Ellen - Principal Planner

Ellen dwyer

If it's worth doing it's worth doing well: Ellen's pride and passion 

Ellen Dwyer may be softly spoken, but she’s no pushover. From a young age, this quiet achiever has been driven to reach her best through her first passion, dance. The same determination has also seen Ellen’s career soar. She joined us six years ago as Planning Liaison Officer before progressing to Principal Planner in 2018. At Redland City Council, Ellen has found the flexibility she needs to achieve balance in her life - growing her career, while continuing to give back to the dance community she loves.

High flyer

Ellen grew up in Redlands Coast, and spent most of her childhood and teenage years dancing and cheerleading. At age 24, Ellen also started teaching dance. “Dance has always been a huge part of my life. It means a lot that I’ve been able to pursue my passion for town planning, while also keeping a foot firmly planted in the dance world.”

After studying town planning full-time at university, Ellen struggled to find a full-time planning role due to the knock-on effects of the Global Financial Crisis. Instead, she pursued early childhood, going on to manage a centre and 30 staff.

Get planning

Three years on, Ellen applied for a planning job with Council.

“I wasn’t initially successful in that role, so was surprised to receive a call from Council about a related opportunity a few months later! I was offered that role but I’d already accepted a dance teaching position, which I was determined to honour.”

Ellen was given the flexibility she needed to start her new planning role, while keeping up with her dance teaching commitments.

“For two years, I finished early on Tuesdays and made up the extra hours throughout the week.”

A new opportunity

Over the next four years, Ellen became known as a conscientious and detailed team player and when a rare Principal Planner role became available in 2018, she put her hand up.

“I’d done several stints acting in the position and felt confident I was up to the challenge. But there were a lot of really high quality candidates in the mix, so I wasn’t holding my breath!”

Ellen was delighted when she was appointed to the role. The transition into management, she says, hasn’t always been easy. But the support and backing of her leaders and team has given Ellen the confidence she needs to succeed.

The best of both worlds

These days Ellen still teaches dance two nights a week. 

“It’s fair to say my life is quite busy!  But I feel blessed to pursue my passion, without having to sacrifice the meaningful career I’m building at Council.”