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Fiona’s ‘Top 50’ puts spotlight on women leaders
Date of Issue: 
May 2, 2022

A member of the East Gippsland Shire Council executive, Fiona effectively strikes the balance of being a ‘can do’ leader, ensuring high standards and providing a strategic vision for the organisation and region.

The IPAA Victoria Top 50 Public Sector Women was announced at a function in Melbourne on Friday. Fiona said it was humbling to be recognised among the state’s leading public sector female leaders.

Just five women from the local government sector were acknowledged.

“The accolade is personally very rewarding; I’m very proud to be acknowledged within such esteemed company. I could not, however, be the leader I am without the support and can-do attitude of the great teams of staff colleagues and stakeholders I work with across a diverse range of services and industries,” Ms Weigall said.

“The ‘Top 50’ criteria had a strong focus on management and leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic. In East Gippsland we’ve also had bushfire response and recovery running parallel.

“To support our community, it’s been critical that we managed bushfire recovery projects (often with fatigued teams) and adapted to pandemic changes, but also kept our eye on the future in applying for and successfully receiving tens of millions of dollars in funding for community projects. It’s been a team effort.”

Fiona said she hoped the recognition contributed in a small way to more women getting leadership opportunities, women being empowered to work in non-traditional roles, and for professionals to forge careers in local government in East Gippsland.

“It’s very rewarding when you can encourage, inspire and motivate a diverse group of staff to embrace new opportunities, explore different and better ways of doing things, and to break down barriers for women in non-traditional roles,” Fiona said.

Chief Executive Officer Anthony Basford congratulated Fiona by saying it was well-deserved recognition.

“This public recognition demonstrates Fiona’s leadership qualities, her genuine desire to make East Gippsland a better place, the significant challenges met, and opportunities embraced in East Gippsland in recent years,” Mr Basford said.

“On the back of the 2019-20 Black Summer Fires and through the pandemic, Fiona has not stopped in consistently working to provide positive outcomes for the community, the organisation and her staff,” Mr Basford said.

As General Manager Assets and Environment, Fiona’s areas of responsibility include major projects and capital expenditure, environmental sustainability, recreation and open space provisions, roads and transport, commercial services and waste.

“Throughout pandemic restrictions, Fiona has led her team to ensure the ongoing provision of services to our already bushfire effected community, with workforce safety at the centre of all decision making,” Mr Basford said.

Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said Fiona’s inclusion on the ‘Top 50’ list was a feather in her cap.

“As a Councillor group, we have a front row seat to the leadership Fiona displays in the service delivery and helping set the strategic direction of Council,” Cr Reeves said.

“We also see the fruits of that labour when we are in communities and seeing how our residents and visitors interact with Council-managed spaces. That could be as simple as walking on a footpath, having your waste collected, enjoying a playground, accessing your property via a road or bridge, or how our public infrastructure supports our region’s social and economic growth. Well done Fiona and hats off to your team.

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