14 May 2024, Cr Anna De Villiers - Maryborough Advertiser

Published on 14 May 2024

Cr Anna de Villiers

We often underestimate the value of networking. Some people are absolute naturals - if they need specific information, they know exactly who to turn to!

In the dynamic landscape of local government, the essence of networking is demonstrated when attending conferences. Events such as the recent Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) Conference highlighted the camaraderie and learning opportunities attending such events offer such as meeting councillors from diverse councils, sharing experiences and aspirations, meeting experts, academics and leaders in local government.

Networking, in its essence, transcends mere exchanges of business cards or ‘LinkedIn’ connections. The ALGWA conference demonstrated the value of dialogue, new ideas and a vision. We can also learn about other councillors’ experiences with the challenges we all face in local government.

The main presenter on the day was Dr Leah Mether from Monash University. The topic was ‘The Art of Resilience: Courageous Conversations.’ It was a truly inspiring presentation, talking about democracy and engaging with people from all walks of life.

To me, the main message was to develop the ability to listen, to be open to changing our own minds. True democracy is allowing people an opinion and respecting those opinions; not shunning and demonising people who have a different opinion to your own.

The true value for me as an individual attending these conferences and networking, is they inspire and generate new perspectives and fresh ideas, prompting a re-evaluation of existing practices and fuelling a drive to explore novel avenues for community development and empowerment.

In retrospect, the ALGWA conference re-affirmed the connection we all share having the same purpose. The issues we face across different shires are very similar. Networking, sharing ideas and experiences, contributes to ensuring the progress and prosperity of our communities continues.

Cr Anna De Villiers

Tullaroop Ward




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