Work with Purpose | Podcast series

Welcome to the Work with Purpose series, with the latest episode featured below. Work with Purpose explores the important role the Australian Public Service and supporting organisations are playing in the Government’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and priorities for the future. The series is produced in a partnership between contentgroup and IPAA ACT, with the support of the Australian Public Service Commission


PUBLIC SECTOR UNEARTHED EPISODE #1 | Bringing public service stories to life
From mentoring to inclusion networks, our new Work with Purpose spin-off series, Public Sector Unearthed, showcases the stories of public servants who are achieving grassroots culture change and reform.

In this teaser episode, our series hosts Megan Aponte-Payne and Brock Phyland talk with Anna Ryan, Head of Communications and Engagement at the Australian Public Service Commission, and Caroline Walsh, CEO of IPAA ACT to give you a little taster of what's to come. Caroline and Anna share their personal stories about joining the public service, some of the great bottom-up initiatives they have seen in their careers, and how leaders can support their staff to start their own.

This episode's Unearthed wisdom: If you want people to drive change on the ground, create an environment of trust and psychological safety.


Caroline Walsh
Caroline Walsh joined IPAA in September 2020, after a 20-year career spanning the Commonwealth and state public sectors. She has held senior roles covering policy, reform, regulation and service delivery. Caroline was most recently at the Australian Public Service Commission, where she held a number of Group Manager roles over 4 years, covering Inclusion, APS reform and employment policy. 

Anna Ryan
Anna Ryan is a communications, change and engagement practitioner who worked in the Australian Public Service for over 15 years. She has a passion for the APS and the people who work in it, and has been involved in many change projects for the Australian Government most recently at the APS Reform Office. She recently moved to the Australian Public Service Commission where she heads up the engagement and communication team.


Megan Aponte-Payne
Megan (“Meh-gen”) Aponte-Payne is an international trade specialist who currently works in the Office of Supply Chain Resilience at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. She has previously worked at the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and before that, headed up an NGO supporting international students and migrants. Megan is a coach and mentor, and has been a member of the IPAA Future Leaders Committee since 2020. She is especially passionate about leadership and cultural change in organisations.
Brock Phyland
Brock Phyland is a director in the Transform, Engage, Design (TED) Team at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Working over a number of years in the collaborative-design space, Brock enjoys facilitating and engaging directly with veterans and their families to better deliver support and services for the wider veteran community. Brock has been a part of the Future Leaders Committee since 2021 and thoroughly enjoys working and collaborating with other enthusiastic colleagues from across the whole APS and wider industry on events that challenge your thinking and make a difference.




EPISODE #92 part 2 | Driving capability uplift in the Australian Public Service

In part two of this special episode of Work with Purpose, we continue our conversation with Dr Rachel Bacon, deputy secretary at the APS Reform Office, and Dr Subho Banerjee, head of APS Academy and Capability. We explore some of the mechanisms that are supporting capability uplift – the Capability Reinvestment Fund, new in-house consulting model, and the APS Academy. Rachel and Subho also discuss some of their top tips on how to drive capability uplift as a leader in the APS, including being prepared to have meaningful and hard conversations, approaching each task with curiosity, and being a role model that others can look up. Listen

EPISODE #92 part 1 | Exploring capability uplift in the Australian Public Service

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we sit down with Dr Rachel Bacon, deputy secretary at the APS Reform Office, and Dr Subho Banerjee, deputy commissioner and head of the APS Academy and Capability, to explore the nuances of capability within the public service. They discuss the role of the Secretaries’ Board and the capability committee in setting strategic priorities, including attracting talent, embracing technological advancements, and fortifying leadership integrity. Tune in to discover how the APS is taking a decentralised, outward-facing approach to drive continuous improvement in public service. Listen

EPISODE #91 | Connect, care, contribute: Public service for public good

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we are joined by Dr Millie Rooney, social scientist and co-director of Australia reMADE, and Dr Russell Ayres, associate professor with the Centre for Environmental Governance at the University of Canberra. Together, they delve into the complexities of public service and the essence of the public good. Tune in as they highlight the sometimes-overlooked successes of the public service, the essential need for genuine community connections, and the nuanced relationship between public servants and politicians. Listen

EPISODE #90 | Unpacking Australia's first wellbeing framework

On this episode of Work with Purpose, join us as we host two distinguished experts, Leanne Wells, freelance health policy consultant, and Professor Rosemary Calder AM, a professor of health policy at Victoria University. They will unpack Australia's wellbeing statement, what it means for Australia’s communities, and how it might shape their future. Further, the conversation explores challenges for the frameworks, and the broader question of how it can truly make a difference on the ground. Listen

EPISODE #89 | How to embed psychological safety in Australia's workplaces

On this episode of Work with Purpose, our host David Pembroke together with Sarah Hawke, assistant secretary, Suicide Prevention and Priority Populations at the Department of Health and Aged Care, and Greg Vines, CEO of Comcare unpacks psychological safety at work. The panel delves into why psychological safety matters and explores implementation challenges and strategies for leaders. This episode provides valuable insights into the importance of psychological safety and how regulation in this space is changing to better support employees. Listen

EPISODE #88 | Making Australia's workplaces carer-inclusive

On this episode of Work with Purpose, our host Caroline Walsh, CEO of IPAA ACT, has a meaningful conversation about carers and how workplaces can support them with our guests, some of whom also share their own personal experience as carers. Joining us are Robyn Shannon, acting deputy secretary for the Department of Social Services, Lisa Kelly, CEO of Carers ACT, and Alex Allars, executive branch manager, Whole of Government Industrial Relations & Public Sector Employment, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, ACT Government. Listen

EPISODE #87 | Cultural responsiveness and why it matters with Lisa Conway

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we are joined by Lisa Conway, who is national manager, People Division at Services Australia, and a Sir Roland Wilson Pat Turner scholar. A Yorta Yorta woman who overcame great adversity in her life, Lisa shares her personal journey and her commitment to making a difference for people. Lisa emphasises the importance of cultural responsiveness, self-reflection, and learning from First Nations communities to create a diverse and inclusive society where everyone feels represented and supported. Listen

EPISODE #86 | Collaboration for public purpose with Helen Sullivan 

On this episode of Work with Purpose, Professor Helen Sullivan, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific discusses a new framework for analysing and understanding the dynamics of collaboration for public purpose, which goes beyond instrumental effectiveness, exploring collaboration as an affective space. Helen also shares examples of successful collaboration that showcases both effectiveness and affectiveness, and practical tips for public administrators to improve the way they collaborate. Listen

EPISODE #85 | Australia's reconciliation journey with Brendan Moyle 

On this episode of Work with PurposeBrendan Moyle, executive branch manager of the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs at the ACT Government tells us a powerful story about First Nations reconciliation, reflecting deeply on the persisting gap between conversations and behaviour, and how everyone in Australia can learn to walk the talk. Together with host David Pembroke, Brendan also talks us through the important role of valuing First Nations people, their contributions and their stories, and shares his tips on how to become a true ally to their cause. Listen

EPISODE #84 | How is the public sector using generative AI?

On this episode of Work with Purpose, Caroline Walsh, CEO of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT hosts a conversation that explores the potential and challenges of using generative AI in the Australian public sector. Sally Bayley-Nelson, manager of the AusIndustry Insights team, and Anthony Murfett, head of division for Technology and Digital at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, share their experiences using generative AI tools for their work and discuss the benefits and limitations of the technology. Listen

EPISODE #83 | Building digital capability in the public sector

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we are joined by two members from the Graduate Data Network – Moira McLoughlin, graduate at the Department of the Senate, and Samuel McMurray, data analyst at the Australian Taxation Office. Together, they share valuable insights into the world of data science and its significance in shaping policy and government programs within the Australian public service. They also discuss tools for staying on top of developments in data technology, such as natural language processing, and the importance of collaboration and continuous learning in the field of data. Listen

EPISODE #82 | How government experts self-sabotage

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we hear from ANU academic Dr Christiane Gerblinger about her recently released book ‘How Government Experts Self-Sabotage: The Language of the Rebuffed’. Along with host David Pembroke, Dr Gerblinger unpacks why policy advice is sometimes rejected, and looks at why experts can be reluctant to disclose information to accommodate political circumstances. Listen

EPISODE #81 | Rebuilding trust and integrity after robodebt

On this episode of Work with Purpose, together with two public service leaders – Kathy Leigh, Head of Service and Director-General of the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, ACT Government and Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM FIPAA, Secretary for Public Sector Reform – we examine the impact of robodebt, discuss how the public service might reinforce its values around integrity, and rebuild courage and pride in its work. Listen

EPISODE #80 | Why mentoring matters 

On this episode of Work with Purpose, guest host and Institute of Public Administration Australia ACT CEO Caroline Walsh speaks with two inspirational female leaders, Tania Rishniw, Deputy Secretary, Primary and Community Care Group, at the Department of Health and Aged Care, and Nina Davidson, Deputy Director-General Intelligence at the Office of National Intelligence about how mentoring can benefit women during their careers, and what a great mentoring relationship should look like. Listen

EPISODE #79 | Time, trust, turf: Building effective partnerships

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we discuss building strong partnerships within and outside the Australian public sector with Professor Janine O’Flynn, director at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, and David Pullen, assistant secretary, Cabinet Resilience and Crisis Management Division at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Listen

EPISODE #78 | LGBTQIA+ pride in the public sector 

With WorldPride underway in Sydney for the first time, Frances Gamble, CEO at Out for Australia, David Momcilovic, director at the Office of LGBTQIA+ Affairs, ACT Government, and Marty Jovic, health economist and partner PwC Australia join guest host Holly Noble to shine a light on what pride looks like in the public sector and how we can create workplaces that reflect the full diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. Listen

EPISODE #77 | Embracing neurodiversity in the public sector 

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we ask: How can public sector work environments be improved to better leverage the skills of neurodivergent employees? We feature three public service thought leaders in the field, Lee Steel, Ability Network Champion at PM&C (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), Robin Edmonds, Inclusion and Diversity Adviser at PM&C, and Andrew Pfeiffer, Ability Network Executive at PM&C. Listen

EPISODE #76 | Revisting 'Working across jurisdictions' 

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we're joined by Kate Lynch, First Assistant Secretary of the Environment Protection Division at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Warrick McGrath, Director of Biodiversity Regulatory Reform at the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning. Listen as they explore the topic of working across jurisdictions on environmental policy and regulation.

EPISODE #75 | Revisiting 'What are we doing about bullying and harrassment?'

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we revisit an important conversation that we brought to our listeners as part of the ‘National Perspective’ series. The conversation explores what workplace bullying and harassment look like and how to ensure safe and respectful workplaces in the public sector. Listen

EPISODE #74 | Revisiting 'Workforce transformation'

On this episode of Work with Purpose, we are joined by Adam Canwell, the Australian Lead of People Advisory Services Partner: Victoria at EY, Dr Andrew White, a Senior Fellow in Management Practice at Saïd Business School, Oxford University, and Harinder Sidhu, the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Listen as they discuss recent research on the skills needed to lead workforce transformation, and its relevance to the Australian public service. Listen


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IPAA ACT acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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