, connection, integrity and excellence. The Top 50 Public Sector Women awards underpin these values and aim to embolden the current generation of established women leaders and the next generation of emerging leaders.See the list of Top 50 Women Public Sector women and learn more about them here.

Learn more about upcoming events and ways to get involved. Written by Nina Cullen, CEO, IPAA Victoria