4 March 2024

Selena Stevens takes on CEO role of expanded RDA Illawarra Shoalhaven

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Smiling woman.

Selena Stevens is the new CEO of RDA Illawarra Shoalhaven. Photo: Supplied.

One of the Illawarra’s “new breed of young leaders” has been appointed as CEO of RDA Illawarra Shoalhaven.

Selena Stevens, formerly chief of staff to Whitlam MP Stephen Jones, will take on the role later this month. She replaces Debra Murphy who left the organisation in January after seven years.

Her appointment comes just weeks before the Shoalhaven joins the Illawarra and the new entity, RDA Illawarra Shoalhaven, officially takes effect.

Board chair Mark McKenzie said there was strong interest in the position, with more than 25 applications received from high calibre individuals.

“The strong interest in the role made the process particularly challenging for the selection panel, with all four of the shortlisted candidates being judged to be more than capable of fulfilling the duties of the role,” he said.

“Mrs Stevens’ former role affords her the unique ability to understand policy decisions and advocate effectively for the region with Canberra’s decision-makers.

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“She also brings strong skills in the areas of strategic marketing, stakeholder management and small business.

“But to characterise Mrs Stevens as merely having the strong stakeholder skills and policy knowledge needed to champion our interests in Canberra, would be to seriously understate why she was appointed to the role.

“She is an example of the new breed of young leaders that are emerging in our region – including leaders in business, trades, health, media and communications, community services, and manufacturing.

“Mrs Stevens is committed to our region and possesses a broad range of strong skills in the areas of marketing, stakeholder management, public policy, government initiatives and business.”

Stephen Jones said Selena had done a great job in his office over the past 18 months – “frankly she’s been running it while I’m away and I’m away a lot”.

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“I’m really excited for her that she’s stepping up into this new role as RDA Illawarra and Shoalhaven is transforming itself to ensure that it’s the premier voice representing the community of the Illawarra in national forums,” he said.

“It’s really important you have a competent person who knows the region and Selena is going to fill those shoes and do it very well.”

Mrs Stevens is also the co-owner of hospitality venue His Boy Elroy, the recipient of multiple prestigious national and local awards. She previously worked as Destination Wollongong’s marketing manager.

She will begin her duties on 11 March.

“Working, living and owning a business in the Illawarra Shoalhaven has equipped me with a deep understanding of the challenges our region faces,” she said.

“I look forward to working with the new RDA Illawarra Shoalhaven Board and all stakeholders in helping to make our region the number one place to live and work.”

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