Hi, I’m Amy…
Working with community for community makes my heart sing.
We are the sum story of our past actions.
So here is my story…
Columist + Collaborator
Born and raised in the Top End, Northern Territory I am ‘Territory tough’, a straight shooter that values honesty and integrity. Growing up in a small community I have learned and value deeply the importance and power of working together.
I moved to Darwin, the defence capital of Australia, after high school and a few years later fell in love with a sailor. We married on the Esplanade of Darwin in 2003 and moved to Cairns three months later…. and have been here ever since.
We have two beautiful children who provide us with joy and every day struggles. Like most of you, parenting is by far my greatest achievement and challenge.
One afternoon in 2006, running up the Barron Gorge Road, I had an epiphany…. Cairns was home. My forever place. That’s when my thinking and perspective changed. I started noticing the names of parks, streets, buildings… all the legacies of people who have contributed to our community. It got me thinking… what was I doing for the betterment of my city?
I completed a Bachelor of Social Work at JCU Smithfield in 2008. As a social worker I’ve been lucky enough to work in both the non-government and government sectors at all levels; the coal face – real grassroots stuff, in policy and advocacy and in management. I work from an empowerment and strengths base – after all, you are the expert of your own life.
Working full time and raising a couple of humans squashed any thoughts about community service initially; however when they resurfaced they were stronger, more relevant… more personally important.
I wanted to be a positive role model to my children. I wanted them to be proud of me, to have stories to share with their kids about my contributions to this beautiful city… I needed to do something, I wanted a part in creating the story!
Some of you may have watched my TEDx talk from 2017… ‘Life after tragedy – a garden of hope’. It wasn’t my best speech, it was a huge out-of-my-comfort-zone moment and I was pretty nervous as it was my first public speech.Some of you may have watched my TEDx talk from 2017… ‘Life after tragedy – a garden of hope’. It wasn’t my best speech, it was a huge out-of-my-comfort-zone moment and I was pretty nervous as it was my first public speech.
To my surprise, people still come up to me and say “you did the speech on the garden didn’t you?” and “I was so inspired by your speech” and “what a story and what courage”. Proof that we don’t have to be perfect, just engaged and committed to aligning values with action.
Service to community was the crucial factor that got me the job of my dreams at the time, and recognition of my leadership strengths and commitment to community started to be acknowledged. Awarded with the Australian Institute of Management Cairns Community Leader Award, 2017, Cairns Business Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year, 2017 and named a Cairns Regional Council 2019 Citizen of the Year Finalist, have accidentally led me to this point.
My community service all started by attending a little group meeting in my community – they were looking for someone to take the minutes. I put up my hand. Before long we decided to produce a newsletter, being the only person in the group that owned a computer I put up my hand again. Next thing you know government agencies, community organisations and even council staff and councillors were asking to be put on the newsletter mailing list. I started to get known as the ‘newsletter girl’.
I was surprised that people were reading it let alone sharing it and using it! I started to receive invitations to attend community meetings and consultations. Naturally I started to build my network in the community including the residents as I helped mailbox drop the newsletters and would have a chat.
A few years into my volunteer work in Manoora, I saw a position advertised with a multi-government agency taskforce set up to focus on improving the health, wellbeing and safety in Cairns West, also known as the 3Ms – Manoora, Manunda and Mooroobool. I applied and got it!
My new boss, an Inspector with Queensland Police who was on the panel said the deciding factor in offering me the position was my passion and genuine care for the community. I remember feeling sooooo proud at that moment…. That’s how I wanted to be known… as passionate, community minded and connected. I spent the next two years working on the taskforce directly with the 3M communities.
Why am I running for Council?
When asked to consider running for Council, my initial reaction was: “No, I’m not into politics I just like working with community.” It was this answer that planted the seed because I realised that if I was in office I could increase my impact and reach for the betterment of the whole community.
A team player, I support the work of others by sharing information, knowledge and resources, and display initiative with a “roll the sleeves up” approach to getting the job done. Guided by the mantra, “actions speak louder than words”, I have built a reputation as a doer – someone who gets things done.
My top 5 for Division 5
1 Cooler + greener
2 Parking + accessibility
3 Celebrate people + place
5 Creating a smart city