THRIVHER INTERVIEW: JEAN HAY AM

Updated: May 21, 2018


Silvia Damiano

Thrivher Achievements:

  • Served as an Australian local government politician.

  • Mayor of Manly Council from 1999 to 2004

  • Was the last mayor of Manly from 8 September 2008 to 12 May 2016



Thrivher Dive

  • Can’t start the day without: Listening to the 5:00 a.m. news followed shortly by a cup of tea

  • Best read for growth: I'm a fan of Tom Keneally’s books and I particularly like Napoleon’s Last Island. It’s about when Napoleon was banished and sent off to St. Helena's.

  • Most effective productivity tool: When I was working in council I had an excellent E.A. who really helped me.

  • Non-negotiable: Probably one of my failings is I can’t say no. I’ve always put my duty to the community ahead of myself and probably to the detriment of my family. I’ve always felt that when you take on a job you have to do it well.

  • Top music track of all time: Anything by Rod Stewart.

  • Mindful habits: Not really any but three times a week I try to go to Curves ladies gym.

  • I’m most afraid of: Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I think once you have been down that path and had all the treatments, you’re just so grateful that you’re still around to see your grandchildren grow up.

  • Go-to for fun: Watching the Sea Eagles play – I’m a mad supporter.

  • I’m originally from: Sydney, Australia, and now live in: Sydney, Australia





THRIVHER MOVES:


How did your career start?

I left school when I was 15 years old. I went to Cremorne Girls High which was a selective school, but unfortunately in those days, the same store wasn’t put on girls furthering their education. My education only really began after school.


I was married at 18, and very soon afterwards my husband began his career in local politics. At 19, I became the Deputy Mayoress at Manly (Sydney, Australia). Further down the track my husband became Mayor and then he went into State politics and was Minister for Local Government and Planning. It was at this point that many people approached me to suggest I stand for Council because I had been so involved with the community. That’s how it all started.



Had you always had an interest in politics before you met your husband?

Honestly, no! My husband wasn’t particularly interested either at the time. When he ran for Council he was only 25 and I was 18, it was actually his father who convinced him to do it. The Mayor at the time was a friend of my husband’s father, and he suggested the idea. So I suppose really we fell into politics. Of course, my husband then became very interested and went on to become Mayor. Through association I became Mayoress, which was a significant role in the community in those days which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was through my work in that role that led me to running for Mayor myself.



How did your career progress once you became a Councilor?

My main passion or driving force was my love for Manly. It’s a wonderful place to live and I’ve had the fortune of living here all my life. I think because it’s such a wonderful place and I feel so lucky to live here, I just wanted to give back as much as I could.