Public/private sector exchanges
Some temporary moves can take you further from home than others. When circumstances are right, APS employees may consider embarking on adventures outside the public service, or even outside Australia.
Radi Kovacevic and Kat Di Marco now occupy senior roles in major Australian Government agencies. But earlier in their careers both discovered the benefits of taking temporary moves a long way out of their comfort zones.
Radi, who is now heading IT as Chief Information Officer at the Department of Home Affairs, spent some of his earlier years at the Department of the Treasury, which boasts a strong mobility culture.
On the approach of his 30th birthday he began to think about where his career was going and how could accelerate the learning process. Fortunately for him, Treasury backed Radi to take a period of leave without pay that he used to make his way to Ireland and, ultimately, end up working for Microsoft.
After a few years, Treasury called him back. However, by then Radi had spent enough time away to re-shape how he thought about his career in the public service.
“I came back with a very different and fresh look at the public service,” he says.
“Mobility reminds you why you’re a public servant and the importance of your role to the broader economy, and the people of Australia.”
“It really changed me”.
Kat Di Marco also made the most of Treasury’s attitude towards mobility. Specifically, she put her hand up to be part of the formal secondment program it runs with other government, private sector and academic organisations.
She ended up in BHP’s Singapore offices, testing her economic credentials in a very different environment, working amongst scientists and engineers rather than other economists.
“I was applying my craft, but at the same time I was also learning how to influence and how to engage people who think about problems very differently,” she says. “It really shaped the way I communicate and how I assess a situation.”
She believes one of the biggest changes was becoming confident to take what she knows, and to apply it in a completely new context.
“Realising you can do that is a really big thing,” she says.
Kat is back with Treasury, but now leads the Tax Analysis Division as First Assistant Secretary. She says she is still thankful to the people who nudged her to take the opportunities she did.
“I feel very blessed to have worked with a huge number of people who saw mobility as a positive, for both the organisation and the individual.”