Career diversity shapes a leader

Having a multitude of career experiences has helped Sharyn County learn a great deal about leadership on her journey to her current role as General Manager Procurement, Property & Fleet at Jemena and Zinfra.

On the path to becoming a senior leader in the organisation, Sharyn has held a variety of different roles in fields ranging from IT, Commercial and Governance through to Procurement, which expanded into Property, Fleet and Plant Management in her current role. This breadth of experience and approach to leadership is just one of the reasons Sharyn was named one of the Most Inspiring Women in Commerce and Contracting in 2021.

"I have continually re-potted myself to develop and grow in my career. Trying different things has taught me different things," she explains.

"I think I bring balance and perspective – my experience means I understand both buying and selling across the business – and I strive to be an open and transparent leader.

"As leaders, I believe we can lead better when we lean into the knowledge of the subject matter experts. When I was acting GM of Electricity Markets at Jemena, I had no idea about the subject matter! This really helped to build my leadership skills. In some ways its easier leading parts of the business where I'm not a subject matter expert – I trust the experts and can stay out of the weeds," she said.

In what has been traditionally a male-dominated industry, Sharyn's advice to women considering a career in energy to find a great mentor.

"I've had many mentors over my career, both men and women, who've supported my career growth. I'd also say it's important to find a way to remove doubt in yourself. Take a proactive approach to your career development, give everything a go and learn along the way. Even if it doesn't work, you'll learn something."

Sharyn is excited about her part in tackling the challenges posed by the energy transition.

"How can we bring in the resources we need to achieve our objective is the question we're trying to answer. I'm continuously learning and I love that every day is different in my role.

"I really value the diversity of the team and I think it's important to consider all perspectives – I continually try to ensure we are ‘field-friendly' in our approach," she said.

So what's next on this varied career path? In addition to her busy full-time job, Sharyn is also writing a book.

"It's about how I've juggled my career with personal aspects in my life, including an ultimately unsuccessful IVF journey, and how I've leaned into a fulfilling and balanced life. I want to make these taboo conversations a part of normal conversation and create a safe space to support people through various phases of life. I guess I'm an eternal optimist no matter the circumstance."