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Leading on the Edge: Extraordinary Stories and Leadership Insights from The World's Most Extreme Workplace by Rachael Robertson

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Chapter 4      image

Get out of your depth — it's a great way to learn to swim

In Ballarat I continued my practice of seizing every available acting role and this time I focused on senior management positions. My boss at the time was Chief Ranger of the Grampians district. He oversaw massive tracts of land, hundreds of staff and millions of annual park visitors. When he announced he was going on extended leave for 12 months I quickly applied to act in his role. The highest number of people I had had reporting to me up to this point was 12, so this would be a massive step up.

Headed for Chief Ranger

I spent the next year learning the ropes of being Chief Ranger. If I was surprised at the amount of paperwork at Jells Park, I was absolutely floored by the paperwork a Chief Ranger must manage. Fortunately, I was surrounded by a professional and skilled team who took on most of the drudge work, enabling me to work on the relationships with staff, stakeholders and media and to oversee our large projects.

After successfully managing the programs in Ballarat, it wasn't long before I caught the attention of Mark Stone, then CEO of Parks Victoria. The organisation, from inception through its multiple different incarnations, was male-dominated, particularly out in the field. At this time approximately 90 per cent of park rangers were men. The organisation had been aware of this for a long time, ...

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