June 2017 Q&A: Karen Lee

Karen Lee is the CEO of IPEd, a position created in 2016 after our transition to a national society with state branches. She’s based in Brisbane and is currently paid for around 11 hours work a week for IPEd.

Could you tell us about your background and why the IPEd CEO role appealed?

The opportunity to work for IPEd was fortuitous because it meant that I could combine my love for the written language with the skills I had. I am a qualified solicitor, having worked as a senior policy adviser to the Australian Democrats from 2001 to 2007, and consequently as Chief of Staff to two Senators. I believe that my established political experience, intimate knowledge of the parliamentary process, and strong strategic advocacy and campaigning skills are assets I bring to the role. As a writer, I am thrilled to work on behalf of our membership and also in finding ways that we can support the industry as a whole.

What do you see as the main opportunities and challenges for IPEd and its branches, including Editors Victoria, in the future?

The main opportunities (and challenges) are being able to lift the profile of IPEd on a national level. I say this because many in the industry have not heard about IPEd. I think that, while editors know about IPEd, a large section of the sector and the public do not. Being able to lift our profile and link in with our stakeholders will mean that we can promote IPEd, our branches and our members better.

How do you see the role of editors evolving, especially with the changing nature of communications (and what role does IPEd play)?

I have already seen some aspects of the traditional role of editors evolve; I think we have to equip our membership to be nimble operators. In saying that, I think that our members are incredibly resourceful and are already engaged in working flexibly compared to the rest of the traditional industries. We have to ensure that we offer the professional development and training opportunities our members need to be able to make those transitions or to be better prepared.

What will be your main focus in the coming year?

My focus will be on developing a strategic plan with Council to plan our work for the next three to five years. Stakeholder engagement is also vital for me.

Outside your IPEd role, what are your other activities and what do you do to relax?

I am a writer so I read, write and spend time with my family. I have two delightful children, one four years old and one 19 months. And, like your lovely branch president Jackey Coyle, I love to travel.

Thanks, Karen – lovely to find out a bit more about you.

Karen can be contacted on ceo@iped-editors.org.