A well-respected senior advisor with multi-sector experience, Dr Libby Mitchell has spent the last decade providing strategic communication and engagement advice, advocating for stakeholder and community input in design decisions and leading teams embedded in complex, major projects with constantly shifting stakeholder expectations and political scrutiny.
Commenting on her appointment, she says, “The growth of the Communications and Engagement team is reflective of the pace and scope of change and disruption that our communities are experiencing. The demand for strategic communications and engagement expertise is acute and clients are asking for our expertise to be at the design and decision-making table, shaping infrastructure and other investments in our backyards.
“Many of our clients give communications and engagement equal billing with engineering and other technical services in their tender documents; they rightly expect integrated, multidisciplinary solutions that are designed with the input and acceptance of the people who are impacted and who benefit.”
Shaping our future
As the pandemic evolves and investment in infrastructure scales up exponentially, we are seeing more opportunities to help our clients see the future more clearly. Libby adds, “Using our Future Ready methodology and extensive multi-disciplinary skills, we’re developing solutions that mitigate disruption and maximise benefits for communities. This challenge is now much bigger and more complex than it has been, particularly for the constantly and cumulatively impacted communities we are communicating and engaging with in very uncertain times.
“Starting with a real commitment to positive engagement that gives stakeholders and communities a voice in decisions that affect them directly and indirectly, we collaborate with our clients to solve community needs with humane innovation, fresh thinking, new strategies and tools. Innovation is particularly critical in situations where the benefits and impacts of infrastructure are not aligned or evenly distributed.
“WSP’s vision is to bring our global expertise to local communities, dare to challenge the status quo, and be empowered to accelerate meaningful change. I look forward to working with our clients, our people and our communities to deliver on that promise.”
Expanding our footprint
Libby joins the organisation a year after WSP acquired Elton Consulting, a leading community engagement, consultation and strategic communications firm which has since become an essential part of WSP’s Advisory, Engagement & Digital (AED) group. WSP also recently joined forces with Golder, making us the largest environmental consulting firm globally.
Libby has global multi-sector experience in infrastructure, resources and energy, and higher education. Her strong academic and research background includes a PhD in organisational communication, focusing on activism. Rebecca Davis, Director of Advisory, Engagement and Digital says, “We welcome Libby’s extensive experience as a senior communication and engagement strategist and advisor on major transportation, energy, water and environment projects. Her previous career chapters in academia (University of North Carolina and University of Queensland), strategic communication consulting businesses (Rowland, Burson Marsteller) and in-house roles (La Trobe University, Grainco, and the Rick Hansen Foundation) will help support our team to grow and deliver even better client outcomes.”