After first being announced for the role in January, Rosemary Sinclair AM is now six months into her tenure as CEO of auDA – the governing body for .au domain names in Australia.
Having previously spent time working as the CEO of Energy Consumers Australia, Sinclair has also represented the interests of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the Australian Telecommunications Users Group and the ABC, to name a few.
But if there’s one common thread throughout her accomplished career, it’s digital disruption.
“My career has been a journey of digital disruption and strategic transformation through the telecommunications world, the media sector, online commerce and publishing, higher education and energy,” Sinclair told B&T.
“Just when I turned up each sector was starting to grapple with significant change driven by technology and consumer choice.”
For Sinclair, the opportunity to lead an organisation such as auDA represents a chance to help the wider community.
Although she was appointed to the role before COVID-19 hit, she says the pandemic has reinforced the importance of the internet as an essential service.
“We have all learned through living our best COVID lives that the internet is a profoundly important and pervasive technology – the fourth industrial revolution technology.
“The Domain Name System is a critical part of the ecosystem that puts us in touch with the services, products and information we need to do our work, communicate with friends and family, remain healthy, learn and play.”
Lessons in leadership
With extensive experience leading organisations like auDA and Energy Consumers Australia, Sinclair has gained some valuable leadership lessons throughout her career.
But there’s one learning, in particular, that stands out from the rest.
“To lead from behind by empowering others – that I can’t achieve the best outcomes trying to do it all myself,” she said.
“What is clear from the top is that there are many people with greater knowledge than I have but my special role is to knit the team so that the outcome of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Having worked in the range of roles that she has, Sinclair has also had the opportunity to learn about her own leadership style.
It’s a style characterised by curiosity, questioning and self-improvement.
“I favour open communication and a problem solving rather than blame approach as the most important tools,” she said.
“I tend to favour a connector rather than champion style. I have learned to be comfortable and prepared to manage under conditions of uncertainty – as a leader, you never know what you’ll be dealing with next!”
She also believes leadership can play an important role in creating meaningful change when it comes to diversity and inclusion for the media and technology industries.
Leadership from the top is essential when working towards these outcomes, Sinclair argued.
“The core is that the group with power has to be determined to open up opportunities to ‘other’,” she said.
“This is often difficult and recent experience in many sectors and right at the top of organisations – ie boards suggests that metrics matter.
“In every other sphere of life, people agree quickly that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Sometimes the measures are “rough and ready” but starting is what matters most.”
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