Get to know our people – Vanda Strange

Meet our people and learn more about the faces behind Viva Energy.

29 Apr 2022
  • Viva Energy Australia
  1. I’ve worked at Viva Energy since 29 March 2021.
  2. My first job was as a Project Engineer on a multistory building in Melbourne’s CBD.
  3. My role is as a Community Engagement Manager.
  4. I help people reach their destination by developing partnerships, sponsorships and relationships with community organisations that use funding provided by Viva Energy for programs that assist people in the community reach their destination and have equitable access to services.
  5. The best part of my job is connecting Viva Energy and its employees with community organisations and charities that we support, sponsor and partner with.
  6. The biggest misconception people have about my role is that community engagement is just about speaking to people about the company when it is actually more about listening to the communities and their needs.
  7. I was led to this career by after being involved in a number of telecommunications projects from 2005 to 2009, negotiating access to land with First Nations peoples and landowners across some 16,000 km around Australia. The work impacted around 27,000 properties and 220 communities and by the end of the projects, I felt like I had let the communities down. The works were being completed at a very fast pace, and with the large number of communities involved there was insufficient time to establish real relationships and ongoing community projects or programs. I felt we should be doing more for the communities we were passing through.
  8. I prefer to start the day by having a herbal tea (Mixed Berries) and quickly followed by a coffee.
  9. I prefer to end the day by completing a crossword with my partner.
  10. I am energised by people asking me about First Nations peoples’ cultures and listening to ideas they have to engage with communities.
  11. The most interesting thing I have just worked on is completing Viva Energy’s second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and the Community Program strategy for 2022 and beyond. I am amazed how our RAP Working Group and management team continue to exceed my expectations in what we can do as a company. I am particularly proud of the RAP cover page displaying one of the artwork pieces by an artist awarded a Viva Energy 3D Award as part of the Koorie Heritage Trust annual Koorie Art Show.
  12. The one behavior I attribute my success to is engaging with an open mind and heart because an open mind allows you to listen and learn, and an open heart allows you to listen without bias.
  13. The one thing that surprises me about working at Viva Energy is how friendly and approachable everyone is.
  14. The most funny/memorable moment I had at work was when I met Scott, our CEO, for the first time and rather than introduce myself properly I waved my hand and said howdy. Possibly more embarrassing than fun.
  15. The worst job I ever had was as a Project Engineer on a road construction project (I am a Building Engineer not Civil) but from this, I learned to make sure I ask questions and not assume I am expected to know everything.
  16. The biggest mistake I made early on in my career was thinking as an engineer I was more important than the people doing the day to day work and I learned that you need people to get the job done and that takes the ability to engage and motivate people to do the things that need doing.
  17. The greatest career advice I was given was to take every opportunity that comes your way as you only learn by trying new things.
  18. The most important skill every person should have is the ability to actively listen and be in the moment.
  19. The one topic I wish I knew more about is psychology and why people are the way they are.
  20. How do you see this role evolving over the next 5 years? I think the role will grow and the role of our Community Ambassadors and RAP Working Group becoming more important and involved in organising and participating in our relationships, sponsorships and partnerships with First Nations peoples and Non-First Nations people. I have seen just in the year I have been at Viva Energy that employee and senior management want to do more. We truly want to be a company that is not just an employer of people but a part of the community, and this means participating in local events, volunteering, fundraising and good deeds through-out the year.
  21. Early bird or night owl? Definitely an early bird or at least I used to be before COVID!!

Learn more about Viva Energy’s Reconciliation Action Plan and our support of Indigenous communities