Women in Leadership- Mayor Shines A Light On Change

Mayor, Committee Chair, Advocate, Mother, Businesswoman, Consultant and Author, amongst other delightful discoveries- this reads like an à la carte menu of achievement. However, amongst the glaring lights of success, it is the sunny, fresh-faced honesty and integrity that has you standing in the shine that is Stephanie Asher.

Many describe you as being very positively driven with an abundant flair for leadership- did you have someone in your life as a child who inspired you or a role model you believe influenced these aspects?

My dad has always been incredibly focused on values and the importance of a society founded on sound moral values. At the same time, my mum is extremely social and managed the connection between work relationships and friendships very well. I learned a lot from them both, and I’m grateful every day for their emphasis on a good education.

The leadership aspect probably comes about because I see solutions quite easily and over time, I’ve learned to voice them and own them. As Rosanne Barr said, “As a woman, no one is going to give you power, you have to take it.”

Do you believe a growth mindset is a skill someone can learn?

There is a huge sense of freedom and confidence in shifting from the marketing-driven ‘need to compete’ to a spirit of generosity and appreciating that there is actually plenty for everyone.

If you could only use three words to describe your perfect day; what would it be?

Have you had a crisis that transformed into a valuable learning experience?

One example was arriving in Nice late at night to no accommodation, and my plan to sleep at the train station was foiled when it closed at midnight. I ended up sleeping (with one eye open) on the beach, which was vaguely terrifying and decidedly uncomfortable as it’s not sandy! Learning to survive through challenges provides inner strength.

What is a habit in people you find irksome?

What inspired you to write the best seller: The Footy Lady, and if you could choose one resonating memory from this experience, what would it be?

You have a solid collaborative and progressive impact on Geelong and district, which is positive at least and in a dignified way that gives a flourish of class and excitement. What do you believe is intrinsic to happiness and productivity in a complex workplace?

For happy and productive workplaces, I believe acceptance is really important – acceptance of other people, different views and new ways of doing things. I always distinguish between tolerance and acceptance because tolerance has a condescension about it, whereas acceptance is kind and generous.

A sense of fun is also mandatory wherever I spend significant time and effort – if you can’t have a laugh, it’s not worth being there.

Professionally speaking, accountability is critical. I manage large people-centric projects as a consultant, and high-performing workplaces are focused on getting things done and clear accountability. When people know their role and the timelines associated with tasks, they can function more effectively. Opacity and incompetence go hand in hand.

What message would you like us to ponder?

Having moved from Melbourne to the surf coast 20 years ago, I have a non-local perspective, and I suspect it’s my city upbringing that allows me to see how regional areas can struggle with change and lack of certainty.

Once we accept that change is inevitable and that it can be positive and exciting, there is the chance to then look at what we can influence and what we can’t. Fighting change usually means missing out on the opportunity to control that change.

My observation is that the people of Greater Geelong are starting to see the benefits of managing change well. So many people say Geelong has great potential and I believe that if we continue to work together to manage our regional growth in a sustainable way then we will realise that potential.

It is such an amazing region — I call the Bellarine ‘the best holiday place to live’ — and I am confident we are all of a similar mindset that we want to prosper at pace, but in a gentle and sensitive manner.

Clicl here to find out more about The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Geelong, Ms Stephanie Asher-

Author, business woman, editor at Ponderings Magazine and digital educator, seasoned with a dark sense of humour — a ponderer spilling ink with gusto.

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