It was double the success for Central Hawke's Bay District Council this month with chief executive Monique Davidson and group manager, corporate support and services Bronda Smith, both receiving prestigious awards at the 2019 Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) annual gala dinner in Auckland.

Davidson won the Skills Organisation Melbourne Business School Leadership Scholarship which will see her take part in Melbourne Business School's most senior leadership programme, Leading for Strategic Success.

The judges praised her career development, commitment to a local government career, and success of goal-setting.

"Monique has embraced her role as a young female leader and is regularly called upon to inspire others in their leadership roles, said Fiona Purchas, SOLGM's manager of leadership programmes.

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"We know Monique will maximise the international leadership perspective and embrace the experience gained from this scholarship, and the sector will benefit from her insight."

Smith was awarded an overseas manager exchange to New South Wales, Australia, sponsored by JLT. The exchange is a hosted visit to Australia, a reciprocal visit to New Zealand, and provides a leadership and development experience specifically designed for the local government environment.

The judges were impressed by the thought put in to her application, including her role as an ambassador and host and her willingness to share her experience.

"Bronda is keen to look for innovative ways that councils overseas are engaging with their communities, and to bring this knowledge back to New Zealand, said Purchas.

"As a leader of her council's long-term plan, she is keen to share her experience of this process with her exchange partner."

SOLGM's chief executive, Karen Thomas said the gala dinner is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate public servants in the local government sector.

"We recognise the outstanding contribution and commitment to communities, and also celebrate the local government professionals that are investing in their professional development.

"Monique and Bronda have both demonstrated over a number of years a real and ongoing commitment to their career development, and I have the utmost confidence in them making the most of the opportunities."