Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Strong women are the driving force of many of New England communities, and the new GM at Uralla Shire Council, Toni Avery, is a great example.

Toni was appointed to the role of General Manager at Uralla Shire Council in November 2023, after serving as the Director of Infrastructure and Development, and then stepping in as the interim General Manager at short notice. Toni has had an extensive career in local government, after completing a Masters in Policy and Administration, a Graduate Diploma in Engineering Maintenance Management, and is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prior to working in local government, Toni had a distinguished career in the Australian Army.

Toni came into the role of General Manager at a time of significant organisational change. So, she was not only taking on a major regional community leadership position, but also stepping up to be the driving force behind significant internal cultural change at Council in just a few months. She leads with compassion and enthusiasm, while demonstrating all the key elements of an effective leader – vision, influence and ethics.

“There is a lot of pressure on women to adopt the approaches demonstrated by our male colleagues, including ambition and a focus on achieving personal and professional goals at the cost of personal relationships and family values,” Toni said. 

“I believe the most successful women retain their femininity, empathy and humanity.”

There have been many significant local issues to embrace since her appointment, including the ongoing debate about renewable energy developments. Toni has taken every challenge as an opportunity, earning the respect of constituents in her new role.

Always keen to serve the community, Toni believes it is important to take the opportunity to attend community events and be available to the local people. Her friendly and engaging nature has provided a great morale boost to the Uralla Shire community.

“Community is what we are all here for.  It is what influences our daily lives and we should always seek to contribute where we can, and draw support from it when we need it,” Toni said.

“I would encourage young women who want to make a difference in their communities to identify their passion and draw inspiration from it, seek opportunities to challenge themselves and learn from their mistakes, we all make them!”

“I would also encourage them to be confident in themselves and their own abilities and talents.” 

“Often men are more comfortable putting themselves forward for opportunities and leadership roles”.

With access to leadership roles being a recurring gender gap issue, strong female leaders such as Toni Avery are shining examples of what can be achieved with hard work and a tenacious attitude – women can be respected leaders and they can achieve amazing outcomes for their communities.

“My advice to young women is to be themselves, find someone they admire as a role model, look for a mentor, have big dreams and aspire high because if they fall short, they’ll still land among the stars.”

“Go girls!  You can do it.”

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