Director of Talent & Inclusion, RMIT University
1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?
Primary school. Mr Green. I remember him reading us the BFG (Roald Dahl). He taught me humour and empathy and a life-long love of reading
2. What seemed like an inconsequential decision at the time, but in hindsight turned out to fundamentally reshape your life?
My choice of Uni. Honestly, my criteria was all about the city and nightlife not if the Uni was any good. I was a bit of a grunge girl with pink hair (I wanted to be Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth) and so Nottingham was chosen over Durham because of ROCKCITY. I misspent a lot of time there! Because of that choice I landed my first job which was in East Africa, met my partner and moved to Australia and the rest as they say, is history
3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?
I was going to be smart here and say something like recently I have started to believe that eating lots of chocolate cures everything but actually I think I’ve always believed that. Instead, I’ll answer truthfully. I’ve developed a habit of going to the sea (at least once a day) and trying to inhale all of the oxygen. Why? COVID19. The claustrophobia I feel with lockdown to a 5km radius and curfew, increased decision making at work, home schooling, parental guilt, the News and compulsory mask wearing in public leads me to the Sea. I think it helps.
4. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
There are books that we all know of so well it doesn’t even occur to us we could actually read them. For me, Catch-22 was one of those books. I finally got to it when I was in self isolation back in March. All I can remember is I kept giggling all the way through…
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Disturbingly accurate summary of society. The ending always gets me – pass the Soma please.
The Underground Man, by Mick Jackson
I fell in love with the old man. It has such warmth, eccentricity and is touchingly human. It’s also based (loosely) around Nottingham castle and the tunnels running underground that connect it even today to the city centre.
5. Imagine: if we were to go to people who don't think very highly of you, what do you think they would say about you?
Huh, Do these people exist? Ha! Probably “she has an opinion and she’ll let you know it”
6. What is your untrainable superpower?
Hmmm… I’d say Optimism.
I find that I generally start from a place of “everything will work out.” This has its pros and cons as a super power.
Pro’s – I don’t get super stressed or suffer sleepless nights often, I stick my hand up for challenges and love to tackle difficult problems without worrying a lot about failure, optimism can be pretty contagious and influence those around you to be up for the quest (whatever it might be)
Cons – occasionally biting off more than I can chew, I prefer to wing it (because it will be fine) then dive into the detail I need to win hearts and minds (I have learnt some discipline on this one because that approach seldom works), and I’m constantly thinking about the next country I’ll move to or the next project I’ll take, which drives my husband crazy.
7. On what topic would you never make a joke?
Slavery. Still happening and nothing funny there
8. What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?
I think today there’s often still an acceptance that Mental health issues are not a “real” illness. Organisations dismiss or don’t acknowledge the role they have to play both preventative and to support. The good news though is that I think that is changing. Those workplaces where that belief and behaviour/culture remains are finding it damaging to the brand, making them seem antiquated.
9. What is the best purchase you’ve made recently? Why?
A Delonghi Automatic coffee machine. I have no barista skills and having lived in Melbourne for so long I can’t cope with bad coffee. It grinds the beans, froths the milk and cleans itself – amazing!
10. Cheese or Chocolate?
Why choose? But my death-row meal would be a cheese platter (with wine- LOTS of wine as the hangover won’t matter)
11. If you were to own a bar, and you could design it how you wanted, what would it look like?
Like a Vernon Panton interior but I couldn’t let anyone in to mess it up so probably not a viable business model
12. If you were a giant mega Monster what city would you rampage first? Why?
New York. Everytime I go it gives me the shits
13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t underestimate the importance of your personal brand and find a sponsor in your organisation who will advocate for you. A close friend now, (but at the time GM Marketing at Kmart) first bestowed this wisdom on me. Just like consumer marketing, the same principles apply – what do you want to be famous for and where are the proof points? Define it and own it. Share those proofs points widely and for me, nurturing my professional relationships and finding my advocates outside of HR has always been beneficial
“What do you want to be famous for and where are the proof points?”