I figured a pretty good place to start is to give you a little bit of an overview of myself and why I’m on a personal mission to lead multi-stakeholders to start doing disasters differently.
I’m really excited about this podcast, I’ve been planning it for a little while, because it’s where I’m going to get to talk with leaders in the emergency management and disaster resilience landscape to discuss what we can all start doing to contribute towards a disaster resilient future for all.
I hope you enjoy my podcasts and look forward to your feedback!
A little bit about Renae...
Renae’s forward-thinking, holistic approach to disasters has positioned her and C2C as a thought leader in driving positive change across the sector and beyond.
The new era of compound disasters...
We now live and work with more frequent and more destructive disasters, which are compounding. We need to be thinking not only about the first impact from a disaster, but the second and the third, because that’s what we’re going to struggle with.
And if you look at what’s happening in the world at the start of 2020, or in Australia at least, not only have we had unprecedented bushfires after a drought, but we’ve also got a global pandemic. So, how do our businesses and our communities prepare themselves for a drought or for a bushfire, but also a pandemic?
And that’s why we need to start thinking differently and acting differently when it comes to getting our organisations and our communities ready.
A new era of disasters requires a new pathway forward, and I’m really excited to be able to share my connections from in Australia and around the globe so we can start building resilience together.
Why Doing Disasters Differently...
I started thinking differently and doing differently when it comes to disasters when I worked at Australia Post, which is an Australian national postal outlet, and basically I led the community response to the disasters, which was about identifying what role should Australia Post play?
So, for example, should they be giving out government grants? Should they be giving out cash donations? Should they be offering their logistics supply chain to enable other organisations like bedding providers to give free beds and other items that the communities needed?
As an organization I got to see what the response was in terms of a holistic approach to disasters, so how ready the Australia post supply chain and operations were to respond to this incident.
Plus also 80% of Australia Post businesses and retail outlets at the local community levels are independently owned or licensees, so small businesses provided a really good insight in terms of how ready they were and not were ready to respond to the disasters that took place.
When I left Post, I spent a bit of time consulting to a state government in Australia looking at a multi-stakeholder lens. So, that’s my passion and I guess that’s what makes me wake up in the morning.
I look at stakeholders from a direct and indirect perspective, and I worked on a Victorian fire management strategy, which was really interesting and informative because we could not just look at the typical stakeholders that were part of all the conversations relating to fire management, but really expand that and look at all the consequence related stakeholders that would indirectly be impacted as well.
I wrote stakeholder engagement frameworks and toolkits to enable and try and educate the government representatives working in the disaster space as to how they could better understand and better engage with and collaborate with other stakeholders.
This got me starting to question the national philosophy in Australia relating to shared responsibility when it comes to disasters in the sense that everyone, individuals, businesses, not-for-profits organizations and governments all play a role in the before, during and after stages of disasters, most importantly, in building resilience.
So, I started questioning what does this mean, what role can we each play and how can we activate shared responsibility to be more than merely a vision?
At the start of 2018, I formally launched corporate2community, and I have to say there’s about three years of planning and mapping and researching internationally before that. And the focus of corporate2community is about advocating and activating a greater role that the private sector or businesses can play because businesses are innovators, they’re enablers and through stakeholders, they drive solutions and positive outcomes.
But in the current landscape of disasters, the business stakeholder group I’d say is pretty misunderstood, and I think there’s a really big opportunity to better understand and embrace and acknowledge the role that they can play.
So, my focus on Doing Disasters Differently and the foundations for corporate2community is really simple.
It’s about building resilient businesses, helping communities thrive and leading collaborations.
We need resilient and thriving businesses for communities, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas where small businesses are the economic heart and soul of communities.
If we don’t have thriving businesses in these communities, then there’s no employment, people will have to move or go somewhere else to purchase things so there’s no money being invested into the communities. Or they’ll actually have to leave to get a job so they can pay for their rent and family requirements.
But we need thriving communities for business success because businesses can’t operate if there’s no community able to purchase their products or services.
Stronger when working together...
Our foundation at corporate2community is that we really need to look at a multi-stakeholder approach in a sense of looking at building resilient businesses through organisational resilience, but also about investing in community resilience to enable our communities to thrive.
The last part for corporate2community is about when we work together we are stronger – and leading collaborations is important because the foundation for resilience is connections. So, the more we understand and invest in learning how to connect and how to collaborate better with each other, the much better the outcomes will be.