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Foreign Policy Analysis
ANZSOG EMPA 2015 Dean’s Award winner Jane Gibbs

ANZSOG EMPA 2015 Dean’s Award winner Jane Gibbs


I’d like to acknowledge the traditional
owners and pay my respects to elders past and present and also it gives me
great pleasure to be presented with the Dean’s award for 2015 ANZSOG’s Master of Public Administration. It is a real honour to be
recognised with my EMPA peers here, with my chief executive Anthony Lean
if he made it on time, and my manager Derek Rutherford here today as well. I
would also like to acknowledge the support of my manager during much of the ANZSOG course – Dr Carolyn Davies and my mentor Dr Kate Wilson through the EMPA journey and of course my patient family who despite good intentions did
not actually make it here tonight and blamed too much homework and the traffic. I remember in the early days of Delivering public value in February 2015, one of the
guest speakers an EMPA alumni talked about being emboldened by ANZSOG, that is his newfound willingness to try new approaches, break down barriers and take
risks. This phrase stuck with me as I increased
my own level of confidence in knowing the right way to do things, the right way
to approach problem-solving and how to collaborate with others. My staff and
colleagues are very used to me preferencing my sentences with: when I
was at ANZSOG I learned… I thought about using my speech to reminisce about the 2015 EMPA journey as there were so many great moments, great memories great experiences and great friendships made along the way, as well as lots of
learning of course, supported by almost weekly teleconferences many late nights
and weekends of writing assignments. However what I really want to do with
this talk is talk about the significance of ANZSOG’s contribution to the public
service across Australia and New Zealand since its establishment in 2002 as long
now has over 2,600 members LinkedIn group which I take to mean over
2,600 students who have undertaken one of the ANZSOG programs. In New South Wales alone with an intake of between 20 and 25 students each year into the EMPA program I estimate that there are at least 300 EMPA graduates,
this means a veritable army of 300 students who talk the same language do
delivering public value, the strategic triangle and authorizing environment, sound familiar to anyone? Have a shared experience in learning how to collaborate and have
shown their capacity to learn and understand how to be effective in the
public sector. The question is: is this investment valued and how is that value
realized? Are we taking advantage of this new
emboldened army who understand the challenges of working in the modern
public sector with modern societal challenges are equipped with the skills
and knowledge to navigate these tricky social media Laden paths covered with
instant experts thanks to Google and are not unduly threatened by the current
trend of ministers seeking independent expertise despite the level of
expertise that resides within the public service itself. Just to demonstrate how
the emboldened army could come together and solve today’s wicked problems I’d
like to share a short anecdote with you to demonstrate the readiness of the
emboldened army. I recently completed my final elective in the EMPA degree aptly
titled conflict in organizations. During the class we presented a debate on rules
to manage workplace conflict I was placed in a team coincidentally with
three other EMPA alumni Tony from my cohort who is here tonight and Danielle and
Marg who I think are also here tonight from the 2016 cohort who II had not met before.
We instantly bonded over our EMPA shared experiences and reminisced about
Arie Freiberg’s book the Tools of Regulation. We also instantly swung into
teamwork mode, allocated tasks, worked together and brainstormed. Although the
lecturer diplomatically stated that there were no winners we were pretty
sure we nailed it. One of the other reasons is that the other team assumed we all knew each other and had an unfair advantage due to our obvious
display of teamwork. This is the part of the ANZSOG experience that you just don’t get with other degrees the bringing together of those eager to learn and put
into practice the public service craft. So my challenge to all of you here
tonight my call to arms if you will is how are you going to take advantage of
the emboldened army that are out there in the public service like sleepers
waiting to be collectively called up for duty with their public service craft
skills honed and ready, willing and able to be deployed to improve the public
value of the citizens of Australia and New Zealand and specifically for the EMPA alumni how are you going to keep your EMPA networks active remembering to be prepared for my Michael Mintrom’s window of opportunity or to take in the view from Paul t’hart’s dance floor from the metaphorical balcony. I thoroughly
enjoyed my EMPA journey and have gained so much more than just a degree I’m now
also starting to share and enjoy sharing my knowledge with others just starting
out on their journey and if given talks with Dr. Chris Walker who’s here to the
2016 and 2017 cohorts and more recently to the 2018 cohort as they commence their journey to keep building that EMPA journey and experience. In conclusion
I would like to thank my organisation the New South Wales office of environment and heritage and the New South Wales Public Service Commission for supporting this
amazing opportunity and the ANZSOG faculty and staff for making the
experience so memorable and finally I would like to especially thank my family
Jonathan, Sebastian and Christian who hopefully have finished their homework by now because at the end of the day I was not the only person on the EMPA journey
and it really did require a team effort Thank you.

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