Customer service will remain a strategic focus for incoming Goulburn-Murray Water chairperson Sarah Scales.September 1, 2014 11:00pm
Customer service will remain a strategic focus for incoming Goulburn-Murray Water chairperson Sarah Scales.
Asked about priorities for the board, Ms Scales wants to see further progress in building value for the water corporation’s diverse customers.
‘‘It’s getting efficiencies and synergies in the business,’’ she said.
‘‘Gavin (the managing director) has been addressing our cost base, but it’s also about innovation and questioning how things have been done for the last 10 years and challenging the norm.
‘‘We have some big challenges as far as the cost size of the equation goes, but I think if we have that mentality and culture within the organisation it will be delivered.’’
In her first role as a chair, she is taking on Australia’s largest rural water authority, with more than 600 staff and a turnover of more than $200
Routinely the board meetings are ticking off projects worth multiple millions of dollars, but Ms Scales, a business and risk management consultant, is not fazed.
She was previously the general manager of AWB International and held other senior management positions in AWB Ltd, wrestling with derivatives, hedging and pricing.
She was appointed to the board of Queensland Sugar Limited in January 2013 and has been a director of West Australian-based InterGrain, a plant breeding company, since October 2011.
‘‘Leadership comes down to listening, having a vision and strategy and being relentless and boring in how you communicate that in getting stakeholders and staff to own it,’’ Ms Scales said.
‘‘Listening to diverse views is quite fundamental to reaching board decisions.
‘‘My maxim is: surround yourself with really smart people .
Ms Scales lives in Melbourne but runs a mixed farm at Mansfield. She is married to Henry Maling.
Asked about what keeps her busy, Ms Scales lists her board memberships and consultancy and also adds: ‘‘I’m a mother.’’
She is the first female appointed to chair Goulburn-Murray Water where about 75 per cent of the employees are male and abut 80 per cent of the water services committees’ members are men.
There is one other female board member.
For Ms Scales, gender is not an issue, but she jokingly says she is sometimes able to elicit more information from others because she is a woman.
‘‘I’ve worked in a male-dominated industry all my life — agribusiness. In essence I was the only female executive running a P and L at AWB and it was a complicated part of the business.
‘‘I remember going to the states, working out of New York and remember thinking before I went: I am going to America where they invented the word, ‘marketing’ .
Ms Scales has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and has completed the Stanford Executive program.
A DVD about the experience of Indigenous people who settled on the river flats between Mooroopna and Shepparton from 1939 will be screened on Monday.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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