Sophi Bruce specialises in approaches to leadership, transition and social impact projects using a portfolio of techniques for reflective learning, collaborative working and thinking differently. From the design and delivery of bespoke learning programs to ongoing project delivery, Sophi’s focus on positive tangible outcomes is supported by professional aptitude and a passion for facilitating personal, organisational and social progress.
At the UTS IPPG, Sophi has strategic responsibility for a suite of programs and subjects at University Technology Sydney committed to building leadership capacity across the local government sector on a national level, a legacy of the former Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government’s Advancing Leadership Initiative.
With extensive facilitation and project management experience, Sophi manages a range of consultancy projects for clients of the Institute in areas such as leadership, organisational change, community and place, collaboration, evaluation and capacity building.
Prior to joining UTS:CLG in 2010, Sophi worked with a range of Government bodies and NGO’s providing bespoke input into holistic change programs using adaptive leadership, systems thinking, stakeholder engagement and strategy co-design. Her work with the Local Leadership Centre, and the National School of Government in the UK directly contributed to new national initiatives around leadership, place shaping, co-design of services and partnership working. Between 1997-2007, Sophi held leadership roles with The Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation and ExCeL London.
Sophi is an authorized assessor of the Leadership Development Framework and has an executive certificate in Positive Psychology coaching. She has curated for the International Association for Public Participation and contributes to Adaptive Leadership Australia’s leadership programs and The School of Life classes.
Wellbeing and Resilience
Leadership Development & Capability frameworks
Approaches and Methodologies to Leadership
Professional Leadership and Management Skills
Leading in a Government and NGO Context
Design Thinking and Systems Thinking
The Harvard Adaptive Leadership Model
Innovation and Creativity
Workforce Planning and Organisational Review
Bruce, S 2017, People Matter for Local Government, Sydney.
People Matter is an employee perception survey that is regularly conducted across state government public sectors and provides important information and insights for departments, organisations and sector stakeholders on workplace experiences and employee engagement.
Local government makes up almost 10% of the total public sector workforce in Australia. This research utilises a tailored version of the People Matter survey tool to gain feedback on employee experiences and perceptions of working in the local government sector.
The research is with a sample of employees from NSW local government in a pilot study to explore how the People Matter survey can be utilised in local government.
The University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Public Policy and Governance (UTS:IPPG) has undertaken research to investigate how public sector leaders are responding to digital transformation. This research has carried out on behalf of Civica, a leading provider of software and services to local government. The study builds on previous UTS:IPPG and Civica research, The Changing Landscape for Local Government: A vision for 2025
This report presents the headline findings from the latest research which seeks to understand:
• Driving forces for new ways of working in a digital society
• What (if anything) is holding back digital changes to public sector service delivery
• Views on the opportunities and future for 'digital first' organisations
• Leadership capacity and skills required to drive digital change
• Ideas for building a digital first organisational culture and mindset
Following initial desktop research, a survey of public sector professionals and 1:1 interviews with leaders from the local government sector, the research findings reveal a number of insights into the challenges, opportunities and changing landscape of digital cultures in the public sector. This report provides a scaffold to help public sector organisations better understand and prepare for a digital-first future.
This study seeks to understand how local government can address place focused renewal by collaborating with communities. It aims to explore:
• The role of local government when working with communities, particularly in areas with a focus on local renewal;
• How a tool such as the 'collective impact framework' can be utilised by governments in community collaboration initiatives; and
• Key elements for success in local government led collaborations that involve a range of community stakeholders.
This report provides governments and stakeholders involved in local and place-focused renewal with conceptual framing and case study examples that can help inform and shape new community collaboration initiatives for their own contexts.
Hanckel, B, Bruce, S & Ryan, R Civica 2016, The Changing Landscape for delivering services: Co-design; different ideas from a different voice.
As part of this Civica-commissioned research, UTS:IPPG connected with local government professionals representing more than 30 councils across Australia and New Zealand conducting in-depth phone interviews which assisted in their analysis of how councils interact and engage with their communities.
Ryan, R & Bruce, S Civica 2016, The Intrinsic Value of Libraries as Public Spaces.
Civica is involved in ongoing research into the evolution of local government based resources in particular, and as part of these efforts, Civica Libraries engaged the UTS: Institute for Public Policy and Governance to undertake research into the value of libraries as public spaces.
The City of Sydney engaged UTS:IPPG to undertake explorative research into the wellbeing of international students in the City of Sydney Local Government Area (LGA). The central aim of this research is the investigation of how international students living and/or studying in the City area perceive their wellbeing and what does and does not contribute towards their wellbeing. A review of key literature identified the following key focus areas that contributed to the wellbeing of international students.
Bennett, J, Woods, R, Bower, N, Bruce, S & O'Connor, G Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2015, Creative councils for creative communities: The Marrickville creativity project, pp. 1-48, Sydney.
Report based on a teaching and research collaboration between UTS and Marrickville Council NSW
Bruce, S Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2015, Council approaches to leadership: Research into good practice.
This report explores the elements of successful council-based leadership programs, highlighting key themes for contemporary local government leaders to consider. Three aspects of a 'good practice approach' to an in-house leadership initiative are highlighted in the research: a leadership ethos, robust support structures, and measuring the progress.
Ryan, R, Bruce, S, Wortley, L & Gamage, S UTS Centre for Local Government 2015, The changing landscape for local government: A vision for 2025, pp. 1-26, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
Dowler, B, Bruce, S & Ryan, R UTS:Centre for Local Government 2014, Evaluation of the International Student Leadership and Ambassador (ISLA) Pilot Program, Sydney.
This document is the first evaluation of the City of Sydney's (CoS) pilot International Student Leadership Ambassador (ISLA) program. This document assesses the progress of the ISLA program to date, including the evaluation of the ISLA program objectives to the program outcomes.
Bruce, S ACELG 2012, Advancing Leadership Discussion Paper.
Bruce, S ACELG 2011, Advancing Leadership Discussion Paper.