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Leading Edge November 2018 – John Storey Award Winners

Leading Edge November 2018 – John Storey Award Winners

Sir John Storey Awards 2018 | Winners

At the beginning of November 2018, the Institute of Managers and Leaders held the very first Leadership Impact Series. Joined by internationally renowned neuroscientist Dr Hannah Critchlow, the event was the perfect backdrop for the inaugural Sir John Storey awards. We were pleased to announce and congratulate the winners across Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate themselves or their peers for the inaugural Sir John Storey Awards. We’re delighted to announce the winners for the 2018 awards below. 


Sir John Storey Emerging Leader Award -Ryan McKergow MIML

Ryan, Group Manager (Queensland) of Elabor8, Agile specialist management consultancy, renowned for winning AFR Fast 100 five years in a row. Ryan is responsible for the overall operations and growth of Elabor8’s newest office which he launched in 2016. Ryan has helped the business expand successfully into Queensland by working with more than 15 organisations, including Suncorp, CUA and Origin achieve a 600% increase in revenue and 100% increase in staff. Ryan believes in focusing on creating a positive and inclusive culture, building diverse teams, setting expectations and treating people with respect, transparency and consultation. The team achieved a 95% engagement score in their annual employee engagement survey. Ryan writes in his application, “Leadership to me starts with your attitude towards it, and is lived out by leading by example and inspiring others to achieve amazing results.” Congratulations Ryan.

Sir John Storey Award for Lifetime Leadership Achievement – Dr Jim Kable FIML

Jim is a former President of the Institute before it was federated, when it was AIM QLD and NT. He has made a significant contribution to management and leadership in Australia and internationally over the past 50 years. Graduating high school in 1949, Jim completed a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Queensland and a Master of Engineering at Lehigh University in the USA. It was whilst completing his Master Program that he decided to move into a management career rather than pursuing an engineering role. Jim worked as a Consultant for PA Consulting Group, a large global management consulting company and as a Manager at Provincial Traders in Brisbane. Following this, Jim was headhunted to become CEO of Hancock and Gore and finally the Foundation Head of Department for the Department of Management, Queensland Institute of Technology (QIT) (now QUT). Jim played an integral role in developing relationships with the business community and other academic institutions during this time. Following his retirement from QUT, Jim travelled extensively around the world in his role with International Marketing College, developing and promoting their UK-based MBA Program.  In the early 2000s, Jim played an important role in establishing the AIM MBA Program. Formally a member of the Mater Hospital Board, Jim acts with strong integrity and displays excellent management and leadership qualities with all those he works alongside. Jim has been a wonderful contributor to AIM / IML over many years – and still continues today. He has lead the Skilled Migration unit for last 15 years as IML’s primary assessor. In this capacity, he reviews thousands of skilled migration applications per year and makes an assessment based on the applicant’s management and leadership skills and experience. He completes this role with the same level of energy, integrity and commitment he has demonstrated throughout his entire career. Congratulations Jim.

Sir John Storey Emerging Leader Award -Emma Hendry

Emma is currently the CEO of Hendry, a national built-form advisory firm. Emma has undertaken a whole-business-transformation over the past 2 years where she not only changed Hendry’s service delivery model, she has also doubled the size of the organisation and partnered with research institutions to co-develop technology and create pathways for interns and graduates in multidisciplinary fields. Her transformation of Hendry includes a new agile outlook towards business and innovation which has energised the development of the staff. Through a period of accelerated technological change, Emma’s staff have had the opportunity to develop their own skills and define their career pathways for the future. As a female CEO in the male-dominated construction industry, she takes an active approach to serving as a role-model, communicating her passions for diversity and inclusion with a focus on supporting women to pursue leadership roles. She tackles prevalent cultural barriers to equality by actively participating in industry lead events, promoting thought-leadership and becoming a mentor to women within a professional environment. She is an active keynote speaker, committee member, events and initiatives sponsor, judge and mentor across industry, academia, government and international engagements. Emma has continuously championed for awareness and action on key social issues and initiative through participation in events such as the CEO Sleep Out and ensure Hendry provide probono work across Melbourne to help those in need. In her application, Emma wrote: “Leadership to me starts with your attitude towards it, and is lived out by leading by example and inspiring others to achieve amazing results.” Congratulations Emma.

Sir John Storey Outstanding Intentional Leadership Award – Cindy Welsh

For five years, Cindy has lead St John Ambulance Australia (Victoria) as the organisation’s General Manager of People and Culture, supporting commercial and community outcomes ensuring that creativity and engagement play a critical role in the success of the organisation. Cindy was nominated by her staff who describe her as a talented, dedicated and inspiring leader who is instrumental in developing engaged people, performance and cultural initiatives, and is pivotal in the delivery and success St John Ambulance Australia has achieved over the years. One of her most significant achievements in her time at St John Ambulance is implementing a system to boost recognition and engagement. Three years ago, peer engagement between teams sat at only 52%. Using the FISH! methodology as a vehicle, Cindy lead a new process whereby staff and managers would provide FISH! cards to their staff and peers when they demonstrated one or more of the key principles. With initial resistance across an offsite workforce, she focused on implementing the program in headquarters, demonstrating its effectiveness, before slowly migrating it out to the offsite workers in stages. After 3 years, the staff survey in 2018 found peer to peer engagement improved dramatically to 95%. Cindy describes her role as a “privilege of working for a not-for-profit, social enterprise that works tirelessly for the ‘Service of Humanity’”. In her application, Cindy wrote: “Leadership is about providing a “Safe place” for people to generate ideas, and flexing my approach to meet the needs of those I lead.” Congratulations Cindy.

Sir John Storey Outstanding Intentional Leadership Award – Professor Scott Bowman

Scott is the Vice-Chancellor and President of CQUniversity Australia. Over the past decade, he has led a process to change CQUniversity to a values-driven organisation which a recent staff survey has shown to be incredibly successful – 95% of staff believe and work towards this culture every day. It is one of the few universities in the country with significant growth and a strong performance culture built on our values of engagement, can-do attitude, openness, leadership and inclusiveness. When Scott first started at CQUniversity, the staff morale was low and their reputation among the higher education sector was as the nation’s worst university across the number of measurement areas. After instigating a strategic plan to turn the university’s fortunes around by improving their engagement with communities, implementing strong governance practices, influencing a new research agenda and review their financial positions, Scott was able to turn the university around. By far the most significant achievement has been the transformation of the university’s culture with staff now committed to making a difference in their communities. Providing leadership and driving areas of strategic planning, finance and external affairs across the university’s growing network of campus and teaching locations in Australia and the Asia-Pacific, Scott’s leadership of more than 2,500 staff over the past decade has been the key to CQUniversity’s success. In his application, Scott wrote: “Being a leader is as much about guiding others as it is about taking guidance. A good leader should always offer and accept support.” Congratulations Scott.

Sir John Storey Catalyst Award for Business Innovation – Fantastic Furniture

Fantastic Furniture has been on a significant journey from their days of selling plastic garden furniture at Sydney’s Parklea Markets in 1989. Today, as the iconic Australian household brand we know, they comprise of 75 stores, 2 Australian manufacturing factories and over 1,200 employees. This year in March, Fantastic Furniture underwent a transformation. Not only did this bring on a refresh of the brand, but a refresh of the organisation’s culture lead and directed by the staff.  Collaborating with teams, the organisation refreshed their values, created their Employee Value Proposition, initiated a Fantastic Customer Experience training program and developed a leadership model that supports the team member’s career progression within the company. Today, they are proud to have an innovative culture that supports individuals and teams to identify opportunity and create solutions for Fantastic Furniture’s business. Their approach to innovation starts at the top with senior leaders who actively engage and seek input from their team. Leaders seek collaboration from team members at annual roadshows to share strategy and business outcomes. The annual executive roadshow format ensures all team members have an opportunity to spend time with their CEO and executive team. In addition, the annual conference combines both a celebration of achievements and dedicated time with leaders to get input on the strategy for the year ahead. In their application, they wrote this about leadership: “It’s everything we do to reflect our values, vision and mission which is to ‘Make Life Fantastic’ for our people and customers”. Congratulations Fantastic Furniture.

Sir John Storey Outstanding Intentional Leader Award – Paul Hughes FIML

Paul is Officer Commanding 3 Wing of the Australia Air Force Cadets. Appointed in 2012, he is currently responsible for training and developing over 2,400 cadets and 500 staff between the ages of 13 to 78 spread across NSW and ACT. He also leads the administration of over 40 separate units from Lismore to Canberra and Albury. He has innovated, improved business, inspired and lead by the motto developed by his team under his leadership: “setting the standard, leading the way”. When Paul assumed responsibility of 3 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets in 2015, it became clear staff and cadets had been stagnant for the last 5 years. There had been no growth, innovation or purpose, and Paul was inundated with feedback that there was no leadership, direction or passion. Morale among the 400 staff was at an all-time low with feelings with neglect and high staff attrition. To transform this, he developed a vision and mission for the organisation, providing his team with a sense of purpose and meaning. Paul implemented programs changing business delivery with consideration of the very diverse group of volunteers. He also devised a strong communication strategy that was conveyed by personally connecting to his people and not through corporate jargon and institutions. He took five weeks away from his day job to visit all 40 units around NSW and ACT to provide people with a voice in playing a part in the organisation’s future direction. Paul’s leadership style emphasises the importance of emotional intelligence, transparency and collaboration.  In his application, Paul wrote: “Leadership with a volunteer force is positive manipulation. I have to tap into people’s emotional intelligence and lead by example to get them on side.” Congratulations Paul.

Sir John Storey Award for Lifetime Leadership Achievement – Professor Shirley Randell AO FIML

World renowned for her work with women in Rwanda after the genocide, Professor Shirley Randell AO has had a fascinating and eminent career as an educator and expert in public sector and institutional reform in developing countries across the globe. Dr Randell was recognised in the 2012 Inaugural Australian 100 Women of Influence Awards – global category, and 100 World of Difference Awardees – community category for 2013 by The International Alliance of Women. She is an Officer of the Order of Australia and Distinguished Alumni of the Universities of Canberra and New England, Armidale, Australia. Shirley taught Aboriginal children in isolated schools in WA, before moving to Papua New Guinea to lecture at Uniting Church teachers colleges. Once back in Australia, Shirley began a 15 year career in the public service, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Public Service Commission. While Director of Programs in the Australian Capital Territory Department of Education she became a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Since coming back to Australia about a year ago, she comes to a number of IML events and is always a wonderful addition to the event. Congratulations Shirley.

Sir John Storey Award for Lifetime Leadership Achievement – Dr Donna Odegaard AM

Dr Donna Odegaard is the founder and CEO of Darwin-based Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia. Donna has an incredible leadership journey starting out when she was just seventeen years old where she started selling handmade clothes as a way of supporting herself and her young family. Donna was born into a large but impoverished family in 1953, and her early years in the outback were spent living in a tent before the consequences of the hardship the family endured saw her torn from the family and placed in an institution thousands of kilometers away. Despite her humble beginnings, Dr Odegaard has risen to become one of Darwin’s most respected business women with interests across everything from fashion and interior design to primary production and property development. Donna is a prime example of a culturally diverse leader who continues to contribute to both her community and business. She has spent the past three decades dedicated to increasing indigenous opportunities. Donna is an Indigenous Alumni Award winner, an Australian of the Year nominee and a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to Indigenous cultural heritage. Congratulations Donna.

Sir John Storey Emerging Leader Award – Gemma Wood

Gemma is Project Manager at Aurecon Australasia, an engineering and infrastructure advisory company. Over the past 18 months, she has grown from Assistant with limited responsibility, through to a Project Manager responsible for the successful delivery of a complex, bespoke facility. Gemma took over an $80M project halfway through construction when the Senior Project Manager moved on. Team motivation had reached a low and relationships with contractors and the client were strained. After making small changes to improve agendas, running meetings to schedule, opening communications, and increasing transparency, both stakeholders and contractors were more confident in the progress and worked more constructively. Demonstrating a commitment to collaboration and achieving common goals, there has been a dramatic improvement in teamwork and quality. In her application, Gemma said, “Leadership is about providing a platform for others to develop their own potential,  and giving them the support and encouragement to do it for themselves.” Congratulations Gemma.

Sir John Storey Catalyst Award for Business Innovation – Cahoots

Cahoots is a mission-driven, profit for purpose organisation. In 2015, Cahoots was Kids Camp Inc, a fully government funded charity, running approximately 20 respite camps for kids with disability per year. In 2016, the highly innovative Board of Directors recognised the future of the organisation was dependant upon their ability to evolve and spent the next 12 months consulting with members, volunteers and external stakeholders, on repositioning of the organisation. Today, as an NDIS provider, Cahoots has been able to evolve and thrive, where 85% of providers are struggling to remain solvent. Cahoots team has developed new and purpose-aligned revenue streams, to create income through fee for services. This income has been reinvested into the amazing children, young people and families supported by Cahoots. The Cahoots team of just 12 are able to deliver weekly programs, training, and over 40 camps for hundreds of families. In their application, Cahoots wrote, “Leadership means values-based decision making, acting with integrity, even when no one is watching – it’s being braver enough to stand alone.” Congratulations Cahoots.

Sir John Storey Catalyst Award for Business Innovation – Mornington Shire Council

Mornington Shire Council, a remote local government association in the Gulf of Carpentaria, is made up of a team of over 100 local indigenous residents and 35 mainland staff. In 2014, the Council was recognised as the second least compliant and unsustainable Council in Queensland. Past administration had alienated Council from State and Commonwealth Governments through mismanagement and developed a sustainability ratio of -75%. With a reliance on government grants, no rates base, failure to raise source revenue, aging infrastructure, outdated equipment, Council was crumbling. Today, through perseverance and innovation, local employment has increased over 400%, with an 85% indigenous employment ratio and 22 local indigenous apprentices. The Council has attracted $93 mil government investment in infrastructure, negotiated a 5 year government construction program, established itself as the principal contractor for all constructions, repairs and maintenance for infrastructure on Mornington Island, recently completed a new airport terminal and runway, barge landing/jetty, upgrade of entire road network, sporting facilities and open spaces. In their application, Mornington Shire Council wrote, “Leadership gives power to the voices and vision of the communities we serve, to deliver positive outcomes and make the world a better place.” Congratulations Mornington Shire Council.


Congratulations to all of our 2018 John Storey Awards, the Institute is extremely honoured and proud of all of your achievements!