Interview: Yvonne Lewandowski, Diversity, Inclusion and Development Lead, Queensland Urban Utilities

31 January 2020 Neb Hamoo Author avatar

Tell us about the journey to your current role and what it this role entails?

I’ve spent the last 20+ years in various roles in HR – recruitment, workplace relations, HR Business Partner before moving into roles that had an organisational cultural transformation focus.  The journey has allowed me to get an understanding of all of the elements of a HR function and how they depend on each other (and what you have to do to leverage and get the best outcome).  I’ve built relationships with leaders and teams at all levels across the organisation and can see how they are transforming to be more effective in delivering their strategic and operational objectives. My current role builds on this, with a focus on leadership development – individual, group and organisation and how we can leverage diversity in all its forms to build a more inclusive and constructive culture.

Can you describe a project you are working on/recently completed, and any key challenges you have faced along the way and how they were overcome?

Currently working on a bespoke leadership development program for leaders at all levels ii the organisation.  The focus is taking all the skills, knowledge and experience that leaders have gained over their careers and building on this by exploring what gets in the way of them stepping up and taking on their leadership accountabilities.  It explores leaders becoming comfortable with discomfort, and that if we wait to be comfortable in making a decision or having a challenging conversation, is it in our own best interest or the best interest of the organisation.  The challenge was for leaders to accept that vulnerability is not a weakness  and understand that every leader, regardless of experience is on their own leadership growth journey.

What did you learn from this project? What did it achieve?

  1. The greatest learning was that every leader, regardless of level, experience and seniority are all on their leadership growth journey.  It’s a never ending opportunity to continue to evolve and understand how to best serve the team and organisation.  Its achieved a greater understanding across the leaders in the organisation that everyone faces similar challenges and there are opportunities to support and challenge each other.
What excites you most about the future? The opportunity to integrate inclusion more fully into our constructive culture journey and continuing to build on our diversity program.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to further their career in government, what would it be?

  1. Put your hand up to be involved in as many projects as you can, continue to reinvent yourself and evolve and understand the broader business by building relationships outside your own team.

Where do you look to for further education? E.g. articles, podcasts, news sources, courses – e.g. University, online, internal etc?

A range of different sources – books, linkedin, podcasts, forums, industry groups (including outside HR and sector)

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