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Making her time as a leader count – TSL helps Julie Etchells’ leadership journey

12 July 2022

News and media


Towards Strategic Leadership alum Julie Etchells

Julie Etchells is a passionate believer in the power of government to make lives better. In her role as a Senior Executive with the Queensland Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, she leads teams that work with some of society’s most vulnerable. 

“My leadership aspiration is to make my time as a leader count,” she says. 

“I’ve been given an incredible opportunity to influence government, to influence systems practices performance and people and to deliver services to communities that need our support and our encouragement.” 

Ms Etchells completed ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership program and says it gave her a broader view of leadership and helped to develop her influence as a leader. 

“I chose to do the TSL program because I was feeling a little stuck as a leader. I wanted to think about what I could do to increase my impact and influence. The TSL course helped me to find how the parts of me fit together with the organisational parts, and the politics of delivering in the public sector,” she says. 

“TSL helped to validate who I was, my personal self as a leader and to move from questioning to confirming, and that was a really important step for me.” 

“It has shown me the importance of authentic leadership and being an authentic leader who delivers government policy and purpose but delivering it in a way that I’m comfortable and confident with.” 

She said that TSL leaders Professor Paul ‘t Hart and Robbie Macpherson had been able to expose the cohort to ideas that were easily applied to the problems they faced at work, and which had helped her adjust her leadership style to be more collaborative. 

“One of the readings that Paul and Robbie gave us was Heifetz, on the importance of leaders getting off the dancefloor and ‘up onto the balcony’ and getting that longer and broader view of what they are trying to achieve. That was a very useful metaphor for me.” 

“After returning from the course to work, I found myself focusing more on asking: ‘who are the people I need to bring with me? Who are the connections I need and the relationships I need to build in order to expand the reach I have in delivering public services?” she said. 

“In sharing with them what the strategy and intent were, asking for their input, and by enabling people and getting out of the way, I found that the initiatives were more successfully delivered, and were delivered in a way that people felt they ‘owned’ because they were involved in it.” 

ANZSOG’s Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL) program – presented by experienced facilitators Paul ‘t Hart and Robbie Macpherson – offers emerging and established leaders in organisations the chance to develop stronger strategic thinking skills, as well as the self-knowledge and ability to reflect the need to be more effective leaders in an uncertain environment. 

The next iteration of Towards Strategic Leadership will begin on 22 September 2022 and end on 7 February. It will be delivered in a new blended format with some sessions online and others delivered face-to-face in Sydney. Applications are now open. 


Find out more about ANZSOG’s Foundation Programs 

Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) 

A part-time postgraduate qualification developed and delivered by ANZSOG exclusively for high-performing public sector managers.

Executive Fellows Program (EFP) 

A program that challenges senior public service executives working in the public domain to develop new leadership perspectives in a contemporary and highly interactive setting.

Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL) 

A unique program that helps public service leaders develop the qualities needed to thrive in a senior executive role: a strategic outlook, political astuteness, personal resilience and the ability to reflect and learn continuously.

Deputies Leadership Program 

A program designed for new Deputies in the public sector with a focus on frank conversations with practitioners and helping participants to grow their understanding of their leadership styles, their drivers and their aspirations – and building resilience to lead with integrity.