What Does it Take For Young Professionals to Succeed in the Public Sector?

5 Sep 2019

As young public servants we are uniquely positioned to drive social change and enhanced outcomes for our communities by taking an innovative and novel approach to problem solving. More often than not, we enter the workforce fresh from extended periods of formal study or training. Not only does this make us highly attractive to our employers, but it also provides us with the ability to directly influence and inform policy and program development with ultra-modern thinking.

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How we achieve the best outcomes as young public servants was a key question for almost 150 delegates who attended the ‘young professionals’ presentation as part of Public Sector Week in August. An interesting panel of six, who have successfully navigated employment in local, state and federal government and the private sector, provided thoughtful inspiration and insight at this game changing event.

Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Municipal Association of Victoria, Troy Edwards, spoke about the importance of self-development to achieve influence and ensure we’re in the best position to drive innovation. Reflecting on his years’ of experience in the public sector, Edwards spoke about the need to ask, listen, question and act. He reminded delegates that we all have the ability to directly influence how we are perceived by taking a positive attitude and thinking long-term. Our ability to grow our networks and seek mentors, as well as mentor others, will help us to drive new age thinking and change our world for the better.


Associate Director Oceania Innovation at EY, Claire Bayford, reflected on the importance of being happy. By searching for and doing what makes us fulfilled we are more likely to be successful, driven and effective at serving the community. Bayford also shared with us her experiences as a first-time Director and encouraged delegates to ensure we stay connected with friends and families as we navigate our career development.

While all of the presenters encouraged the young professionals in the room to be strategic in our professional development, it seemed clear that if we prioritise the simpler things in life, such as our relationships with others, we are much more likely to remain prosperous in all of our endeavours. As suggested by the panel, we must ensure we enjoy our work, love and be loved and have something to look forward to. This mindset will undoubtedly help us to achieve great things.

Speakers of this inspiring and motivating session included:

  • Corrinne Armour – Leadership Specialist, Speaker, Mentor and Author of ‘Leaders who Ask’ & ‘Developing Direct Reports’

  • Claire Bayford – Associate Director, Oceania Innovation, EY

  • Steele Broderick – Director, Special Tax Regimes, Corporate and International Tax Division, Commonwealth Treasury

  • Troy Edwards – Director, Policy & Advocacy, Municipal Association of Victoria

  • Lana Kovac – Director Climate Change, Climate Change Division, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

  • Amy Rhodes (Session Host) – Communications and Engagement Specialist, Ballarat City Council