WA Department of Finance director general wins Telstra Business Woman of the Year award

By Shannon Jenkins

May 1, 2020

Adobe

Western Australian Department of Finance director general Jodi Cant has taken home the Telstra Business Woman of the Year award, and the Public Sector and Academia award.

Leading 1000 staff, Cant’s “dedicated work influences Western Australia’s entire public sector”, according to Telstra.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt and the Finance department have congratulated Cant on the win. Wyatt said he was “delighted” by the news, describing it as “great recognition of an exceptional WA public servant”.

Cant was appointed director general at Finance in 2018. Prior to that, she was chief executive of Landgate, WA’s Land Information Authority. She has also worked for the Department of Housing and Works.

Landgate was named Australia’s Most Innovative Government Agency and the 19th Most Innovative Business by the Australian Financial Review under Cant’s leadership. The Mandarin spoke to Cant in 2018 about how Landgate became one of Australia’s leading public sector innovators.


Read more: Landgate and the innovation floodgate: building a program, keeping it fresh


In 2007, as Landgate’s comms manager, Cant created one of the first government innovation programs in Australia. As there were no public sector examples to base the program on, Cant instead looked to big corporates like Toyota and 3M for examples.

She set up an online forum where every staff member could post their ideas, and fought for the platform to be unmoderated.

“Our corporate execs said to me that before anyone puts anything on there they should have the permission of their manager,” she told The Mandarin.

“They didn’t want it posted before it had already been discussed and killed.

“I defended it passionately enough that they let me get away with it, so our forum was unmoderated. I said ‘people are putting things up publicly, we can all read it, so let’s trust them’.”

Cant introduced a number of initiatives at the agency, including the right for employees to spend 5% of their time working on innovative ideas, even ideas that were not specifically work-related.

More recently, Cant told Leadership WA that her leadership style is authentic.

“That’s for others to judge, but I would like to think people would say I’m firm but fair, open to ideas and opportunities, and that I’m consistent and courageous,” she said.

“I would say I’m an authentic leader: what you get is the real me. I’ll put my hand up for any challenge.”

 

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