Itree gave an interesting an informative insight into the development, goals and culture of their organisation during our site visit of 7 March, and in the process a fantastic demonstration of the reasons they were awarded the Employer of Choice Award 2018.
A local success story and a small giant, Itree was born in 1996 in a small office at the University of Wollongong, initially delivering safety, security and sustainability solutions for transport in NSW.
22 years later, Itree proudly employs 104 people from 15 different nations who speak 24 languages and when they say people are their strength it is more than just a catch cry. They pride themselves on knowing their team, their strengths, barriers and families and identify that their people are carer for children or parents, with an age span of 18 to 63. They employ on ability and cultural fit and see disability as no barrier to successful employment at Itree. Recognising that to be an employer of choice, they need to offer more than compensation, benefits and perks, but also a work culture and environment that both attracts and retains employees.
Following a quick tour around the Innovation Campus, which introduced the cohort to the location as well as gave them some fresh air and perspective, Itree executive team members share the journey of Itree via video and slide show presentation and concluded with individual sharing of their own leadership journey, learnings and how they have grown and been supported at Itree.
Dan Walsh, Head of Service Operations and 16 year employee of Itree, commenced employment with the organisation whilst in his 4th year at UOW. Whilst jokingly not considered a local, having moved to the Illawarra at the age of 5, Dan was primary, secondary and tertiary educated in Wollongong.
Dan shared his top 3 leadership lessons which are;
Andrew Jackson, Head of Technical Engineering, has been employed with iTree for over 10 years, and is an Illawarra local who is proud and pleased to be able to work locally, Commencing as a software engineer, Andres key message was that managing is not leadership, and leaders do not need to be manager and can appear at any level and at different stages if a team or project regardless of responsibility or position.
Andrew spoke about different leadership models, and in particular Scrum as a framework that helps teams work together. Andrews closing message was to surround yourself with good people.
“Go by yourself if you want to go fast, go with others if you want to go far”
Katie Davies, Head of Culture and People is a British born team member who proudly calls Australia and in particular Wollongong home. Katie is very much driven by equality, diversity and inclusion and the desire for continue improvement and forward movement for both the organisation and the team as a whole, who are greater than the sum of their individual parts.
Having witnessed and personally experienced poor leadership and conditions herself, Katie lives and works by the rule that if you know something isn’t right you should stand up and speak up, lessons she learned young from progressive and supportive schooling in England with a zero tolerance approach to bullying and commitment to diversity, guidelines that drive everything Katie does at Itree on a daily basis.
Our first site visit of the 2018-2020 LIP exceeded our expectations and left the cohort feeling informed and inspired and we thank Itree, especially Katie, Andrew and Dan for their sharing and hospitality.
Blog posts written by the Leadership Illawarra Program.