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Team spotlight: Janelle Easthope

We love to share a bit about ourselves with our community and clients. Take a moment to have a read and get to know our Senior Engagement Consultant Janelle as she answers five quick questions.


 

Why a career with Aha Consulting and in community engagement?

I was rapt to have the opportunity to work at Aha!, to continue my community engagement career. After many years working in local government, I felt the time was right to use my experience to support others in the engagement space. Having known Joel for many years and having worked alongside him as a client, I was excited to move into the consulting space with such an experienced and respected engagement guru! And being able to really shape how people are engaged in decisions or projects that affect them is something I love to do.


What were some of your original engagement methods and how have these since evolved?

Early on in my career, most of the engagement I worked on revolved around surveys and workshops. They’re still key to many projects we work on today, however the variety of methods we employ now is way beyond these. And it’s probably not just about what methods, but how we design them to work together to gather input from stakeholders. Not only has virtual engagement opened a whole new world for us (online workshops were a hit during the peak of the pandemic and are still popular today), but the various online tools available are a great way to complement in-person activities. Deliberative engagement has also evolved over the years, and delivering deliberative panels is something I really love.


What is one of the best projects you've ever worked on?

One of my all-time favourite projects was a deliberative panel involving the community in setting our (local government’s) annual operating budget. This was a new and exciting project that wasn’t without its challenges, but to have residents genuinely help shape the budget was a real highlight for me, and it was also a great learning experience.


What self-care rituals do you put in place to start and end your day?

My start-of-the-day ritual won’t surprise those who know me – it’s coffee! You’ll seldom see me walk into the office without a fresh coffee in my hand from our local coffee shop. And it’s not just about the caffeine, I find this is my time to take a breather after the school run, reset and get ready to kick off the day. At the end of the day, I really like to make sure my emails are all responded to, and my task list is organised. That way I can leave the office without anything niggling at me, and I’m prepared for the next day.


Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I recently enjoyed an amazing holiday with my family travelling up north in WA. The ultimate destination was Karijini National Park, staying at the Karijini Eco Retreat, and it did not disappoint! It was magical to explore an exquisite part of our country, climbing over rocks carved out by water over billions of years and wading through tranquil pools - it is now officially my favourite place!


Janelle is pictured standing in a gorge in Karajini National Park

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