The pivotal role NGOs play in building successful relationships between government and local communities

Written by Isobel Bender

It may seem like common sense to discuss relationships as a crucial component of successful environmental management, however, in my recent research I found that the importance of relationships seems to be the conspicuous elephant in the room – rarely discussed and yet evident in the successes and failures within environmental management.

Through interviewing eight non-government organisations (NGOs) in the Murray Darling Basin, I found that the organisations’ focus and ability to form connections and relationships with the people they work with, is critical in brokering effective environmental outcomes.  Each of the NGOs interviewed showed how they have become the middle woman (six of the eight organisations are led by women) between government and landholders, where they are in a position to have effective relationships with each party.

In the context of the call for more localised approaches to environmental management, I believe this work has further demonstrated NGOs as an important mechanism to allow for locally driven approaches. They help create an environment of connection, trust, and relationships between people, place and outcomes, where the process of building these relationships, as Lauren Tynan (2020) indicates, ensures the integrity of the outcome – environmental stewardship.   The diagram below illustrates the key findings from my research highlighting trust, connection and relationship as characteristic of the NGOs interviewed.

Why does it matter?

The role of these NGOs matter because they provide institutional diversity.  I do not think it is the government’s role to emulate these organisations in an attempt to connect with landholders. Rather, by enabling and supporting the continuation of these NGOs, and others like them, with long-term funding to enhance their stability, they can broker environmental outcomes between government, landholders and community that might not occur without their involvement.   This means government at all levels needs to be willing to form relationships and collaborate with NGOs and make room for their alternate approaches to environmental management – one where local communities have the opportunity to take responsibility and be accountable to the place and environment they call home.

This research was my attempt to showcase and value, the voices and experiences of those who work on a local scale and have an intimate knowledge of their environment. Driving this are my personal experiences with government agencies where I have found there was little attempt to form relationships with local communities who are relied upon to successfully implement policy, or who have lived experiences of the issue at hand.  Hopefully my findings (see below) demonstrate how the NGOs I interviewed act as intermediaries, able to leverage their strong relationships with community to deliver environmental outcomes desired by government led and funded natural resources management initiatives.  

Disclaimer: A perspective that should have been included in this project, is that of Indigenous peoples. There are many Indigenous mobs who are fighting for and looking after the environment. This project was, however, conducted from within the Australian National University, and I needed to obtain ethics approval to interview participants. As an undergraduate non-Indigenous student, I am unable to obtain ethics approval to speak with Indigenous peoples. I recognise that Indigenous voices need to be heard and included in any conversation on environmental management, as they have been stewards of country for over 60,000 years and are, and will continue to, look after country. Where possible, I have tried to reference Indigenous thinkers to help inform my analysis, with the understanding that this will never be a sufficient substitute.

Need for localised management

Common descriptions of the Murray-Darling Basin reference the 2.2 million people who live in the region (MDBA 2022). Yet, within water policy, I believe there is minimal consideration of the role these 2.2 million people could play in successful management of the Basin’s water and reliant ecosystems. Environmental governance, especially water management, is predominately centralised so that decisions and policy development occur within the Federal government (Pittock 2019). Attempts to incorporate local or regional community perspectives tend to be superficial ‘stakeholder engagement’ which is more imparting of information, rather than a genuine incorporation of views (Alexandra 2019; Bischoff-Mattson et al. 2018; Garrick et al. 2012; Pittock 2019). The reality that communities rely on water has, however, driven government agencies to engage at the local scale. 

In the context of environmental management beyond state or federal protected areas, a large proportion of water bodies – rivers, wetlands, floodplains, and riverine ecosystems – are on privately owned land. Sometimes there are negative connotations made about private landholders in the Basin (as there also is about government), and these are often exacerbated through publicised mismanagement of a water allocation or environmental flow.  The highly contested Basin Plan has, unfortunately, heightened tensions between landholders and government, eroding trust and confidence in processes designed to protect the long-term future of the Murray-Darling Basin (Alexandra 2019; Dare and Lukasiewicz 2019; Garrick et al. 2012).   

For the NGOs I interviewed, and based on my personal experience, landholders are deeply familiar with the land they are on, and in most instances are motivated and passionate about protecting their home.  It is beginning to be recognised that decisions in environment and water management would greatly benefit from more local involvement, and that there is a need for more collaborative relationships between government and local/regional communities. The call for ‘localism’ or various connected ideas like subsidiarity and collaborative governance, is gaining momentum as a key approach for environmental management (Alexandra 2019; Dare and Lukasiewicz 2019; Garrick et al. 2012; Pittock 2019; Robinson et al. 2015; Tan 2012). It is where local perspectives are understood and integrated into management – either through delegation of management to the scale appropriate (i.e. away from centralised government) and/or through more genuine collaboration (Robinson et al. 2015).

The eight NGOs I interviewed provided a window into why local scale management is crucial for the overall success of environmental management.  Each organisation collaborates with landholders to achieve on-ground change at landscape and river reach scale.  

Non-government organisations in the Murray Darling Basin

I interviewed nine people from eight different non-government organisations that all work with private landholders:

  • 4 are service providers, 4 are advocacy organisations
  • 6 focus on water and land management, 2 focus on land
  • 5 have employed staff paid largely through grants, 3 have volunteer staff

Relationships and relational accountability 

Each interview was filled with fascinating stories and perspectives. Something that stood out to me across all the organisations was a focus, implicitly or explicitly, on relationships. This struck me as something important to investigate further, because when I asked about their organisation, what they do and why they do it, the answers kept coming back to relationships – to the places they feel connected to, and to the people they work with.  

It reminded me of relational accountability.  

Relational accountability is a component of an Indigenous research paradigm.  Before I continue discussing the concept of relational accountability, I need to explain my position as a non-Indigenous white woman.  Relational accountability amongst Indigenous scholars is an expression of sovereignty, a means to privilege Indigenous thinking and thinkers within non-Indigenous Institutions (Rigney 2000). Indigenous thinking is not, as Lauren Tynan (2020) states: “a well of ideas to draw from but not reference.”   This occurs when Indigenous knowledge is extracted without consent or understanding, and is seen as a continuation of colonisation (Latulippe and Klenk 2020).  By introducing relational accountability into this project, I am acknowledging that the concept is Indigenous and taught to me by my mentor Kate Harriden, a Wiradjuri woman, and by Uncle Wally Bell, a Ngunawal elder.  I did not set out to explore relational accountabiliy, rather, the approach resonated with the stories I was hearing from the NGOs I interviewed.

As my research progressed, I noticed elements of relational accountability in the organisations’ approaches to environmental management. Having observed this, I have an obligation both to the idea of relational accountability, to notice it and draw attention to it when I see it enacted, as well as an obligation to pay tribute to the Indigenous voices and scholars who have introduced me to the idea.  Additionally, my focus on relational accountability does not discount that there are similar theories or discussions by non-Indigenous thinkers, but for me, having been taught the concept by Kate and Uncle Wally, I am privileging Indigenous thinking to help guide my analysis of the interviews. 

Relational accountability 

I understand relational accountability as a thinking that centres relationships – to ideas, to people, to place, to ancestors – as the why and how of research. As Sean Wilson (2001) states:  

You are answering to all your relations when doing research. You are not answering questions of validity or reliability, or making judgements of better or worse… you are asking how am I fulfilling my role in this relationship? What are my obligations in this relationship?

Lauren Tynan (2020) says that relational accountability is centering or valuing the process over the product where:

how you do things (process) is considered much more important than what we do (product); the integrity of the product is ensured by the integrity of the process.

Rather than being outcome driven, relational accountability is process driven, where the process is building relationships, and maintaining and being accountable to these relationships (Tynan 2020, Wilson 2008). It involves asking, is what I am doing helping to build a relationship between myself, the people I am working with, the place I am working for, the ideas I am working towards, and how am I maintaining these relationships? (Barlo et al. 2021; Wilson 2001, 2008).  

Although predominately discussed by Indigenous thinkers as a research paradigm, it can also be considered an ethic or a way of being that extends to all our relationships; an ethic of living (Tynan 2020). It is this conceptualisation that I believe is relevant to what came out in my interviews. 

Results: The organisations and relational accountability

I saw three elements of relational accountability evident in the organisations. These were a connection to place, prioritising process over outcome, and trust as a by-product of being accountable.

Connection To Place

Relational accountability encompasses relationships to place and our responsibility to maintain and be accountable to our relationship to place (Tynan 2020; Wilson 2001). I saw this as the driver of most of the organisations I interviewed. A large part of what they do is attempt to look after, and respect, the places they feel connected to – from the Murrumbidgee River, the Macquarie Marshes, the Murray River, the Goulburn River, the wetlands in the Basin, the Snowy Mountains, to their own homes and properties.

Interview Excerpt 1:

One person I interviewed was very angry and frustrated at the state of the Macquarie marshes and at how government has managed the environmental water for the marshes. Towards the end of the interview, I asked what makes them want to be part of the organisation, why keep fighting? They went onto explain how as a kid, they used to go down to the Marshes to the ‘zoo paddock’ – so-called because they never knew what they would see when they looked through the reeds. When they went to Taronga Zoo as a kid for the first time, with such anticipation, they were incredibly disappointed because it was nothing like the wonder of the Marshes. They realised how special the Marshes were and expressed remorse and despair at seeing it decline in front of them. What drove them and the organisation was the sense of injustice at how the Marshes were being mismanaged. 

Most organisations were formed and started in response to environmental degradation and the desire to do something to help. This was either through rehabilitation works and/or advocacy for environmental interests. For most, this connection to place and trying to halt its degradation, was the primary reason for the organisation’s continuation (as shown in Interview Excerpt 1).

Other people explained that a strength of their organisation was that they could enable or facilitate landholders to connect to their local area and through this, to the wider environment. In other words, the organisations could help landholders strengthen their relationship to place and a sense of accountability by enabling them to look after and do something good for their home (See Excerpts 2 and 3).

Interview Excerpt 2:

One person said they were surprised that they had an increase in people coming to them to help deliver environmental water during the Millennium drought, where landholders would say ‘it makes me feel good doing something positive’ for the environment. The person believed the mental aspect of helping people reconnect and see positive environmental changes on their property is a large part of why people come to the organisation.

Interview Excerpt 3:

One person talked about what inspires them to work for their organisation, by telling a story of being able to provide tree guards to help a man who had lost his home in the bushfires.  For him it was like Christmas, saying:

‘From a mental health perspective, to be able to put in these trees, for him it was like he was finally getting back to doing something good again (for his home).’ 

Starting with people (process over outcome)

As Sean Wilson and Lauren Tynan discuss (2001; 2020), relational accountability encompasses starting with the belief in wanting to form respectful relationships and connections with people who you are working with. This then drives what you do and how you do it. This could also be described as prioritising process over the outcome, where the outcome of the organisations, for example the rehabilitation of a wetland, is a by-product of the relationship between the landholder and the organisation. I saw this as the primary approach for most of the organisations I interviewed.

Some of the organisations consciously understood that their approach was to start with a conversation with landholders to see where they, as an organisation, could help. Part of this relationship building included a conscious respect for landholder’s viewpoint and experience, as well as giving time to develop these relationships, rather than purely being outcome driven (Excerpts 4, 5 and 6).

Interview Excerpt 4:

One person stated the organisation had a conscious focus on investing in people:

‘(What this organisation) does differently, is you start with people first, and then work comes off the back…the conversations that happen out on the ground, you can feel it energise the group and people want to build on that.’

Interview Excerpt 5:

One person, when asked to describe the organisation, stated it was based around people with a focus on working in partnership with people and being authentic and genuine in their relationships. They wait to be invited by a landholder onto their farm, with no pressure or requirement for that landholder to become involved:

‘That is part of it – not hard selling – everything is optional, if something doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit – it’s no problem, cup of tea and have a chat. We aren’t driven by targets we just want to work with people.’ 

Interview Excerpt 6 :

One person in response to the question of why landholders come to them, indicated it is because they start from a position of respecting the views of the landholders and are not looking to force anything onto them:

‘We don’t come in and tell them how they should do it, we do it with them. We deeply respect that it is their property, their land, and that we are there essentially as guests… And we don’t have an (attitude) ‘that it must be done in this way…It’s a partnership. And without becoming too ‘pollyanna-ish’ about this, they really feel it is a genuine relationship and a genuine partnership, and I think that is what is so key to it.’

They more clearly articulated their approach of forming relationships, in response to being surprised why this ethic is not more common sense:

‘It’s just people, we have a conversation. I have boiled down that lesson to exactly that ‘how do you manage to get cooperation.’ And I go ‘you talk to them; you just talk with people.’ And you have to have a second conversation, and a third and 25th conversation. But that’s what you do. And if you have to have 100 conversations, then that’s what you have to do.’ 

Other organisations appeared to be less conscious that relationship building was a large component of their organisation’s approach. However, it was still evident, especially when they talked about how others perceive their organisation or what they saw as the strength of their organisation (Excerpts 7-9).

Interview Excerpt 7:

One person described how the organisation was established to connect people across the Basin so that they could help them where they could, either through education, advocacy, grant applications or organising campaigns. They went on to discuss how crucial building relationships was for the organisation to achieve anything:

‘And what we have done is connect the top end with the bottom end… And connecting with the people and having them show you around. I like that the most…Building of relationships and understanding the importance of building strong relationships and building political power, you actually have to do to make change. If we can keep building on those relationships, and getting progressive people in position of power, then there is hope.’ 

Interview Excerpt 8:

One person stated that as well as the organisation forming to respond to environmental degradation, it also enabled people in the community to connect to each other:

‘Originally the group was very much attentive to policy, but I would describe it as a social outlet, family orientated and hands on, planting trees. Over the time, many of those roles have been taken up by Landcare groups. In Goulburn, we had no Landcare groups at the time (Organisation was created). (The organisation) was the first opportunity for anyone to join in a group of likeminded people.’

Interview Excerpt 9 :

One person talked about how landholders see their organisation as ‘community glue.’ This is because their organisation takes steps to ensure the goals of the organisations are largely led by community interest where they have a coordinator in the community building and maintaining these relationships:

‘Keeping their ears out and listening to what the community needs. We also where possible employ locals. So, through living in the region, they are bringing their knowledge on what the community needs, and the feelers out in the community at any given point in time…‘being part of a community and then be able to share that with people is a real privilege I think.’ 


A component of relational accountability is ensuring you are accountable to your relationships (Wilson 2008). Even where organisations did not expressly articulate their approach as relational accountability, many of them described how people they work with trust them. A key component of any good and reciprocal relationship is trust. There could be several reasons as to why these organisations have earnt the trust of those they have worked with, and I believe these reasons demonstrate  an approach similar to relational accountability.

Elements of trust, according to Frances Frei (2018), are logic, empathy, and authenticity. The element of authenticity has already been discussed, with organisations prioritising relationships that are required to be authentic.  The other two elements are reliability (logic), generosity (empathy), and building on Frei’s elements, continuity.


The continuity offered by the NGOs I interviewed was something repeatedly discussed. An aspect of continuity was the ability of the organisation to be in the one area for long periods of time, enabling long-term connections to be developed with the people and the place. Another aspect of continuity is the commitment to remain focused on issues that are relevant to the local community. (Excerpts 10-12).

Interview Excerpt 10:

One person discussed how a strength of the organisation being more locally orientated, is that they could keep the focus on issues that larger organisations may no longer see as an issue:

‘Having the group themselves with the capacity to stay focused on all of that. There was a little bit of thinking that once the Basin plan got bedded down, and all the negotiations happened and got agreed to and off we go, a lot of the city based organisations thought ‘oh well we have done that now, the Basin Plan is there, our biggest problem is climate change, so all the focus went to Climate change, and the Adani mine….So inland river networks was one of the groups…that followed the issue closely and stuck with it.’ 

Interview Excerpt 11:

One person told the story of a farmer excited to show the organisation what they had done on their property to rehabilitate the river and surrounding area. The organisation had worked with him for around 15 years, and he wanted to share the joy with them, because of their long-standing relationship.

‘Already seen groups that say, we planted that 20 years ago, we planted that 10 years ago – becomes a lifelong commitment. People can come and go from it as time allows for it.’ 

Interview Excerpt 12:

One person, when asked why landholders come to their organisation, responded:

‘It’s a combination of past knowledge, some of these wetlands we have been working in for 20 years. So we have known them for a very long time, and we know what they have needed…But I prefer to think, that the main things about it is we have a proven record with working for the last 20 years with landholders. They tend to like that known quantity and that known face…People like that continuity.’ 


Building on continuity, the organisations I talked to indicated they had a proven track record of delivering what they promised, and as such are reliable. Being more present in their local communities, meant most organisation were held accountable by the ‘bush telegraph’ system or word of mouth (Excerpt 13). Interestingly, this bush telegraph system relies on existing relationships within the community.

Interview Excerpt 13:

When asked why landholders come to their organisation, they replied:

‘It really does rely on that word of mouth as well. If they hear it from someone else who has done a project in their area, that helps build that trust. ‘We worked with these guys, they did great things on our property, you should have a look into it’ – much more …, you can’t buy that. A lot stronger relationship than us turning up and saying do you want us to fence off your creeks and plant your riparian zone? If [we] had someone else say we’ve done it and we loved it, heaps better.’ 


Services offered by all the NGOs interviewed, whether paid staff or volunteer, had an ethic of wanting to give, without expecting anything, concrete or otherwise, in return. It appeared to be an ethic of ‘what can we do to help’ rather than, ‘what can I get out of helping you.’ (Excerpt 14). This links to a connection to place and prioritising process over product, where if you are starting with the belief in wanting to form a connection and build on that connect, it removes the need to have a purely ‘transactional’ relationship.

Interview Excerpt 14:

One person said a strength of their organisation was their ability to help farmers have a voice:

‘Our capacity to support farmers to be voices off farm is really exciting and interesting. Again that trusted messenger, we have got an incredible story to tell, they have first-hand experience of the effects of climate change some of them, so our ability to go ‘here we can connect you up, give you a little bit of media training, do it quite nimbly, obviously nothing is perfect, but we have got some capacity to support you to be heard, and to get out there.’ I think that is a real strength.’ 

Generosity is further demonstrated in the advocacy groups I interviewed – most were volunteer based, where they volunteered their time, energy, and knowledge to help where they could and be a voice for the community on various committees (Excerpt 15). Similarly, for the service providers who have paid workers, generally they obtained funding elsewhere so they could deliver on property without expecting the farmer to pay for the service. 

Interview Excerpt 15:

Many organisations talked about the difficulties in being volunteer based. However, one person commented, despite the difficulties, at least through volunteering their organisation could ensure their community voices could be heard:

‘It all takes a toll on people (volunteering). But if you can have someone who can represent us, because none of those positions are paid positions. It is rarely ever that people like us turn up to a meeting and without us being the only person around that table not being paid. Just about everyone else, whether they are from government, Catchment management authorities, local government – every person is sitting there as part of their role, their job except for people like us. I am retired now, and I can afford it, not the case with everyone.’ 

Why relationships do, and should, matter to environmental stewardship

Sean Wilson (2001) said, when discussing relational accountability, that things in themselves are not as important as the relationship to them, that reality is made up of relationships. In a similar vein, I read a paper from an author, Cameron Muir, who had worked with mob and said:

‘how people take care of social relationships, and how people take care of ecological relationships are the same question’ (Muir et al. 2020).

In contrast,  I feel I have been taught to perceive environmental management as a series of actions, guided by science with measurable outcomes. There has rarely been an emphasis on the need for relationships in order for these outcomes to be successful. Yet relationships seem to be the key as to why the NGOs I interviewed work, with examples of positive outcomes consistently cited that were only possible due to the quality of their relationships with landholders and community (Excerpt16).

Interview Excerpts 16: examples of successful outcomes due to relationships

  • Being able to deliver water on irrigator properties to restore wetlands, despite government insistence that it would not work, because of the relationship formed between the landholders and the organisation.
  • Recognising that the success of river management in one area was due to the relationships between people, and between the people and the river. Rather than take the management outcomes and apply them to another river, they invested in people and created the space where they could form relationships and come up with their own solutions. 
  • Able to organise a campaign and connect people to each other due to the existing relationships with landholders across the Darling region. 

My musings: Without relationships, I believe environmental management becomes mechanical and outcome driven, with a limited sense of being accountable to the place and people who the outcomes are intended to benefit. Without connection to a river and its dependant ecosystem, where does the motivation come from to protect it? Without the connection to your family and community, where is the motivation to ensure there is a healthy home for everyone? Without connection to people who are offering to help, without trusting that something can be done, where is the motivation to try?

Is the government capable of forming relationships in this space?

In the water space, Federal agencies are faced with a tricky balance between needing to operate and make decisions at a National, multi-jurisdictional or multi-catchment level, while also relying on state-based processes for local engagement.  Local engagement involves landholders and community members working with government to manage water.  Perhaps one of the earliest and noteworthy efforts to connect community members with water policy was driven by Former Victorian Premier, the Late Joan Kirner, who in the 1980s pushed for community involvement in water management. This led to the establishment of the Basin Community Advisory Committee. While this gave the community a broader voice, it is not at the fine scale of delivery and management required when using water (Guest 2016).

Another example of government connecting with community members is the establishment of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH). The Commonwealth Water Act in 2007 established the CEWH, to deliver water for the environment to rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin. Recognising the need to connect with communities, the CEWH established in 2014, Local Engagement Officers (LEOs) across the MDB. These LEOs have proved to be an effective mechanism for engaging with communities and, building on their success, the Murray Darling Basin Authority followed suit several years later, appointing several Regional Engagement Officers across the Basin. The MDBA has since shifted to a regional model entirely, with officers based across several parts of the MDB.

From the perspective on those interviewed, as well as other commentators on the subject, there is a general opinion that government is limited in their ability to form the type of relationships needed for lasting environmental change.  This is not necessarily due to lack of interest or desire, but more due to their scale and how as institutions they function (Alexandra 2019; Pittock 2019).  From the interivews the following points relate to the ability of government to form lasting relationships.

  1. In general, government is not trusted by landholders. Some of the organisations, especially the advocacy groups, had formed because they felt their voices were not heard, and that government was too influenced by other interest groups. Two organisations also discussed how landholders felt they were not trusted by government and are treated accordingly, fuelling a distrust of government.
  2. There is a  lack of trust because government cannot offer continuity. Not only is this due to changing government and in turn, changing priorities, but due to a limited will to invest in long-term projects. Some organisations discussed how this inability to offer continuity creates difficulties for how their organisation operates, and can impact their relationship with landholders. For example, short-term grants threaten the organisations’ stability in relation to their ability to keep staff. Additionally, there is limited continuity with government staff, with many organisations commenting how they keep having to restart a relationship with government employees, and that it comes down to chance as to whether they get someone who is supportive or dismissive of the organisation. ‘At the moment we are happy with where it is because the contact person is passionate about the project who gets the funding from XXXX is just so connected and engaged. He fights for it – so he writes these plans, he can see it, he has worked with it – he is just the right person. But in the absence of him, and this is where it really gets tenuous, if he left there, might be his boss who thinks it is ok, but there would be no one in there fighting for it.’ 
  3. The scale of government, with decisions on issues generally starting at higher levels of government, is another barrier to forming relationships with landholders. The motivation and goals of the organisations I interviewed were driven by the needs of the communities and places they were connected to, reinforcing that relationship. However, as one person commented, it is when organisations become too large, that the focus becomes more administrative and disconnected from on-ground perspectives.
  4. The organisations are able to feed back to government a more grounded perspective and understanding of localised issues, perhaps more accurate than what could be achieved in ‘stakeholder consultation.’

The strengths of using NGOs or equivalent organisations as a bridge to local communities is evident with several of the organisations I interviewed working collaboratively with government at State and Federal levels.  For example partnerships the CEWO has formed with NGOs such as The Murray-Darling Wetlands Working Group, Renmark Irrigation Trust, The Nature Conservancy and Nature Foundation South Australia.  At a State level the partnership between the ACT Government and the Rivers of Carbon program is another example of local action within a wider context of government support for on-ground environmental restoration.

Final thoughts

The NGOs I interviewed have become the middle woman (six of the eight organisations are led by women) between government and landholders, where they are in a position to have different relationships with each (see Figure 1). In the context of the call for more localised approaches to environmental management, these NGOs are the mechanism to allow for locally driven approaches. They help create an environment of connection, of relationships between people, place and outcomes, where the process of building these relationships, as Lauren Tynan (2020) says, ensures the integrity of the outcome – environmental stewardship.

I do not think it is for government to emulate these organisations in an attempt to connect with landholders. Instead, there needs to be support for the continuation of these non-government organisations, and others like them, with long-term funding to enhance their stability and ability to plan for the long-term. This also means government at all levels being  willing to form relationships, collaborate, and make room for alternate approaches to environmental management – one where local communities have the opportunity to take responsibility and be accountable to the place and environment they call home.

Suggested read: Now is the moment we need to elevate feminine leadership traits in river management

I have worked with many managers over the years, but only a few of them I would call leaders. A leader for me is someone who inspires confidence, is able to be wrong, has trusted relationships and seeks the very best for the people they work with. The leaders I have followed in my career have been both men and women – and in all cases they have, and do, lead holistically. By this, I mean that they embrace and draw upon both masculine and feminine traits.

Read More


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