At Home With Stephanie Asher
Stephanie Asher likes to solve problems – firstly in her business career and now in civic life.
The managing partner of The Geelong Consulting Group has been a consultant for more than two decades and describes her job these days as “a corporate consultant – strategic planning, communications, project management… problem solving”.
Stephanie stood for the City of Greater Geelong council nearly two years ago and was the first candidate elected in the Bellarine Ward. She has since been appointed chair of the strategy and communications portfolio and deputy chair of the sustainable development portfolio.
In recent years Stephanie has also tried her hand as a biographer, penning The Footy Lady (published by Melbourne University Press in 2017) – the story of Dr Susan Alberti and her trailblazing life of determination and resilience.
My Coastal Home visited Stephanie at her home in Ocean Grove.
I was born in Adelaide but moved to Geelong for a couple of years, and then to Melbourne. I moved to Ocean Grove from Fitzroy nearly 20 years ago as here is such a fabulous place to bring up kids.
I met Rob in 1999 and we’ve been married since 2002. We have three amazing children, who are now all teenagers. I have one older sister, and parents who live on the Mornington Peninsula; the dark side! Mum’s recently moved to Portarlington – she saw the light and came to the Bellarine Peninsula. She’ll be local in about two decades.
Pretty much any Australian surf beach if the temperature is over 25, preferably with sunshine. Walking, running, swimming, sitting, lying… I enjoy the beach in many forms.
The Footy Lady
I still see myself as a biographer, but only when I get the time. It doesn’t pay very well. I enjoyed it, but it was exhausting. We’re nearly at 10,000 sales now. Susan’s the workhorse, though, she sells heaps of them whenever she speaks. I’ve got a few people in mind for the next biography, which I won’t say because everyone will laugh at me.
Life as a councillor
It’s probably very similar to what I imagined (before being elected) but the councillor group is more interesting than I thought it would be. The more you get to know people, the more interesting they become, and of course there’s the process we’re going through at the moment with everyone jostling for leadership positions; it’s fascinating.
I currently have four on the go, including my own business, key clients and council. As a consultant for more than 25 years, my work is very mobile and in the past few years it’s more and more on the phone, too. I was inspired by Cadel Evans’ driver, Alan – who lives in my street – when he said Cadel does most of his work on the phone. It’s lighter than a laptop and I can have multiple email accounts on the one device!
I dabble really badly with painting when I can make the time, but I’m also interested in supporting local artists. The most recent one was Warwick Manderson, who has done a lovely piece showing a stand of moonah trees in Barwon Heads. It was really important to me because we worked together to increase the protection of trees in his street and it was a great example of community, councillor and council officer collaborating. So I bought a couple of his artworks.
Summer is on the way. If I could grow jasmine on the walls inside the house, I would. The smell is the memory of summer to me, it takes me back to my childhood – I can’t remember where, I think it must have been in our house in North Balwyn.
Not only do we take it for granted that our eggs are always fresh, and often still warm, they are really good and munching all the food waste. With three teenagers, we go through a mountain of food – I work for Coles at the moment and I really should buy shares, given how much we spend there. Between the chickens, our dog, the two cats and the compost bin, there is not much organic waste.
Runners and dog lead
My meditation time is while I run with our dog. I love the extendable lead because I can still run and so can the dog. He’s a kelpie, so he’s inherently brilliant, obedient and really doesn’t need to be on a lead, but I am a councillor so I have to obey the rules!