"Change rests on everyone's shoulders"

Farewelling Sue Webeck, our Respectful Relationships Unit Manager
21 May 2021

We need to enact our personal leadership and count ourselves in

Sue Webeck has been a profound advocate and change maker in supporting, educating and increasing awareness of violence prevention and cultural change in our community.

Sue will be departing ANU to become the new CEO of the Domestic Violence Crisis Service in Canberra and before she departs, we caught up with Sue to hear her reflections on working at ANU and the Respectful Relationships Unit's (RRU) progress and plans for the future.

Sue accidentally fell into working in community sector roles, and found there was a natural alignment from her earlier work as a youth worker through to respectful relationships education. This drew her to understanding that the root cause of many issues we face in society comes down to respect.

"I would much rather be working to prevent violence before it occurs, and to create individual and cultural change, than to respond to incidents of assault and violence", Sue said.

When reflecting on her greatest accomplishments at ANU, Sue said "there is a greater sense of community literacy about the institutions' role in violence prevention and cultural change; how we centre respectful relationships in the work that we do at ANU. We have driven conversation, and brought awareness.

"There is something remarkable about being a part of a community like ANU, and motivation comes from the most obscure places sometimes, and that is a colleague from a completely different area of ANU calling to say, "hey, I saw this and thought of RRU"."

We've all had some unexpected moments and learnings in our time at ANU, and Sue is no exception. She learnt the hard way, that when you are asked to submit a 'green paper' to a committee at ANU, it doesn't actually have to go on green paper!

Motivation has come from the leadership that our ANU Council demonstrates, and that they have seen the people working in the RRU as practice leaders. It also comes from our connection to other universities and to our students.

"It's the positive outcome we get for a student or a staff member, when we support them through getting assistance or reporting their experience.

"There are many support people behind anyone who works in this type of environment, and I'm lucky to be supported by a committed and loving family - including my colleagues."

Reflecting on the biggest challenges for rolling out our prevention strategy and action plan, Sue reinforced that "there is a place for people to stand up and accept that this the responsibility of every member of this community.

"We need to understand that long term, fundamental and systemic change rests on every one of our shoulders.

"We can drive that change in everything we do at ANU - our lectures, our student and staff inductions, the way we relate to colleagues, and the programs we run.

"We need to enact our personal leadership and count ourselves in."

What's next for Sue?

Sue is going to take a bit of time to herself to decompress and process her experience. And to iron all her bow ties ready for her new job, of course!

She is excited for the opportunity to have a few days to really focus on her family and community commitment, when she's not rushing to squeeze everything in, in both her work life and personal life.

She's going to recalibrate and get ready for the wake up of another adventure.

Sue's heading off to an executive leadership position in a larger community sector organisation than she has worked in before.

"I'm looking forward to the dynamic change of a large change, with a very clear but extensive remit across the ACT community. It is both a challenge and exciting.

"We're on the precipice of change here in the ACT. There's some significant reform work and government commitment.

"I'm very excited to join that conversation and agenda."


The Respectful Relationships Unit continues to play a vital role in supporting, educating and increasing awareness of violence prevention and cultural change in our community