Joblink Plus CEO Christine Shewry is one to call a spade a spade. She’s tenacious, empathetic, sharp, resilient – a top dog many admire. She implements programs and strategies to help thousands of unemployed members of the community find themselves in sustainable work opportunities. She describes her leadership style as warm heart, cool head.
Tell us a little bit about Joblink Plus and your role as CEO.
Joblink Plus is a for purpose not for profit organisation providing a range of employment and training services across regional and rural NSW. Joblink holds government licenses to deliver Generalist and Specialist employment services, including support for Indigenous Australians and Ex-Offenders. These include youth programs, parental support and progression to sustainable employment for people experiencing long term unemployment. Currently we work with a caseload of approximately 18,000 people across more than 80 communities. My role as CEO is to work with our dedicated Executive Team to develop and implement strategies that deliver life changing programs for those we work with. The most rewarding aspect of my role is identifying talent in others and creating the environment and culture to support the realisation of their full potential in every aspect of their lives.
In the years of being the CEO of Joblink Plus, what has been your most memorable experience/moment?
In a career spanning more than 40 years in employment services and human resources, I have a lot of highlights, too many to choose from at both an individual and organisational level! But a standout was our first ever all-staff conference when more than 200 of us took part in a flash mob performing Indigenous dance in Newcastle’s busy CBD. Of course, there is value in reflecting on what has been achieved in the past, yet part of the role is to stay forward looking and to keep pursuing the purpose. For instance, I recently heard from one of our leaders of a new program working with women in prison. The impact this program has had on individuals and their families is such that it is difficult to put into words.
You are undoubtedly busy; how do you take care of yourself and maintain a good mental health?
Self-reflection is really important and is the way I stay in touch with who I am and how I feel. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are prepared to share the practice of self-reflection with me.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing female leaders today?
Belief in self. We all too often succumb to the doubts of imposter syndrome. Stop! We do not need to be perfect, and we do not have to be an expert in everything in order to lead. Be confident in your ability to build great teams, working within a rewarding culture.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Think of yourself first and foremost as a leader – not a female leader - and a servant of those you lead.
Learn to read and understand a balance sheet, the most useful tool in understanding what is going on in your business, and where to focus your attention.
Take time for those you love and for yourself.
Invest in your own learning.
What’s the best piece of business advice that you have ever received?
When times get tough don’t sacrifice people, invest in them. If you do, they will stay with you, and when things turn for the better (as they always do) they will be there with you making the most of every opportunity.
What's one thing every woman should know about being successful in her career and life?
You will be criticised. This only matters if you respect the opinion of the critic.
What’s on the horizon for Joblink Plus in 2023?
For Joblink Plus, 2023 is about instilling trauma-informed practice into all that we do, including the delivery of the new Workforce Australia contract awarded in July 2022.
Location: REGIONAL | NSW Website: joblinkplus.com.au