Come again another day

It’s been deceptive with the sun out today to forget the recent rain and flooding events in regional Victoria and right here in Maribyrnong. I’ve seen pictures of nearby Warringal Park and the East Ivanhoe public golf course completely under water so there is no denying we are living in a climate change environment.

Image: La Trobe University Ideas & Society program

It’s timely that economist Ross Garnaut and climate activist, scientist and author Tim Flannery are in conversation on ‘The Superpower Transformation’ this coming Tuesday as part of La Trobe University’s Ideas & Society series to talk about the challenge of climate change and the chance to reset our path if Australia uses its natural and human resources to become the superpower of the emerging low carbon world economy. You can register free for this online event and I hope it may offer some hope for all of us who are feeling for those who’ve lost so much at this time.

I’ve found this year to be harder in many ways than last year when we were all working and learning remotely and operating for the most part in an online environment. The world has opened back up but it’s a changed one with labour shortages, supply chain issues, war and political instability and new operating environments for businesses who are yet to find a rhythm, particularly if they didn’t innovate during the pandemic, or even if they did but haven’t reverted back to what they were pre-COVID-19 – the world has forever changed and so have we.

Next year also feels uncertain ahead of the state elections in Victoria and NSW- will there be a recession? Who knows but it will be what it will be and we can only try to best plan for it ahead of time as well as deal with things as they arise. I am hoping to feel less anxious as the pandemic’s effects dissipate with time – it’s hard not to feel a bit battle weary and people still have scars – emotionally and physically in some cases.

Image: Kura Robata & Sake

Life goes on and celebrations still happen. I spent last night at a friend’s birthday dining out at Kura – Robata & Sake Japanese restaurant in my old ‘hood in Lygon Street, Brunswick. It was very busy with people milling about everywhere in the surrounding streets and on the strip itself. My tip if you drive there is to go left off Lygon Street not right to find parking. The food was excellent and I found out later the chef is ex-Kisume and Nobu so fine dining quality but at much more reasonable prices. I had the shared menu which cost less than $70 as a non-drinker and I would go back in future as it was great value.

The weeks are flying by at the moment and I still have birthdays in my family before Christmas as well as a work trip to the land of the long white cloud. I can’t say that life is boring! Have a great week ahead.


I am, you are

We are Australian. They’re the lyrics to the unofficial Australian anthem I am Australian by The Seekers and which I think better reflect contemporary Australia. The celebration of Australia Day has been a vexed issue for a number of years now with First Nations people and other Australians referring to it as National Day of Mourning or Invasion Day. I would prefer we celebrate on 1 January – the Federation date when we became the Commonwealth of Australia uniting our states.

Unity is a lofty aspiration and while some have disagreed with our Prime Minister changing the words of Advance Australia Fair to ‘one and free’ – it’s something also re-iterated in I am Australian – ‘we are one, but we are many’ and despite our differences, we need to ensure all Australians are included and diversity celebrated. Sadly this isn’t reflected in the data but for me, it’s something to work towards together with representation from those groups who do not yet have a seat at the table.

My time at La Trobe has given me greater insight into difference and diversity and forever changed some of my thinking. It was my last week ‘in the office’ this past week and a flurry of activity catching up with my careers counsellor to finish updating my CV, preparing for an external job interview (which I didn’t land but was still great experience and more on that later), tidying up loose ends and cleaning up my computer files along with farewelling over 100 people at all levels across the university. Working at La Trobe has been a great privilege and honour and not something I ever took for granted. There were some last minute developments and if they eventuate I’ll let you know but for all intents and purposes I have left the university and will be seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

Where to from here? As a professional staff member I’m lucky to have transferable skills and that is now the question as much as there are many people looking for work from industries most affected by COVID-19 – tourism, retail, hospitality, aviation and the university sector. Higher education is Victoria’s largest export industry of $12.5 billion and it has received little government support as much as the Uni unsuccessfully applied for JobKeeper on behalf of its staff last year. I’ve been interested to read the findings of the National Skills Commission and emerging occupations to consider.

There is growth in healthcare, aged care, disability services, transport, social housing and infrastructure so something to bear in mind if you’re looking for work or thinking of re-skilling. I also think trades and teaching are options if you have a passion for working with your hands or with young people.

The role I missed out on due to lack of direct major gift experience was with the IWDA – the International Women’s Development Agency – the leading Australian agency entirely focussed on women’s rights and gender equality in the Asia Pacific. An interesting organisation and one which reflects my values, particularly as a feminist and woman of colour. Still, it was great experience to get to interview and be in the running, which is all you can ask for on the job hunt.

I pivoted before Christmas while I still had the energy applying for roles and reaching out to my network and their referrals. I now have a number of coffee meetings to organise and think I’m more likely to find my next role in the hidden job market – directly approaching people who are in influential positions or leaders who can help me on my journey.

On this Australia Day long weekend, I thought you might be interested in some of the images I took from the Destiny Deacon curator’s talk I attended online earlier this year. Destiny is a La Trobe alumna and (in the words of the NGV where her solo show is now showing) one of Australia’s boldest and most acclaimed contemporary artists – I love the humour in her work, which also makes a political statement, as an Indigenous artist based in Melbourne.


I hope you’ve had a great long weekend especially if you’ve managed to escape to the country or the beach. While it has been cold, the sunshine and blue skies make all things bearable in winter. I’ve been both running and walking in single digit temperatures trying to stay active. The ‘exercise and socialise’ mantra has also been in my head and I’ve been meeting friends to get takeaway coffees before going for long walks outside – coffee and conversation as well as movement and I have really enjoyed my ‘walkie talkies’ as I call them.

9 Charlton Road Eaglemont – all images via

I had a pretty tumultuous week on the work front last week – it’s never great to make front page news for all the wrong reasons but I will say that La Trobe University is very much still open for business and not about to go anywhere in a hurry. Things are not as dire as what’s been portrayed in the media. The higher education sector in general is hurting with little federal government support nor international student income and there will be inevitable pain ahead, but I still believe in the future of anchor institutions like ours that mean so much to local and global communities, and luckily so do many people in more powerful positions than mine.


The world has felt very much in a state of change with Black Lives Matter protests overseas, interstate and here in Melbourne. While I believe in the right of people to peacefully protest and the need for solidarity, I’m not sure about the wisdom of doing it during a global pandemic but people make their own choices. Life can be fragile and as a ‘person of colour’ – the end of institutionalised and endemic racism is something to aim for especially in multicultural, modern societies like ours. As someone who works with young people, I am buoyed by the fact that they are a lot more open-minded, socially conscious and inclusive in their outlook, values and behaviour.


While we’ve had a staycation this past weekend, it’s been great to have caught up with family face-to-face after so long – my children have loved seeing their cousins before they return to school this week. We also had an impromptu lunch outside at Rockin’ Rolls cafe in Heidelberg (who do a delicious crackling pork Bahn Mi) after a very quick visit in and out of the Asics outlet at Uni Hill in Bundoora to pick up new running shoes for the kids. We did have to leave our name at the cafe which is the new normal and I will be taking it slowly in terms of socialising indoors at public venues as previously mentioned.


In these times of economic hardship, it’s still nice to dream and another house has caught my eye this past week – this Art Deco stunner (pictured above and below) at 9 Charlton Road in Eaglemont. The owners clearly have a love of the monochromatic plus that pool! And I love the walk-in pantry and that glamorous walk-in wardrobe. I wish…



Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity. It’s a military term that has taken off in leadership management circles the past few years, but I think it’s also an apt description for this time of living through a world-wide pandemic. I’ve never been great at ambiguity and uncertainty, but I’ve accepted this is where things are for now and perhaps a lot longer than any of us can guess.


I’ve realised looking around my house there are certain themes of freedom, travel and movement represented, which is probably why it’s hard to stay at home when there’s a compulsion to move forward (just like our national symbols the kangaroo and the emu) and feel free. I think it’s why I love birds and what they symbolise.


I was very taken with Cai Guo-Qiang’s Murmuration installation of 10,000 porcelain birds last year as part of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the NGV. And I wasn’t the only one given the gallery was able to successfully fundraise to secure his largest ever porcelain artwork as part of its contemporary art collection. Closer to home, the Freedom Bird project created by local artist Helen Platania invites children, adults, crafters and artists alike to download a 3D bird for a collaborative, community art project.


I was watching The Teskey Brothers perform in the empty NGV as part of The State of Music last night. La Trobe University sponsors both the NGV and The Australian Ballet and performing arts companies are doing it very hard at the moment. The Australian Ballet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Victorian Arts Centre are all running free digital performances and I feel very lucky to live in a time where many of us can continue to work from home and be entertained with video on demand and livestream.

Drive-in cinemas look set to re-open in coming months but with that innovation too around drive-in live music and theatre shows, similar to what is being done in Europe as social distancing measures continue. Might need to rug up over winter but I think it’s a great idea to keep the music going!

One step at a time

Hmmm…I might need to be doing a lot more of that. I weighed myself for the first time last week (something I don’t normally do) and got a bit of a shock to find I am the heaviest I have ever been! Too many people have issues with ageing, body image and weight so I’m not getting too upset about it suffice to say I will definitely be reining in all the baking I’ve been doing – guilty of making cookies, muffins, cake, banana bread and scones these past few months and clearly a bit too much indulging going on.


Walking is something that’s vastly under-rated and it was interesting to see Jono Lineen – the author of Perfect Motion on TV the other week talking about other benefits of walking in terms of making us wiser and more resilient in ways I’d not previously considered. I also subscribe to Victoria Walks and many friends are regular hikers who are no doubt very happy to see some social distancing measures being lifted. While we’ve largely continued to heed the stay at home message, we did venture out yesterday as a family for a walk near the river (below) in Warrandyte, which was glorious as has been the past few days in the Autumn sun.


I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks helping my marketing colleagues film another young alumna – nursing graduate Yanti Turang who has been on the frontline in New Orleans dealing with COVID-19 in the US. Hers is an extremely inspiring story – she’s been a hard person for me to catch with the time difference but also featured in our online Year of the Nurse event last Tuesday celebrating the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the  200th Birthday of the founder of Nursing, Florence Nightingale.



La Trobe University has also pivoted in a number of ways (with a raft of new online short courses soon to be launched) including the free 12-week online COVID-19 Industry Response Program for local small business being run by my La Trobe Accelerator colleagues and a similar free 12-week online Leadership Professional Development Program run by our MBA area. If you have time on your hands as a small business owner or individual affected by the pandemic, I would encourage you to apply for one of these courses and up-skill while you have the time.

School’s back very soon and with the lifting of some restrictions, I hope to catch up with family and friends face-to-face very soon. I am going to wait a couple of weeks and will be taking a pretty conservative approach given some indoor environments seem to be more risky – Mr Rosanna and I expect to continue to work from home in the short term and possibly a lot longer. I did see a black public order response police car the other day (the first time ever) and have downloaded the COVIDSafe app as much as it feels a bit Big Brother – some shades of George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four in 2020. Who would have thought? Life is turning out to be stranger than fiction.

Shine On

It definitely did for the 7th annual Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk and Research Run (WWRR) held this year in the city. Mr Rosanna and I signed up for the run last year when it was held at La Trobe University but pulled out due to sickness on the day. This year, I was joined by my colleagues in the Alumni and Advancement Office (below) as well as other staff members under the Team La Trobe banner given we are the event’s University and Research Partner.

Me in the middle with my workmates

I caught the train in from Clifton Hill station which was full of WWRR runners and walkers including those in green wigs and matching tutus! I spied Olivia Newton-John herself (below) doing media as I entered the Alexandra Gardens so was able to get a shot up close although her minder was keeping a watch on those who strayed too far in. It was great to find my friends at the Team La Trobe tent where we were able to check in our bags before setting off on our 5km walk past the Shrine and on to the Botanical Gardens (Tan) track going anti-clockwise. There were various cheers squads and live entertainment to keep us amused along the way and yes, they did play Let’s Get Physical as well as songs from Grease during the warm up!


While it was a bit overcast and cooler when I arrived, by the time we’d clocked half way around the Tan we were in full sun and after walking through the finish line and collecting our medals, I left the gardens in the heat of the day with the hot sun shining down.


I have been out and about this past week celebrating birthdays with family and friends including a mid-week dinner at Spanish restaurant Nomada located just off Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. My friend Mel had tried to book Rice Paper Scissors and Transformer Fitzroy on my suggestion but I was happy we ended up at Nomada as the food was beautiful – lots of seafood and vegetarian options and delicious starters including cuttlefish on mash, fresh oysters, eel on toast tapas, prawns or slow cooked lamb with a delicious broccoli, quinoa and lime salad finished off with freshly cooked churros donuts sitting in a hot chocolate sauce – delicious! There was a bit of break in between due to two big tables of diners including ours but I would definitely go back again for a meal.

Closer to home, I finally had lunch at Stix & Stones in Lower Plenty (above and below) on another beautiful sunny day and it was also very good. The Adventure Playground is closed and apparently in the early days, you could sit outside with a picnic rug but it’s now the main internal dining space and alfresco tables and stools outside. Mr Rosanna and I actually shared a number of starters including the salt and pepper squid and pork belly along with a Greek salad and fries. We also shared the sticky date pudding dessert and the service was great – we were very much looked after by the lovely team there. I only had two small criticisms – the 90s rock music was a little loud (we had older family members with us who struggled to hear) and I wish they had real not fake indoor plants but all in all, it’s good to have a place like it located so close to home. And for those lucky enough to be seated outside amongst the gum trees, it makes for an atmospheric natural dining environment.


It’s all happening in Lower Plenty as Shine On: A Night of Networking and Inspiration is being held at the Rosanna Golf Club on Wednesday 20 November from 7 – 9.30pm. Jules Lund is the keynote speaker and host and outside of his TV and radio commitments, he has founded TRIBE – a tech empire that connects social media influencers with leading brands. Tickets are now on sale and I’ve already got mine for the event which is being run by Banyule Business.

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Reading is my secret power

Love Your Bookshop Day was last weekend and it’s great to see some bookshops still flourishing despite others closing. Children’s books have weathered the storm of the digital age and one thing we’ve always done as parents is read to our kids since they were toddlers and passed on our love of books and reading, which apparently does make you smarter!


I attended last night’s sold out Bold Thinking Series lecture on Breaking taboos: What’s Off-Limits in Children’s Books? with children’s author and current Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman, (pictured left of stage above) La Trobe academic Professor Jo Lampert, MC Francis Leach and Dr Juliet O’Conor, children’s research librarian at the State Library Victoria. This was one of the last events I organised before moving into the Alumni and Advancement Office early this year. I got to the State Library Theatrette just in time to take my seat at the back before the show began.

While all the panellists spoke beautifully on the trickiness of difficult subject matter in children’s books last night, Morris himself was delightful. Not all writers make great speakers but he has a voice made for radio! Lucky too in that ABC Radio National did record the event and you can catch the clever conversation once the podcast is shortly made available.

Some other related events include the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Week that starts tomorrow and the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, which starts on 30 August and whose theme this year is ‘When we talk about love’.

Meanwhile locally, the Banyule Award for Works on Paper finalists’ exhibition opens on the 28 August and I remember meeting the very interesting self-proclaimed book sculptor Nicholas Jones a number of years ago at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe and coveting one of his beautiful pieces. Given the awful weather outside, a bit of reading indoors might be the go this weekend.


Power and privilege

It’s been an interesting election weekend – a lot of people voted early so it was pretty subdued at the local primary school compared with previous elections. I wonder if it reflects the state of the Australian psyche regarding all things political and I wonder too if Bob Hawke’s passing may clinch the deal for the Labor party.


I attended my first graduation ceremony at La Trobe University during the week – something I’d not previously done despite working at the University for three years now. While Olivia Newton-John received her honorary doctorate last year, this year’s recipient was Kon Karapanagiotidis (above) from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, twice a La Trobe alumnus, whom I was lucky enough to work with in 2017 for the Bold Thinking Series lecture on Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley held in Shepparton. My colleagues and I said a short hello to him before official proceedings and have been very proud to call him one of our own.

L-R: Kon Karapanagiotidis and La Trobe Chancellor John Brumby AO

So while I had seen him previously speak in a public forum, his keynote speech to students was a rousing and impassioned one, if not a little evangelical in nature, where he asked graduands “what are you going to do with your power and your privilege?”. You can watch the full speech here. Kon had also brought his mum with him who was sitting in the row behind me and his speech was also very moving with him tearing up while talking about his parents’ sacrifices in his early days as the child of immigrants who could not speak the language but had a great love of this country. He spoke of love, of hope, of culture and community and the things that bind us together as people and his message regarding the fact that your integrity and your values are things that no-one can take away from you regardless of your circumstances.

On another note, I did want to mention that the next Bold Thinking Series lecture is on Can dogs heal hearts and minds? and there will be two therapy dogs present at the event being held at the State Library Theatrette on 13 June. I read with interest about a recent National Australia Bank study that found that owning a dog, cat or other animal was an overwhelming factor for improving our sense of satisfaction, life worth and happiness as the top influence adding to our wellbeing as recorded by economists.


Also on tomorrow is World Bee Day Celebration at the Alphington Farmer’s Market from 9am  – 1pm and I must admit I’m always happy to see the bees happily buzzing around in my backyard which are one of the signs of healthy local ecology and environment. If you are a fan of bees, you might also love the handmade necklaces by UK designer Alex Monroe (above) available locally from The Fairfax Store. My current boss, who is British, has one in rose gold and it’s a lovely symbol to have around your neck!

Raise hell

IMG_8468Despite being raised in a family of girls, I now live with my family of boys and so have moved from fashion and frocks to football.  We saw Melbourne play off against Geelong at the MCG last Friday night (pictured below) and it was a great atmosphere as much as I had a pretty hoarse throat by the end of the night.  We joined over 90,000 people there and there’s just as many going tonight.  Football at the G is one of those quintessential Melbourne experiences whether you follow the footy or not and may the best team win this season.  There’s also some great street art featuring a couple of the boys currently on display in the city’s laneways.


It’s pretty warm today but I think the weather is going to turn tonight.  If Mexican mariachi music is of interest the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra’s Of light and darkness is on at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School tomorrow, which isn’t something you hear everyday!


I’m hoping the weather is better on Sunday as the Olivia Newton John Wellness Walk and Research Run is being held at La Trobe University, YouthFest 2018 in Macleod as well as the Montsalvat Arts Festival in Eltham.  Go Dees!

A promising future

It’s what all of us want but not what all of us get.  It is actually National Reconciliation Week and the 10 year anniversary of that moment in time when ex-Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Indigenous people and Stolen Generations of this land.  The other lecture series at La Trobe University, Ideas and Society, will contemplate The Promise of the Future with Noel Pearson and Megan Davis on Thursday 14 June – a conversation that will examine the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia.  I also wanted to mention that Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe is showing From the Belly of the Snake by local Wurundjeri artist Judy Nicholson as part of Reconciliation Week.

Image via La Trobe University

La Trobe University actually has the highest number of Indigenous Australian students, as well as a significant number of students from regional locations and internationally drawn to our sprawling leafy campus, which houses a Wildlife Sanctuary and is the same size as Melbourne’s CBD.  It’s been a very progressive and dynamic place to work over the past two years and I feel very privileged to be a staff member.

Images above and below via

On a random note, this beautiful Art Nouveau house (pictures above and below) currently for sale at 11 Latham Street in Ivanhoe has caught my eye – it has some exquisite features such as the beautiful painted ceilings and intricate fretwork – as much as I also love modern architectural design – contemporary houses don’t have the same character as a period home, which can never be replaced once it’s pulled down.  I do wonder how much the suburbs around here are going to change once many of the planned new housing developments and sub-divisions are completed.