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Issue 26 - August 2016

Under the spotlight: Jenny Peachey


Jenny Peachey, Executive General Manager Strategic Review, has a very short set of criteria she applies to her employment.

“A job is so much more than a PD to me; it’s a philosophy, it’s your principles, and it’s entirely what you make of it. I’ve never had a job I don’t like. I’ve always sought out a job that challenges me, motivates me, but most of all, gives me an opportunity to make a contribution to the community in some way.

“The thing that really drives me, both personally and professionally, is the desire to be challenged, to have my brain hurt at solving hard problems, and thinking about new things.”

This drive has seen her establish careers in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. “I first started working in Sydney in commercial banking for a number of years. When I got married, I left my job as a senior lending manager and moved to Canberra with my husband. Two weeks later the stockmarket crash of 1987 happened, so it was fantastic timing, in hindsight.”

Wanting a change of professional scenery as well, Jenny shifted into the public service, where she has worked in different capacities for 25 years.

“The public service was exceptionally rewarding. I frequently felt a direct benefit to the Australian community from the work I was doing. I began in the Audit Office, was seconded from there to the Joint Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts in the then new Parliament House, and later moved into an executive role with Customs.”

Like her shift from banking to public service, Jenny then made another significant shift in her career, working at the National Gallery of Australia in the time of the seminal director Betty Churcher.

“The role at the NGA, and Betty in particular, really gave me an incredible appreciation for all forms of art. Listening to Betty talk about a single element of a specific piece showed me a vastly different way of looking at and appreciating art, and finding something you like in everything. The experience showed me that the more I learn, the more I realise there is yet to learn.”

Ultimately, she left the NGA and returned to Customs, in the Victorian office this time. Over nine years she held many national and regional roles, including regional director of Victoria. Also during this time she was seconded to work on a whole-of-government review of financial management and was awarded a Public Service Medal for her work in improving public sector financial management. After spending several years commuting to Canberra in the roles she had at Customs, Jenny made the choice to move to State government.

“I moved from Customs to Victoria Police, initially heading the strategic planning and performance reporting area, then running the business services and financial functions of the force. Over seven years I worked with three Chief Commissioners: Christine Nixon, Simon Overland and Ken Lay. I had an amazing insight into the workings of the police force, and developed extraordinary respect for the incredible work the police do.”

Experiences seem to be at the core of the roles Jenny does.

“Four years ago I began my role here at FOS. I love what FOS does, what we stand for, and the collegiality of the organisation. We have had a challenging change agenda and I am motivated every day by my interaction with FOS colleagues and the broader FOS community to improve the way we deliver our services.”

From 1 July 2016, Jenny took up the new role at FOS of Executive General Manager Strategic Review. This role will focus on directing FOS’s engagement with the review of EDR by a panel of eminent persons that the Government announced in April. Jenny will also direct our policy work on other external inquiries and reviews and further FOS’s advocacy for a compensation scheme of last resort.