Get To Know

Barry Denham, Principal Consultant

What are you most passionate about in your role?

I love working across change management and organisational design and development. I’m also passionate about environmental sustainability and social justice, which is one of the reasons I enjoy consulting to the public sector and contributing to something bigger.

What career journey have you taken to get here?

I started my career working as a lawyer for a large firm in Ireland. I quickly realised I was more interested in people development than the law, so made the career move into education. I loved working in education, but felt I had landed a great job too early in my career as there were many other things that I wanted to do.

One of those things was to work in the environmental space. An opportunity came up to return to Australia – where I had spent six months as a university exchange student – to complete a master’s degree at Melbourne University in Environment – Sustainability, Policy and Management. While studying, I was offered a short contract role at the then Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

That contract turned into an eight-year public service career, which included advising on continuous improvement, change and organisational development issues. About five years ago, I worked alongside Jo and Stella in project managing a restructure for the Department. I really enjoyed that experience and, shortly afterwards, moved into full-time consultancy.

What’s the best bit of career advice you’ve received?

There are two. The first is to follow what you are passionate about. The second is that, when it comes to working with people, think effectiveness not efficiency. Leadership is relational and the strength of the relationship will reflect the quality of the conversations.

What do you love to do when you’re not at work?

I enjoy spending time with my family, being out in nature, exercising, reading and watching sport.

What’s something few people know about you?

I played Australian Rules Football for Ireland and was part of the team that won the International Cup in 2002. I started playing Aussie Rules when I was an exchange student in Melbourne. When I returned to Ireland, I met some Australian backpackers in a pub. The Australians were keen to start a local game, which I got involved with. Eventually, we were contacted by the AFL and invited to participate in the International Cup. In between having a great time and meeting some great people, we managed to win the competition final playing on the hallowed ground of the MCG.

You can read more about Ireland’s national Australian rules football team here: