What does life look for you now?
I live in a beautiful semi-rural part of England, on the border between West Sussex and Hampshire. I work part-time at the local University in data analysis, which has been an area of interest for a long time. I am married and have two children, age 12 and 4. I drive a taxi called 'Mama's Car' to take my children to school, sports, parties, everything. It's a family focused life, very busy, and very happy.
Tell us what you are passionate about?
My family is number one. Next is travel. I de-prioritise a lot of things in life (e.g. clothes, latest phones, stuff) so we can save up for the next journey. Travel really does broaden the mind. Sometimes when I feel stressed about car parking or something tedious like that, I gain perspective when I remember the sight of the kids on the side of the road in Nepal, laughing and having fun whilst washing in the well water (fully clothed!). They were poor but they were happy, living in the moment.
When you were young, what were you hoping to be when you grew up?
I didn't know. When I was very young I went through the nurse / teacher phase, then later realised those roles wouldn't suit me. I studied Science and later an MBA (very much with a focus on non-profit organisations), which are not a million miles away from nurse / teacher. I guess I always had that sense of wanting to help, but I didn't which role I wanted to take.
What is your favourite Radford moment?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Radford. Great teachers, wonderful friends. I learned so much. I enjoyed being involved in the production, probably because I was out of my comfort zone. I wasn't much of actor so I worked on costume design and it was a great experience to get caught up in the buzz of the theatre (whilst saying out of the lights).
Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?
My greatest role model in life is my eldest sister who brings so much energy and fun into life. It's easy to get bogged down in measures of 'success'. Don't forget fun!
How easy was it to decide what to do in life?
It wasn't easy for me as I didn't really know what to do with my career. I studied Science at ANU because I was good at Science, but I didn't know what my path would be. I didn't have any careers advice/counselling until after I had finished my first degree (there was no adviser at Radford at the time). Doing a personality test (Myer Briggs) was helpful as it highlighted areas of strength and interest. It helped me hone in on the health/education sector. I would recommend to current students to do the personality test and talk to a careers advisor much earlier.
Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?
My first job out of Uni was Research Assistant at the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria. This job had the altruistic element to it, as well as my interest in health/education. I worked with data and realised I was good at it. Much of what I've done since then is based on / built on this work. I've had loads of jobs because I've moved around so much but I've stayed in a similar type of role and I'm pleased with what I've done. The MBA studies helped me to think critically and realise I can take a whole load of information, understand it, and make a story out of it. I like translating data to stories, that's the bit that I enjoy. I write reports for senior managers to make information meaningful and aid decision making.
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?
Happiness comes from within.
What advice do you have for current students?
In many ways it doesn't matter what you study at Uni, the main thing is that you enjoy the subject area you have chosen and you commit yourself to studying (first year wasn't my most successful). If you get good grades at Uni you have lots of options available to you after that. Also, when you're 17/18 there's a lot of pressure on you to know what you want to do. It's OK to not know yet, just have a go. If you enjoy what you do you'll do well. I would also strongly advise you all to travel before you settle down. Take a working holiday visa to Europe, take your backpack to Asia, go see the world.
Anything else that you would like to share?
Canberra is a lovely city, but there's a whole world out there for you to see. You can always come back when you're done.