Jobs at DOC: Ashley Mudford – Chief Information Officer

Department of Conservation —  24/05/2013

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Ashley Mudford – Chief Information Officer.

Ashley having fun dressing up in his renaissance outfit.

Ashley having fun dressing up in his renaissance outfit

At work

Some things I do in my job include…

My job is about change—helping people to see how use of new tools can help them make a difference to how they work and enable people to be much more productive and effective. To do this means that I am involved in lots of meetings, doing a lot of listening, asking questions, connecting people together, and developing ideas on ‘how could things be better?’.

The best bit about my job is…

Seeing people’s eyes light up when they understand. This is about their having an ‘aha’ moment where they see how things can be different and that they wish to make that difference.

The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is…

Being on the 4th floor for the 25th anniversary of DOC, seeing the number of people who admitted to being here since it started, and seeing them being recognised for their contributions.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is…

There is no single answer as there are so many people who keep me enthused or inspired. Probably the person who most inspires me is my Personal Assistant, Jo Winter—I am continually amazed at her ability to get complex and competing stuff done quietly behind the scenes, with little fuss, and she still has the energy to tease me.

The Great Wall at Badaling (near Beijing).

Ashley cites his time travelling around Beijing as one of his favourite holidays. This image shows the Great Wall at Badaling (near Beijing)

On a personal note…

The song that always cheers me up is…

Well… I don’t choose songs to cheer me up, they are used to help my thinking or doing stuff, such as Pink Floyd; Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac; Eric Clapton; Beatles (and other 60s & 70s musicians); Phantom of the Opera; John Williams (guitarist); Beethoven; Ella Fitzgerald; George Gershwin; Jessica Molaskey; Leonard Cohen; Madeleine Peyroux… the list goes on….

Before working at DOC I…

Started my career as a teacher, eventually working with disruptive adolescents in Social Welfare homes and people in prisons. This led me to be responsible for the New Zealand correctional education service, which involved fundamentally changing the delivery model at a time of significant political change. From here I led a significant change programme in prisons following from a Ministerial Committee of Inquiry, and eventually became responsible for the prison service Head Office. After lots of disruption I created my own organisational development business in project management and business analysis. This led me to DOC the first time (after Cave Creek). I then became responsible for developing a world leading programme for data exchange between New Zealand and importing countries about export agricultural products. When the Food Safety Authority was created, I became their Chief Information Officer.

My stomping ground is…

I spent a number of years in various places in Taranaki, but also lived in North Auckland, Waikato, South Canterbury, Christchurch and now Wellington. The most influential place for me was working on a farm outside of Kaponga (Taranaki).

If I could trade places with any other person for a week—famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional—it would be…

I do not want to trade places with anyone. I’m very happy being me (well most of the time! I’m not happy with myself when I get grumpy, then I’d certainly like to be someone else).

Ashley and Susan at dawn in the Sahara riding a camel after spending the night in a Bedouin tent.

Ashley and Susan at dawn in the Sahara riding a camel after spending the night in a Bedouin tent

My best ever holiday was…

Pakawau in the early 1980s. It was the first time that I learned how to relax on a holiday. Then again… driving 2500 miles in a Mustang convertible with the Beach Boys blaring out around California; or travelling over the Atlas mountains (Morocco) and travelling a camel into the desert is pretty awesome; or being in Rome at the same time as Pope John Paul II’s funeral; or being with my wife when she fell in love with Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ at The Getty; or travelling around Beijing (including the Great Wall); or Taipei; or Istanbul; or flying over the Gobi desert at dawn; or travelling through South Africa; or spending time on the Masai Mara in Kenya; or wandering around St Paul be Vence (outside Nice in France); or attending the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in San Bernadino. I don’t think I can say I’ve had one best ever, I’ve been very fortunate in having lots….

In my spare time I…

Spend a lot of time working on renovating our Victorian villa, playing with computers, watching movies, catching up with neighbours, and cooking for occasions.

Restoring our house has been a hobby for the last 25 years and now we are updating stuff which we did 25 years ago. Renovating our villa is a significant part of our contribution to conservation.

Ashley's Mt Victoria villa: 1910, 1988 and 2010.

Ashley’s Mt Victoria villa: 1910, 1988 and 2010

My secret indulgence is…

A really good Port—or then again it could be trying boutique beers… or then again, maybe its creating occasions such as taking Susan in a 1950’s Rolls Royce over the Rimutaka Hills for lunch for her birthday….

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is…

My job is to make your job easier, but if you don’t help me, I can’t help you.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

From a friend who helped me through a difficult teenage period: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…and sometimes this can be hard!

In work and life I am motivated by…

Trying to enable the world to be a better place to live—this is at the economic, environmental and social levels.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is…

Ask yourself the question: ‘What environment do you want your great grandchildren to inherit?’. This should then drive your actions.

Question of the week…

What would you name a story about your life?

The Difference.

One response to Jobs at DOC: Ashley Mudford – Chief Information Officer

  1. 

    Thank you for sharing your story Mr.Mudford, nice to see people like yourself withing the organisation getting recognition