Lyndsey Hannigan: international change agent
At just 26, Canadian-born Lyndsey Hannigan is “being the change” she hopes to see in the world, with change-management roles in one of the world’s largest corporations and a Canadian not-for-profit organisation working in Western Africa.
In 2009, Lyndsey completed a Masters of Communication at The University of Queensland. Focusing both on ‘Communication for Social Change’ (CSC) and ‘PR and Professional Communication’ streams on the Masters of Communication program, Lyndsey graduated with Dean’s Honour Distinction.
“At UQ, I discovered the field of Change Management - a dynamic career path that demands exceptional communication skills and a love for change,” says Lyndsey.
“Discovering this field, and being trained in the theories of social change as well as the practicalities of being a good professional communicator has equipped me with a pedigree unlike most other PR and Professional Communication scholars. It has led me into a hugely exciting, rewarding and diverse career.
Lyndsey has called Ghana her home for the past five months, where she is a Professional Fellow with Engineers Without Borders (Canada), supporting a market access project being implemented by a local non-governmental organisation.
She says that here cross-cultural communication is a key component of her role.
“You cannot underestimate the importance of clear, succinct, and intentional writing and presenting.
“Supporting a geographically disparate team (Ghanaians and ex-pats alike) is especially challenging when you’re working in a professional context that is very different from that of the ‘developed world’.
“Blogging has also became a very important element of my time in Ghana; it is my way to connect with my support network at home, as well as to share the challenges of working in development with the incredible network of young professionals around the world”, says Lyndsey.
Prior to her time in Ghana, Lyndsey spent almost two years with KPMG LLP, one of the largest professional services networks in the world. As a Change Management and Communications Consultant in their Management Consulting division, she worked with a range of public, private, and non-profit organisations.
“Change management in and of itself requires strong communication skills - communicating intent, clarifying expectations, identifying change champions and getting buy-in from key stakeholders, and explaining outputs and outcomes. Implementation of a multi-million dollar development project requires a great deal of communication planning and activity.
Reflecting on her time at UQ, Lyndsey says that the professors and staff at the School of Journalism and Communication made the experience special. “I was inspired by the support that the entire team offered to the graduate students. There was no shortage of opportunity to engage in stimulating conversations with instructors! I always felt encouraged to stretch beyond the expected in the research and practical projects I was asked to deliver on. “
In the long term, Lyndsey’s dream job would allow her to leverage her communication and change management skills to promote social justice and drive projects that unlock human potential in the developing world.
“I would love to work on the donor/foundation side of the international development equation. Donor organisations play a critical role in the aid/development sector, but, at times, do more harm than good. A great deal of change needs to happen within these organisations before significant change will be felt on the ground.”
No matter what role Lyndsey steps into next, her communication skills and knowledge will be central. “Communication is at the root of all social change efforts. I’ve been able to apply the skills I grew at UQ to problems that truly matter. Through communication, I’ve been able to be the change I hope to see in the world”, says Lyndsey.
Read Lyndsey’s blog at lyndseyhannigan.wordpress.com