Public Sector Unearthed – EP#1: Bringing public service stories to life

From mentoring to inclusion networks, our new Work with Purpose spin-off series, Public Sector Unearthed, showcases the stories of public servants who are achieving grassroots culture change and reform.

In this teaser episode, our series hosts Megan Aponte-Payne and Brock Phyland talk with Anna Ryan, Head of Communications and Engagement at the Australian Public Service Commission, and Caroline Walsh, CEO of IPAA ACT to give you a little taster of what’s to come. Caroline and Anna share their personal stories about joining the public service, some of the great bottom-up initiatives they have seen in their careers, and how leaders can support their staff to start their own.

This episode’s Unearthed wisdom: If you want people to drive change on the ground, create an environment of trust and psychological safety.


Caroline Walsh

Caroline Walsh joined IPAA in September 2020, after a 20-year career spanning the Commonwealth and state public sectors. She has held senior roles covering policy, reform, regulation and service delivery. Caroline was most recently at the Australian Public Service Commission, where she held a number of Group Manager roles over 4 years, covering Inclusion, APS reform and employment policy.

Anna Ryan

Anna Ryan is a communications, change and engagement practitioner who worked in the Australian Public Service for over 15 years. She has a passion for the APS and the people who work in it, and has been involved in many change projects for the Australian Government most recently at the APS Reform Office. She recently moved to the Australian Public Service Commission where she heads up the engagement and communication team.

Megan Aponte-Payne

Megan (“Meh-gen”) Aponte-Payne is an international trade specialist who currently works in the Office of Supply Chain Resilience at the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. She has previously worked at the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and before that, headed up an NGO supporting international students and migrants. Megan is a coach and mentor, and has been a member of the IPAA Future Leaders Committee since 2020. She is especially passionate about leadership and cultural change in organisations.

Brock Phyland

Brock Phyland is a director in the Transform, Engage, Design (TED) Team at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Working over a number of years in the collaborative-design space, Brock enjoys facilitating and engaging directly with veterans and their families to better deliver support and services for the wider veteran community. Brock has been a part of the Future Leaders Committee since 2021 and thoroughly enjoys working and collaborating with other enthusiastic colleagues from across the whole APS and wider industry on events that challenge your thinking and make a difference.