Claire Parkinson, Executive Member in Focus

Claire Parkinson

Claire is a highly experienced and commercially focused executive; who specialises in directing

strategies, brand and reputation repositioning, complex negotiations and crisis management. Claire is driven by a passion to help businesses to build on their success and positioning their future growth.

Claire’s Career Journey:

Whilst working as a UK Senior Public Servant, Claire was head-hunted to run a prison in South Australia and migrated in 2011. Shortly after her arrival she became Head of Justice Sector Reform for the State. Her insatiable appetite for change saw her leave the comfort of government, launching an incredible journey of success as an Executive for hire in some of Australia’s most powerful boardrooms.

Before life working with clients from the: Mining, Energy, Oil & Gas, Banking, Membership, Government and Not-for-Profit sector; Claire was a Prison Governor. It was during these 17-years – working across three countries – that she gained a passion for people, culture, commercial negotiations and rapidly changing landscapes that required outside-the-box solutions to thrive.

Claire strongly believes that building relationships is the cornerstone of good business.

Claire’s Advice for Women in Business:

The role as Governor of a Prison is not one that anyone partakes and doesn’t face significant challenges but being a woman in this role added a new and tricky dynamic – especially in male prisoner environments. The key knowledge that Claire learnt in this role was “to be resilient and stand firm but fair; and that a sense of humour is critical to surviving the gauntlet for sure!”

In her current role, building her own consultancy, one of the biggest challenges is to build a pipeline to secure regular, ongoing work. Claire’s advice for other women looking to build their own business is that building on-going relationships is critical to success. “Following a piece of consulting work, I follow up not only with the invoice but I also raise the potential next wave of work, that will help further develop their business.”

Claire’s final piece of advice for building successful business relationships, is to work with clients whose values align with yours. “I decline work for clients whose values do not align with mine; therefore all of my clients are fundamentally great people both professionally and personally.”

Claire’s Role Models:

Andrew Cole CEO and MD at OZ Minerals, has been a great role model for Claire. He is an incredibly talented individual who walks the talk. He is able to celebrate difference and sees the value diversity creates to continuous improvement. Andrew is not only a successful CEO of an ASX100 company, he is also a humble human who treats everybody in his business as a contributor and partner.

Claire’s Top Three Business Book Recommendations:

Claire committed to never reading another book until she published her own; a promise she made to herself as a child after reading Charlotte’s Web, at age 7. Claire has honoured this strategy and has now completed her first novel, for which she is currently in negotiations with publishers. Stay tuned!

Claire’s BCD Experience:

As a migrant to SA and working in a field where Claire had little exposure to the outside world “BCD came to my rescue. Not only have I been exposed to the commercial sector and developed a new narrative around my value proposition to business, it has linked me to new clients and new friendships. The experience has been invaluable to my success in SA. BCD does exactly what it says on the tin and I am forever in its debt.”

Claire is an Executive Member in Adelaide.


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