CEO outlines path for ‘unstoppable communities’ at business conference

Port Macquarie-Hastings


Port Macquarie Hastings Council CEO Dr Clare Allen spoke to local business and industry leaders at the IGNITE MNC 2022 Symposium Woolgoolga today about planning for our future, reducing bureaucracy and fostering leadership.

The Ignite MNC is a business and community event hosted by Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast. Dr Allen was invited to share her passion for change and her very simple recipe to achieve it.

Dr Allen’s academic research and lived experience in the business world have enabled her to pioneer a simple approach to the complexities of thriving and building “Unstoppable Communities” with a particular focus on regional Australia.

“Building momentum as a collective is essential to change, working with those that want the change and those that do not,” said Dr Allen.

“We must to work together on common goals. We all care about building intergenerational equity. My job is to deliver for seven generations beyond today.

“This is the job of every leader in any sector, particularly in regional and coastal NSW right now. It is also the job of every person at PMHC.

“We are all here to serve our community; how we do that is up to us.”

Dr Allen’s presentation ignited interest, challenge and great discussion among the audience.

“It’s pretty simple to me,” said Dr Allen.

“We must:

“Believe – in ourselves and our higher purpose.Right now, my higher purpose is the community I serve. Your belief is your ‘why’ – the reason you work so hard to achieve your goals. We must believe not only in the people around us but also in the path we set ourselves as leaders to deliver for the future. At times it might be quite difficult as this belief is tested. If you believe in yourself and the path you have set is consistent and looks to the future, then stay the course.

“Lead – leaders are everywhere. I’m an appointed leader, and I work with leaders elected by our community. Our staff are leaders every day in the work they do and the decisions they make. As leaders we must also deliver, and in local government, we must also serve.

“Reduce the red tape and bureaucracy – as a leader in local government, my job is to make bureaucracy simple. Our customers, our community and our community leaders are not bureaucrats. My job is to meet and manage the requirements our people hold Government to account; to spend public money responsibly and deliver results and value for money. It is not our desire or job to make things difficult.

“Generate Momentum – stay the course and forge forward, even when obstacles arise. There will always be challenges along the way. Those who continue to push forward and adapt achieve success.”

These themes are applied by Dr Allen in the way she approaches her day-to-day job at PMHC. Her presentation also highlighted how all of us can apply these ideas as we strive to understand, address and solve key issues facing communities on the Mid North Coast, such as population growth, need for affordable housing, workforce and labour shortages.

Dr Allen has shared this simple formula for many years. As a recipient of several prestigious industry awards, including the WA IBM Telstra Business Woman of the Year and Alcoa Enterprising Women’s Award, Dr Allen said she was thrilled to be speaking to such an important group of people.

“Imagining our potential and planning for the future is what drives me,” she said.

“It is what propels me and fuels my fire. There is so much that can be achieved in this region given its incredible assets – natural beauty, central location and vibrant, dedicated people.

“We need to plan and design our services with future generations in mind and we need to transform the way we do things in order to achieve that.

“It is easy to stick your head in the sand and continue down the comfortable route because it’s the way it’s always been done.

“I don’t fear change. I embrace it as a constant, something we cannot avoid. So, while this region does face many challenges, with the right people and the right ideas we can make positive changes for the future.”

/Public Release. View in full here.