Ergon CE Ian McCleod and mentee Michelle Bradshaw 

Michelle - right - will be mentored by Ergon Chief Executive Ian McLeod - left - as part of our Talent Development Initiative (TDI) which has been designed to unlock future leadership potential within the organisation. It's all part of Ergon's focus on developing and harnessing the talent from within, embodying the commitment to our People, our Future.

Michelle explains her role within the business, what it's like to be selected to be the CE's mentee and how it feels to be recognised as a future leader within Ergon.

Michelle, tell us a little about yourself.

I've been with Ergon for a little over seven years now, primarily in a project management background, looking after infrastructure and construction projects. I'm currently in Major Projects, which was a new business unit for Ergon a couple of years ago to deliver a significant capital program of work. Prior to that, I was based in Singapore for a few years for an international project management company.

Can you tell us a little about your role at Ergon?

I've been with Major Projects from day one. The role has evolved to work with Network Optimisation to develop the forward program of work, and then apply the appropriate controls and governance, to ensure the program is delivered on time and on cost and we provide surety of delivery.

What do you enjoy about your role?

The thing that I've enjoyed most is that it's very tangible. You may have a project that spans several years, but at the end you can look at a specific component or asset and know that you have contributed. Ergon is such a complex organisation that there are so many parts of the business that need to come together to get an end result. The integration and the networking is the most rewarding.

If you were going to tell a friend what Ergon will look like in five years' time, what would you say to them? 

Ergon will look significantly different, and it needs to. We have to transform the business, we have to embrace new technology and we have to acknowledge what our customers are asking of us – our response to this will change Ergon. We need to position ourselves so that we are agile and responsive for whatever change that brings. There will be many opportunities as a result for Ergon to demonstrate leadership, creative thinking and innovation along that journey.

How did your mentoring opportunity with Ian come about?

The Talent Development Initiative is one that Ian is very passionate and it really says volumes about his commitment to leadership potential, growth, learning and talent within the organisation. It was all a bit of surprise and overwhelming to get the call, and I'm extremely grateful. My manager was very supportive in terms of me being released from my normal role to undertake this secondment. Talking to others who did the rotation before me, they've learnt so much and were exposed to so many areas of the business. This experience will be invaluable and I'm really looking forward to making the most of it.

Why do you think you were chosen?

Ergon undertakes a talent mapping and succession planning process. I was involved with this process for my own team last year so I understand that same process was used to identify candidates for the Talent Development Initiative. One of my qualifications is in Organisational Leadership and it's a personal passion as well. The opportunity to learn from the CE and our Executive Leadership Team is a huge opportunity to see how the corporate strategy is played out over the three months, which will also be a pivotal period for Ergon.

What do you hope to achieve through this mentor program?

Obviously to learn as much as I can from Ian and to get the exposure to key leadership decisions and discussions. I'm looking forward to seeing the strategy executed in response to key organisational changes. I will no doubt get a greater understanding of our business, and hopefully be able to contribute to our success in the future.

What would say to anyone wanting to move through the ranks and build a career at Ergon?

Ergon creates so much opportunity, like working for different business units or being involved in innovation across the organisation. The opportunities are definitely out there. The more you understand the business and start to develop those networks outside your immediate teams and business units, the more you can contribute.

On another note, as a working parent I think there is a misconception that you have to make a choice between family or career or you have to focus on one at a time. You can definitely have both in focus, but you have to learn about balance. Ergon provides a lot of opportunities to demonstrate leadership, and particularly as we transform the business, there is so much opportunity there for the creative thinkers and the innovators to help us along that journey as well.