Meet: Lydia Wheeler!

Lydia Wheeler

Lydia Wheeler

As one of our most energetic and passionate Strubers, we sat down with Senior Consultant Lydia, to chat about life at Struber and her venture into Communications and Stakeholder engagement.

Q: What does a day in the life of Lydia look like?

Lydia: “I think I'd probably respond in the same way many of us would, and say it's varied.

That's the joy of what we do.

You know, you can spend days sitting in meetings, running engagement sessions with clients or in the community, or you can spend all day out on site. I think the main thing is to make sure that we're meeting our clients’ needs and to keep the commitment to the community that we have.

Each day I feel that it's important I spend some time doing reflection. I ask myself ‘what went on today’, ‘could I have done that better’, or ‘oh that was pretty good.

This usually wraps up my day”.

Q: So, tell us about your journey into stakeholder and community engagement?

Lydia: “This was a bit of a funny one to answer. I started off thinking, well, I'm probably a bit of a product of growing up in the 70’s and 80’s and all my teachers were from the 60’s. So, there was a probably a fair bit of rabble rousing, and rights interweaved in my education. I suppose I've just always had a really strong sense of social justice.

Which likely headed me into the career I took. I started off being a youth worker and I always felt if a decision is being made, people should be involved in that decision.

Working with young people and being client centered, I just feel very deeply that it's just been a theme in my life that's headed me here.

Though I can't talk about this without mentioning that I've been fortunate to have some amazing mentors in my life. One of them was a grass roots community activist  in this very disadvantaged area. I got taken to meetings with premiers and ministers where she just floored them. She was so articulate and smart.

There’s always two parts to it when you're starting your career.  There's having the passion, and there's finding your tribe and people that are going to be there coaching you.”

Q: In your opinion, what was the most significant project you’ve worked on with Struber?

Lydia: "When you say significant, that's an interesting thing. I suppose the project I'm working on at that moment is the most significant.

I initially started with Struber as part of their task force and did some time with Development Victoria working on the Melbourne Arts precinct. So it's a massive project and very exciting.

I also worked on the North-East Link, so possibly two of the largest projects in Victoria at the moment, with significant results for communities."

Q: How does working with Struber compare to other roles?

Lydia: "I've had a career that's probably spanned about 30years now and all I can say is, Struber is bloody amazing. It's easy to answer.

Every single person is bright, inspiring, passionate. You know you can work in other teams and there'll be a few people that shine, but honestly, you walk into Struber and it's an entire organisation of just the most exciting people.

So, what can I say? I'm humbled, grateful, and overjoyed to be here. Compared to other roles, you can't compare it because Struber is just amazing."

Q: What would people find interesting about you or your role?

Lydia: "There's two parts to this, so, firstly, there is no way I believe that Engagement is a soft skill.  

There are decades of research that under pins engagement and successful engagement at that. People have been doing this for many decades. Planning engagement is always as detailed as an engineer’s plan for a bridge.

We really must think about everything, and we have to pay attention to details. I don't know if that’s an interesting part of the role, but it’s certainly more than being a friendly face.

Secondly, I'm an introvert.

People always wonder why I've picked this sort of a job as an introvert. And interestingly, I found lots of other introverts in the communications field.

What does it mean to be an introvert? It doesn't mean that I don't want to chat to people or that I love being social. It just means, you know, I need a little bit more time to recharge.

I believe there's a value to it because we tend to be a little bit more reflective."

Q: What advice do you have for consultants in the stakeholder engagement space?

Lydia: "I would say to keep learning, exploring and being imaginative. Don't be afraid to question.

Have that courage, and just go beyond traditional models and thinking. Know you can get advice from people, but also don't be afraid to put forward your ideas and keep that passion."

Q: And finally, what 3 words would you use to describe your time at Struber?

Lydia: "Absolutely inspiring. Bright too.

When we say bright, you know that encapsulates everything. It really is a bright, dynamic place to work. I'm grateful to be here and to be amongst this beautiful squad."

Meet: Lydia Wheeler!
Lydia Wheeler
July 27, 2022
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