Having a chat is something I love to do. I’m curious by nature, I’m interested in other people, and being in a job where I can combine my loquacious personality with my other favourite activity, writing, makes me a pretty happy camper. So, in late October, I was delighted to sit with Sally Jones, Manager of Asset Management at Victoria’s Country Fire Authority—better known as the CFA—to interview her for a post relating to our Women in Asset Management Special Interest Group.
I first met Sally in August at an Asset Management Fundamentals course in Melbourne (if you haven’t already been to one of our AMF courses, why not?). Over lunch we talked about the training, our roles, and small snippets of our lives. I could see then that Sally has a passion for asset management and a capable work history to back it up.
At the CFA, the asset management team sits with Infrastructure Services, along with other departments such as land and buildings, fleet and protective equipment, and information and technology. The CFA own and operate assets numbering over $2 billion. Sally’s role comes as part of the Victorian Government’s Asset Management Accountability Framework (AMAF). The responsibility of aligning with the AMAF, its annual attestation requirements, along with monitoring asset performance, acquisition, operations, maintenance, and disposal, ensures Sally’s remit is large, and her days reasonably varied.
Since commencing with CFA in July, Sally has been working hard to embed an asset management strategy that aligns with the other key departments and will influence value both for the community and the organisation. A steering group within the CFA was a successful first step; Sally was able to secure buy-in from other department heads, selling the benefits of asset management as a way to build value across the whole organisation. With consideration to the competing priorities, especially at the CFA with the upcoming and critical high-alert fire season, that’s a huge win for Sally and her team. Her current task is to prepare an asset management handbook that will provide senior leadership at CFA with a clear accountability strategy and will demonstrate a fully defined process of an effective asset management system.
Sally was a delegate at our recent Asset Management in Government Symposium. When I ask what was most beneficial, Sally quickly responds with hearing about other government organisations’ journeys in accordance to the AMAF. Given the AMAF’s annual attestation—the requirements of clear statements made to the public regarding maturity of asset management—and the positive feedback we’ve received here at AM Council since the symposium, Sally is not alone. Learning about how asset management sits within the culture of an organisation was also a key feature for her. And, of course, networking is always a drawcard for many participants at conferences and symposiums and I am pleased to hear that Sally made some new contacts, all of whom will undoubtedly become valuable connections.
Sally closes our conversation by giving me a glimpse into another passion of hers, a love of all things equine. Her tone softens; she pauses, as if unsure whether to disclose this personal revelation. She continues by stating that she has previously owned an ex-racehorse; a beloved yet skittish creature who gave much pleasure to Sally on regular horse riding outings. Sally’s genuine respect for the animal shines as she speaks; she remains hopeful that other horse lovers will consider giving new life to retired racehorses, providing a home and future, instead of a premature demise. It’s clear to me as Sally talks that her respect for things, for living and tangible assets, transcends both her personal and professional life.
Consider joining our Women in Asset Management Special Interest Group to learn more from, and network with, women in similar roles to Sally’s.
By Linda Kemp, Communications Specialist, Asset Management Council.
Linda Kemp wishes to thank Sally Jones for her willing participation in the interview upon which this article is based.