Peace begins with a smile

17 February 2020

US Presidents traditionally report on their first 100 days in office.  These are some reflections on my first 100 days, which ended on 29 January 2020.

Of all the things I did in preparation to be Mayor, smiling – and especially smiling in front of a camera – was not one of them. Mother Teresa said “Peace begins with a smile”. I’ve smiled so much I reckon world peace should be achievable by the year end!

I discovered that school graduations (I’m a veteran now) are not the hymn-singing, quiet affairs they were in my day. There’s rock music that they play like the anthem of lives lived for much longer than 12 years, but I loved the recognition of students who demonstrate leadership in their schools.

I had no idea the Mayor’s speeches were prepared by staff. After the first month, the control freak in me had to take over that task. Now I’m learning to blog.

Being recognised on the street and asked for a photo is still surreal. My biggest challenge is remembering to take photos of myself at events – I’m told if there isn’t a photo, it didn’t happen. It’s the millennials' view of the world!!

One of the highlights is performing citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of our community.

There’s also the weight of expectation, the burden of disappointment and the frustration of good intentions – and that’s just on Mondays!! I am constantly reminding myself that I’m running a marathon not a sprint, and you can’t please everyone.  

What makes it all worthwhile is the amazing people I have met, the events I have attended and the important conversations I have begun. There’s no better reminder of what a great privilege it is to have been elected by my community to this role.

Mayor Karen Vernon