Life beyond Radford

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Last updated 22.06.2023

Kathryn McMullan

Class of 1997
OCCUPATION Director, Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation (head of agency)
Lives Canberra, Australia
Attendance at radford Years 7-12
House Kurrajong
  • Masters, International law, Diplomacy
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What does life look for you now?

Life is very full and busy, but good.
After study and travel and working overseas I returned to Canberra with my partner to start a family. We now have two kids and a dog and feel very settled in Canberra, having created a new circle of friends and interests. I've also been very lucky on the work front with lots of opportunities to move jobs and continue to grow my experience.

Tell us what you are passionate about?

With small kids, family is the priority at the moment. And doing what I can to stay fit and healthy - which generally means getting up early to take the dog for a run! However as debate rages around my family about same sex marriage, diversity and inclusion are becoming an energising issue for me, and I would like to explore opportunities to support all types of diversity across our community. In my working life I am a Diversity Champion and have focused on supporting women and LGBTIQ members of my workforce.

When you were young, what were you hoping to be when you grew up?

When I was young I was going to do a million different things - be a professional basketball coach, write a novel, be a doctor, work for the UN, be an architect...... I'm still shy of 40 so I am still trying to decide what to be when I grow up!

What is your favourite Radford moment?

I generally just loved College (years 10-12). I always participated in sports carnivals, which were fun, but hated cross country. (I've only learnt to enjoy the solitude of running as an adult!)

And I will honest, year 9 camp left some significant memories, not all positive. But I survived....:)

Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?

I had some great teachers - Mrs Rasmussen for history, Mr Rose for English - who inspired a real joy in education and learning which I think I've carried through life with me.
The Deputy Principal, Mr Leyshon, was also an excellent role model, firm but fair, with a hint of humour.

How easy was it to decide what to do in life?

Not easy at all! And in fact, I still grapple with what I want to do with my life every year.
Having said that I took the option of university and the modern day Arts degree (I.e law school) and that gave me lots of choice. I've always been interested in government, security issues, and foreign affairs, so my working life has stayed true to those topics. As long as the job interests you, you will succeed.

Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?

Yes and no. I undertook my Masters degrees because they were things I was interested in at the time. I didn't end up using them as such in my career, but the experience was worth it.
As for my career, I've stayed true to only seeking roles that I actually want and would enjoy. That has paid off for me.... and I've consciously sought to work on the same sorts of issues from the point of view of government, the private sector and politics. I think that has helped expand my opportunities.

What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?

To be honest, I don't know. Probably that choices now do not lock you in. You can always change.....

What advice do you have for current students?

Follow what you are passionate about - if you basically enjoy the topic of what you do every day work is much more fun and you are more likely to be good at it!

Anything else that you would like to share?

Don't rush things.... we are all going to be working longer, and we will all have multiple careers. Enjoy the moment now, and remember to stop and reflect on how lucky we are to be born and live where we do.

Where are you now?