If you’re returning to school or work this week, then good luck! If it’s a week of firsts for you like it is in my family, then I will be thinking of you.
I started my new job in the La Trobe Alumni and Advancement Office last week and my head is still spinning. It will take me some time to get myself up to speed but already my remit is fairly clear – increasing engagement with Young Alumni (FYI graduate = alumni) as they transition from first, second and third year University students to their first 3 – 5 years post-graduation and helping them on their employment journey in particular – a big focus for me will be work integrated learning (internships and other work experience) and mentoring as well as promoting the Alumni Benefits program which includes exclusive access to LinkedIn Learning for La Trobe Alumni – short online courses to help you skill up quickly and in your own time.
It’s a new portfolio but one that makes a lot of sense and I’m hoping to hit the ground running given I’m already internal – it’s made things a lot easier being familiar with systems and processes as well as people and if you are starting out, mid-career or well entrenched in your chosen career – the power of the network is something that will stand you in good stead. Don’t be afraid to reach out for a coffee and chat with someone new – most people are happy to give you 30-60 minutes of their time.
I work in a fantastic Alumni Relations team who look after alumni in Australia and internationally from Young Alumni (generally graduates Under 35 years) to those with the honour of being awarded Distinguished Alumni. I also work with colleagues in the fundraising (or development) area who work with donors (who may or may not be alumni) looking at philanthropy, grants, bequests and other donations to the University and stewardship of those who have donated their time or money to worthy causes such as scholarships and life-saving or life changing research. It’s a fascinating area if you’re interested in the giving space and collectively Alumni and Fundraising (Development) is known as Advancement. A specialist data services team also supports both areas in my office so it will take me a little while to meet everyone and deepen my understanding of what they do and how all the pieces fit together.
I knew most of the people in my current area before applying for my role and that was part of the allure for me – known quantities whose good reputations preceded them and that’s been reinforced for me now working in that team. Natural affinity isn’t something that can be manufactured but is so important in the work force and in life in terms of ongoing relationships.
In my first week on the job I also managed to have three work lunches locally with my first ever team lunch being held at the aptly named The A Team Kitchen in Watsonia (run by the former owners of Miss Marie Cafe in Rosanna), Hunter Lane Cafe (now with new owners but staff have remained) as well as The Pioneer Cafe in Rosanna – none of which were here when I moved into the area just over 10 years ago. It’s been a welcome change and a sign of the times. I’m very glad to have joined the A team! Have a great week.