Consultant – Social Planning & Engagement
For Jo Buldeski, there is no typical day (or week) in her job as a Social Planner at Cardno.
“This is why I know consulting was made for me. Every project, and every combination of projects on a given day, can have me doing all sorts of things – sometimes for the first time, which I love,” says Jo.
“I could be developing media schedules to communicate road closures on a water project, flying to a remote Indigenous community, mapping census data, analysing a survey, or – sometimes most excitingly – working at finding the next new opportunity!”
Jo has worked with Aboriginal, rural, regional and urban communities to understand how different projects – whether construction, or resources or development – might impact them.
“This might be at any stage of the project, but it’s usually most effective early on in the planning stages,” she says.
“Through collaborating with stakeholders and community members or undertaking research, we gather the information and understanding to help minimise identified impacts, or maximise benefits, for many diverse communities who might be impacted by a project.”
As someone who has always been concerned with equity, fairness and social justice, Jo says her job at Cardno makes a big difference.
“Communities are given a voice through my role,” she says.
“As more clients recognise the value of engaging effectively and early with communities, people in roles like mine are given more and more opportunities to get involved. It doesn’t always mean people get their way – because we live in communities, not as individuals – but it means that we can work together to make projects much better than what they may have been otherwise.”
Jo is also a passionate and experienced trainer and facilitator, a skill which has been strengthened over a number of years in her capacity as a Volunteer Trainer for the Australian Red Cross Emergency Services division.
She says Cardno has been loyal, encouraging and supportive since her first days with the company in late 2007, after coming back to Australia from volunteering overseas.
“It’s a two-way relationship, and for your hard work, Cardno encourages you to pursue your passions, builds your confidence, and gives you opportunities that not all employers can. In late 2014 I was awarded a scholarship which found me travelling to the 2015 International Association for Impact Assessment conference in Florence, Italy!” she says.
Working for a multi-disciplinary company like Cardno also gives Jo opportunities to work across fields she might not have had the chance to otherwise.
“That is also partly due to the great people that I get to work with every day – whether they are in my Brisbane office or in the United States, Papua New Guinea or the United Kingdom.”
Lastly, says Jo, you can’t go past her office’s annual awards ceremony and other team events.
“We work hard - but we have a lot of fun together, and who doesn’t want an excuse to celebrate our team’s achievements?”
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