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Office of Emergency Management (OEM) State Recovery Coordinator, Steve Joske CSC

Staff Profile: 

OEM State Recovery Coordinator

Steve Joske, CSC

23 May 2017

Can you give us a brief overview of your professional background? 

After I finished school I found myself mysteriously at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, essentially because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life. 

From then on it was a varied, challenging and rewarding career that has lasted nearly 30 years. I have described it as ‘a boy’s adventure story’ as I was lucky enough to stay in the operational side of the Army and commanded soldiers at various levels, most importantly commanding a Regiment (700 people), the Australian force into Bougainville and then soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen looking after the security for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. 

The opportunity to serve with Red Cross for the last 14 years as the State Executive Director was very rewarding. Leading people who are predominantly focused on doing nice things for vulnerable people in our communities is a humbling experience. 

I also had the privilege of leading the Red Cross response in Banda Aceh after the 2004 tsunami which was again a challenge but a reward. 

So I guess if there was a connection between all these experiences, and now as the new State Recovery Coordinator for the OEM, it is that I like working with people and teams who have a mission to serve others and who want to make a difference.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? 

Working with amazing people in the OEM. Seriously, I think the best part will be to see the fruits of our labour come together in a successful recovery effort post a disaster; one that is measured in terms of people and communities’ resilience to bounce back better and stronger. 

What do you think will be your bi​​​​ggest challenge? 

Getting more amazing people to work in Recovery! 

There is so much to be done and all this work requires collaboration and teamwork, and other organisations ‘giving up’ their precious human and physical resources. 

I am excited about the challenge and appreciate that already so much has been achieved by people before me. I hope to build on their good work. 

D​o you have a personal philosophy that has guided your career? 

I guess I have a few that seem to help me concentrate on the right things. The first is that you only get one chance in life so don’t waste it - make every opportunity, both the good and the bad, a learning opportunity. 

The other two that I really like are around my leadership philosophy. 

The first of these is that leaders primarily do not achieve the organisation’s mission. Their principal role is to create cultures and environments for their teams to achieve the mission. 

This sounds easy but is highly complex and evolves continually but is essentially about people being as successful as they can be in their roles. 

The second is that leaders are in positions to solve problems and to make decisions. Their role is to ‘make simple of the complex’. 

Again it’s a simple philosophy but difficult to do and requires a broad range of good leadership behaviours. It also requires willing ‘followership’. 

Ca​n you tell us something that might surprise us about you? 

I guess not many people have had a ‘price on their heads’! 

While in Bougainville our intelligence sources reported that the Bougainville Revolutionary Army were going to kill me, and that there was a bounty to be collected on proof of death. 

I am very pleased to report that they failed!​