Published 10th May 2017, 6:57pm
As organisations around the world are increasingly recognising the power of effective internal communications to drive high performance, Aubrey Bodden has been named Chief Internal Communication Officer for the Cayman Islands Government.
This new post will have a huge impact on how civil servants are engaged to deliver on Government’s and departmental priorities. Embedding a new internal communications framework and strategy is also part of a broader move to increase communications capabilities in the public sector.
Intelligent, strategic and committed to promoting effective government, Ms. Bodden has rapidly ascended the ranks during her tenure with the CIG.
Her educational resume is equally as impressive. The John Gray High School graduate was a United World College scholar before embarking on undergraduate studies at Cornell University, where she earned a distinction in her Bachelor of Arts degree.
Prior to taking up her current post, Ms. Bodden was a Policy Analyst in the Cabinet Office, involved in strategic planning and policy processes. While working full-time, she completed a Master of Science with distinction in Public Policy & Management at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Earlier posts working in Gender Affairs and Freedom of Information round out her work experience.
Ms. Bodden will report directly to Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose. Speaking of her appointment, Mr. Rose said, “Given her exemplary track record, I am very confident Ms. Bodden will excel in her new post. This is an outstanding achievement for both her and the civil service.”
The responsibilities of this new post are wide-ranging and varied and Ms. Bodden’s skills and experience devising organisational strategies and plans will be useful in her new leadership role.
“The Chief Internal Communication Officer is pivotal for advancing several of the key objectives of the 5-Year Strategic Plan for the Civil Service,” said Deputy Governor Franz Manderson. “[She] is eminently qualified to meet the challenges of the post and I look forward to working with her in that role.”
Asked about her promotion, Ms. Bodden said, “I am excited about the opportunity to engage with civil servants and support organisational change. With the launch of the 5-Year Strategic Plan we hope to connect and re-connect people to our purpose and vision, promote collaboration, and ensure all civil servants have the information they need to know what is expected of them and perform at exceptional levels.”
Armed with a wealth of cross-ministerial team-building during her time with government, Ms. Bodden credits her very first post with impressing upon her the need for a strategic approach to engaging staff and connecting people across agencies.
“My experience implementing the Freedom of Information Law – including supporting Information Managers and other public servants across almost 100 different public authorities in complying with the new framework for access to information – demonstrated the importance of communication and engagement to ensure everyone understood what was required of them and had the information and tools to meet those expectations,” she added.
Intent on helping build capacity, she is also passionate about developing and empowering staff – a key responsibility in her new role. She has experience delivering a variety of training sessions and coordinated the first CIG Development Month in August 2016 to engage civil servants at all levels in personal and professional development. Partly as a result of this initiative, she was awarded CIG Employee of the Month under the Deputy Governor’s Award scheme.
Ms. Bodden’s immediate goal is to better understand where the public service is presently and to ensure it can respond to staff needs. In the longer term, she wants to work closely with senior leaders and line managers so they feel confident and supported in communications with staff and are maximising engagement opportunities, embedding public service values, promoting organisational integrity, and using the power of internal communication to deliver on government’s and departmental priorities.
Doing so, she believes, will help everyone see the public service at its best, which is truly world-class.
The post was advertised within the civil service since the focus of the role is internal and an intimate and current working knowledge of the public service is required.
At the end of the advertisement period, a total of seven applications were received from across the public service (including an employee of a statutory authority). The applicants were shortlisted, put through an assessment centre and interviewed by a three-person panel chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.