Something different

‘Expansion’ has been my word for 2017 and there has been a magical quality to life this year since I chose that word, which has culminated in the past week – one of the most busy and challenging professional weeks I have ever had and likely to be the high point of the year for me.

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L-R (seated): Patrick Keyzer, Anne-Maree Farrell, Gary Dowsett, Justice Michael Kirby, VC John Dewar (standing)

I met ex-High Court judge Michael Kirby (or the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG as he is officially known) at last Thursday night’s Bold Thinking Series lecture on Health, Law & Sexuality held at the NGV Great Hall, which had fully sold out one week prior.  It’s a beautiful space with stained glass ceilings by Leonard French, which seats 600 people and the lecture was a whole-of-University project, that included support from my colleagues in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, 50th Anniversary Office, Law School, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), Alumni and Events as well as my usual working party in Marketing and Recruitment.  Justice Kirby was, and is, indeed a great man and it was an honour to have him speak at our event – he was flying out to Japan the following day to receive an Order of the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan no less and it was a learning experience for me to look at all the pomp and ceremony required for people of this stature – La Trobe University had organised an aide-de-camp to accompany Justice Kirby for his entire stay with us as well as his own green room at the NGV on the night.  I was very relieved to get to the VIP event at the NGV Garden Restaurant after the lecture to enjoy its success.IMG_5745

I flew out on Sunday afternoon high above the clouds of Melbourne to attend the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit held at the Mantra on Salt in Kingscliff – about 15 minutes drive south from the Gold Coast Airport and the start of the stunning northern NSW beaches region which includes Cabarita Beach (where Halcyon House is located) and Byron Bay – another place I’d like to return to at some stage.  The Mantra on Salt is located in the Salt Village area including Peppers Salt Resort and Spa where some of the other speakers and I all stayed.

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My balcony view – Peppers Salt Resort

While I’m used to attending networking events in the arts and culture space, as well as marketing, this was something entirely different for me to be surrounded by a group of high calibre leaders mainly from the corporate arena.  It made me realise that my own journey has been a very different one since leaving corporate life behind and starting this blog – no less valuable but perhaps the road less travelled.  In my heart of hearts, I will always be an inherently more creative, and persuasive, person with a different take on things to the mainstream – something I’ve started to see increasingly more as a strength than a weakness these past few years.

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Image via louisemahler.com.au

But back to the leadership summit, it was both daunting and inspiring to be in the presence of some truly great leaders and keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler whose magnificent presentation on body language was a real ice-breaker at the ‘fork and talk’ opening night dinner where we all met for the first time.  Equally impressive was Dr Jason Fox – the swashbuckling international speaker and author on motivation strategy and design, who embodies inner-north Melbourne hipster, including bushranger beard and coffee addiction.  I was lucky enough to have him sit in on my Think Out loud session on communications in the age of social media yesterday, and I hope I was able to teach such a clever person something new.

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Image via drjasonfox.com.au

I also met some other amazingly positive, dynamic, smart and interesting female leaders in the form of my fellow speakers and attendees at the summit – too many to mention here suffice to say that this event took things to a whole new level for me – to be in the company of such inspiring people and learn new things about myself and the skills which great leaders have, or can develop – was priceless.  I feel very grateful to my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray from Prism Brain Mapping (and her co-conspirator Monique Rattray-Wood) who gave me the opportunity to be involved in this inaugural summit.  I flew home late last night and it’s going to take me some time to process all the information I was exposed to at the summit as it was definitely not an ordinary, but an extraordinary experience – one which will stay with me for a long time.

A Garden State

It’s been a really busy start to the year and I can’t believe my next Bold Thinking Series lecture – Michael Kirby on Health, Law & Sexuality is on next week at the NGV Great Hall, which holds 600 people and we are almost at capacity.  La Trobe University has been bringing out the big guns in terms of names with former PM Paul Keating being the keynote speaker at the Ideas & Society lecture on our role in Asia the Trump era, run by Emeritus Professor and public intellectual Robert Manne, at the Melbourne Recital Centre this Friday.  This event sold out within the first week or so of being advertised.

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Image via Speakeasy HQ

I also out went out on Sunday night with my workmates to see my Irish friend Colum perform in his show Improv Against Humanity (based on the naughty card game) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Before the show, we tried for a table at Supernormal in Flinders Lane, which was super crowded and so decided to go to the Garden State Hotel (on the former Rosati’s site), which was also going off when we entered.  The resident DJ was spinning some pretty groovy tunes so it was a shame we couldn’t stay for a dance – we opted for a basement booth table away from the noise and ordered counter meals after walking into the restaurant, which was more pricey.

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Image via Speakeasy HQ

Colum’s gig had been shifted to Speakeasy HQ past the Waterside Hotel in Flinders Street – it’s Melbourne’s only dedicated vaudeville venue (and art gallery) located upstairs with a lounge bar outside the stage area and is housed in a former gold-rush era bank building – I was admiring the beautiful patterned ceiling while I was there.  And the gig?  It was very funny and improv performers are brave souls indeed – so quick off the mark….let’s just say that the words ‘semen’ and ‘dolphin’ were put to good use over the course of the evening.  Colum is not my only talented work friend, I discovered another friend Michelle used to be a high school teacher by day and a salsa dancer by night!  Next time out there will definitely be a bit of boogie-ing on down.

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Image via Garden State Hotel

If you attended a Dawn Service this morning, I hope you managed to have a restful afternoon this Anzac Day.  It’s been nice to pause and reflect.

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Image via Garden State Hotel

Big city

I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time in the city the past few days.  My Bold Thinking Series lecture was held on the last balmy night of Autumn last week.  I had to fight my way through the crowds sitting outside the front of the State Library and on the nearby streets to get my noodles before the lecture started and emerged after my event, to find just as many people enjoying the night – including a dance off and some pretty rad moves by a group of guys out the front.  Melbourne really has become an international metropolis in many ways – I just hope we can continue to grow in a sustainable way and I’m grateful for the relative peace we live in given all that is currently happening on the world stage.

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L-R: David Metcalfe, Dr Fiona McKenzie, MC Francis Leach, Jan Owen & James Fazzino

My lecture itself was fascinating – both futurist Dr Fiona McKenzie and businessman James Fazzino did a great job of flying the flag for La Trobe University while digital transformer David Metcalfe from Linked In and Foundation for Young Australians CEO Jan Owen collectively provided enlightening and insightful perspectives on what the future of work might look like – including the need for soft skills such as cognitive flexibility, emotional intelligence, social awareness, entrepreneurship, leadership, digital and communication skills.  The landscape is changing and we need to change with it in order to keep up.  You can watch it all on livestream here if you’re interested.

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ACMI image via Wikipedia

From warmth to freezing cold, I was back in the city on Sunday as my children were booked into an Easter school holiday workshop at ACMI.  We also had a prior engagement at Docklands beforehand and it was a nightmare trying to work our way back to the top of town given the inclement weather and the fact that Flinders Street was closed for Run for the Kids.  I was impressed with the runners who still competed despite the 11 degree rainy day outdoors – tough stuff indeed.  I was happy to escape into the studios at ACMI and grab coffee and lunch from the cafe.  Enjoy the rest of the week – I’m counting down to Easter and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

The future of work

This is the title of my next Bold Thinking Series lecture and I’ve assembled an interesting panel of futurist, businessman, youth advocate and digital disrupter for Thursday 6 April at the State Library which will consider amongst other things, the jobs that will disappear in the next 20 years and the jobs of the future, the rise of robotics and Artificial Intelligence and what digitalisation and automation mean for us in middle class professional jobs or the service industry.  I’m thinking that perhaps I should have studied psychology instead of public relations!

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Image via www.latrobe.edu.au

But having said that I think I’m a natural communicator and I will be holding a couple of workshops at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit taking place at Mantra on Salt by the beach in Kingscliff, NSW from 7 – 9 May.  There will be some impressive keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler and Dr Jason Fox and I’m grateful to have been invited to be part of this event by my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray.  If you are interested in attending, there is actually an early bird discount if you book before Friday 31 March and even better, you’ll get an extra 15% discount if you use the code: Christina in the promotion code box when checking out – it would be lovely to see some familiar faces there from this part of the world if you can manage it.

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Image via www.trybooking.com

I’m also pleased to say that Valentina Maxwell-Tansley, Ella Hinkley and I were successful in our funding application to Darebin Council on behalf of the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with Council unanimously agreeing to increase investment in the centre along with expanding funding over the next three years in line with our recommendations.  Instrumental to this has been the work of the previous Board, current Homestead staff as well as Vicky Guglielmo from Creative Culture at Council.  I am looking forward to introducing the new La Trobe Art Institute team to my friends at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in the next few weeks.

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Image via Facebook

Speaking of Darebin, the Darebin Community and Kite Festival is on this weekend, as well as the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix for any petrol heads out there.  I’m planning on taking it easy after a very busy past few weeks.  I was out with some work colleagues last night for a casual dinner at Indian restaurant Horn Please (near the Moroccan Soup Bar) which was a great night out – the samosas, dahl and cauliflower starter dish are highly recommended.  Needless to say, I forced myself to go to training at Cinch PT this morning in Macleod and Nikki and the girls at training recommended reading Tools of Titans which looks at the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers and what commonalities there are between them in terms of concrete and actionable goals, as opposed to abstract dreams.  Have a great weekend!

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Image via Horn Please

Travelling home

It’s a bit of a cultural week for me with the opening of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival  this week and my pick of the events would have been the already sold out Pleats x Three runway show at 7pm on Friday 10 March at Alcastan Gallery featuring Kara Baker, Nevada Duffy and Edgeley showcasing the work of artisanal company Specialty Pleaters.  I love a good pleat at the best of times and have long been a fan of Japanese designer Issey Miyake.

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Pleats x Three image via Eventbrite

Also opening this week is the aforementioned show ‘Travelling Home’ by Art Fix at Lulu cafe and gallery at 506 Queensberry Street in North Melbourne featuring the work of 75 visual artists and poets from 20 countries to explore the idea of home and travel by the contrasts that link them together.  It follows previous Art Fix events in Canada and will also include live music and spoken word performances.  Opening night is this Thursday 2 March from 5.30pm, tickets are $8 at the door with all artworks for sale.

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Bruno Malfatti image via Art Fix

Charles Blackman: School Girls opens on Saturday 4 March at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen.  Blackman’s Schoolgirls series, produced between 1952 and 1955, marked a turning point in the artist’s career as a significant painter of modern life in the post-war era.  This exhibition includes more than fifty major paintings and related works on paper as well as a fascinating array of archival material.

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Felix Girard image via Art Fix

There is also an Art Deco walking tour in East Melbourne being held on Saturday 4 March by Architours Melbourne, which sounds like a lot of fun.

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East Melbourne Art Deco Walking Tour image via Eventbrite

I’ve been run off my feet (excuse the pun!) the past few weeks gearing up for both La Trobe University’s 50th Anniversary in 9 days’ time as well as my first Bold Thinking Series lecture being held in Bendigo.  Have a great week!