Mayor of Lismore, Jenny Dowell does a guest blog for Cake Marketing - we're so excited to have her on board as our first guest blogger because she is a constant inspiration not only to us at Cake Marketing and the people of Lismore, but to women everywhere!
Jenny Dowell has been Mayor of Lismore for over 3 years after being elected first as a Councillor in 2004. Before she took the plunge into local politics she worked part time as a teacher of deaf children in the Northern Rivers. Her family moved to Lismore from Melbourne 21 years ago when her 2 children were in primary school. Right from the start she became involved in volunteering at their schools and in the community – it was a great way of developing that important sense of belonging in her new home.
“Lismore is a wonderful city with a diversity that is rare in regional Australia- I feel very privileged to be Mayor,” Jenny said.
- What keeps you motivated? I love what I do – that’s the best motivation of all! My role as Mayor involves 60-80 hours every week but the variety is incredible. I seem to have more energy that I did in my 30s- that is mostly because I love this great place and my job but I guess having had breast cancer also makes me appreciate every day and not want to waste it.
- What is your favourite way to unwind? I love reading! before I became Mayor I read up to 3 books every week but these days most of my reading is Council related. 2012 is the National Year of Reading so I’ve made a pledge to read at least 26 books this year- I think one per fortnight is modest but achievable. I also love my monthly volunteering at the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens. Enjoy my own garden too but working at the Botanic Gardens with other volunteers is very special because we are investing in a wonderful public asset.
- How do people find you/ your business? Council has a website www.lismore.nsw.gov.au and all Council information including Councillor contact details are there. Mine are: jenny.Dowell@Lismore.nsw.gov.au Ph 0402651394 You can find me on Facebook (Jenny Dowell) and on Twitter (Mayorjd)
- What have been your biggest challenges and how have you overcome them? On the personal front, my breast cancer diagnosis just 4 days after I was elected Mayor was the biggest challenge. In many ways it was having something important to do and loving my new role that kept me going over the months of surgery and chemotherapy. My motto became ‘Get on with it’ and that’s what I did. As far as Council is concerned, every week brings challenges but I try and keep perspective, seek information and make decisions calmly. We are lucky to have a well- functioning elected Council, good staff and an involved community.
- What is your favourite brand and why? Cancer Council and all it represents- for obvious reasons. The vital research, support for patients and families and the enormous network of volunteers are all so valuable.
- What has been your biggest marketing success? Recently I started a campaign to get more women standing for Council elections. About 30 more women now have a better understanding of how Council works and they are now considering if they want to stand. I really hope it results in an increase in the number of women on Lismore Council. Early days but so far so good.
- What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were establishing your business? Before I entered Council, I wish I had joined a few of the Council committees that were in existence to get a bit more insight into Council decision making and areas of interest. These days, e-communication is a great mechanism for getting involved.
- What is your proudest achievement so far? Personally – my 2 now adult children (obviously). At a professional level- becoming Mayor. My team and I campaigned hard and long by door knocking, setting up stalls at markets and lots more to ensure voters knew me and what I stood for. It was hard work but obviously those efforts bore fruit. I’m both proud of my efforts and humble about the role that the community had bestowed on me.