Over the rainbow

It’s where we’d all like to be given the the roadmap out of what has felt like the never-ending lockdown was finally revealed today. I hope it has given you hope regarding the dreams that you dream of. We all need things to look forward to and to find happiness with the small freedoms now that will become bigger ones in a matter of coming weeks and months. Mr Rosanna and I spied this rainbow (below) amongst the clouds, which will soon be behind all of us, while visiting Rosanna parklands yesterday afternoon.

Private real estate inspections were given the go ahead this weekend and this 70s showstopper that backs on to Heidelberg Golf Course at 2/70 Old Eltham Road in Lower Plenty (below) has caught my eye. It was build by, and for, architect Bill Lutrell and modelled on the 1930s Villa Mairea house designed by Alvar Aalto in Finland – something ahead of its time with its modernist design. The current owner (also an architect who bought the property from Bill Lutrell) owns the front house on the sub-divided block and number two is currently for sale with Morrison Kleeman (but I don’t think will be on the market for very long!).

2/70 Old Eltham Road Lower Plenty image credit: realestate.com.au

These geometric tumblers by Birdrock Ceramics have also captured my attention and continuing the 70s vibe is the latest Anabelle collection fom Sage and Clare with this patchwork cushion (both further below). While we’ve spent far too much time at home this year – I’ve never seen neighbouring gardens and homes looking so well kept and nurtured. Mr R and I need to find motivation to re-do our veggie patch that we never got around to fixing last year as well as buy some spring/summer herbs for our empty pots.

Image credit: Birdrock Ceramics

I’ve been following Australian interior designer and antiques dealer Tamsin Johnson for a while now who’s married to tailor Patrick Johnson and friends with jeweller Lucy Folk. She has a very sophisticated design sensibility and style and just released her coffee table book ‘Spaces for Living‘ which is now on my list.

Image credit: Sage & Clare

I finished watching The Chair on Netflix with Sandra Oh as the lead during the week – it has reminded me of my voluntary Women of Colour Australia work and the series reflects the changing and diverse university students of the future who wish to see themselves reflected in leadership roles not only in academia, but across the business, sporting and political worlds. I’m proud to work at ANZSOG in this way – there are a number of First Nations people and women of colour on our Board, Alumni Council and executive leadership team.

As a family we’re loving Only Murders in the Building mystery-comedy series on Disney+ featuring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez – it should come with a language warning given the amount of swearing but it’s been highly entertaining and highly recommended viewing. We won’t be bunkered down at home streaming content for much longer – the countdown out of lockdown has now started…


Life goes on

It sure does whether we feel ready for it or not. It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Besides starting a new job in a new organisation, I’ve been busy these past two weekends with extended family events making the most of things before the new school term starts, including a 6km fun run along the main Yarra trail yesterday with the Ivanhoe Harriers. I was the back marker for the handicap race so I’m not exactly setting the world on fire in terms of speed and I hadn’t run in two weeks so I’ve been feeling it today.

So how is the new job going? I’m lucky to have once again landed in a high performing team in marketing communications with a great boss, which makes all the difference as a newbie. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy – it is always challenging starting work in a new organisation, whatever the role, adapting to a new environment with a different culture and people and one which has also gone through a lot of change since the global pandemic. At the moment, I’m just trying to roll with things, be kind to myself and give myself time to adjust to a new normal.

I’m a pretty outgoing person so have enjoyed meeting my new colleagues at the ANZSOG head office in Carlton but I expect to feel a level of discomfort for a while as I get my head around things. Digital technology aside, it’s a much more select and senior alumni cohort of leaders in the public sector (and those aspiring to be) who I will be liaising with including an established Alumni Advisory Council.

Assembly Store cafe in Carlton

My first day involved finding a good cafe with great coffee and I wasn’t disappointed in discovering hole-in-the wall cafe Assembly (pictured above) in Pelham Street before I arrived at the office. No easing into it with one of my first tasks being asked to organise an event in Adelaide the following week and along with now looking after the ANZSOG alumni council as a priority, I will need to develop the alumni strategy with the help of my new manager in tandem with ongoing activities so ‘strategy on the run’.

I haven’t mentioned my Women of Colour Australia volunteer work but glad I developed the content strategy for them while I had the time before starting paid work. Similar to that organisation, the most important thing in my current role is understanding the audience – who they are, what they do, where they’re located etc. and while demographic data helps – it’s more hearts and minds stuff that interests me. At the end of the day, we are all individual human beings with different things that motivate and inspire us and that’s what I’m seeking to understand.

I’ve had a bit of deja vu starting my new job reminding me of when I moved from Marketing and Recruitment to the Alumni and Advancement Office at La Trobe, as we will shortly be moving from our existing site to a brand new building around the corner and I’ll post more about that once the launch is officially announced. It’s always exciting to move into a newly kitted out building and as I will now be working a minimum three days in the office, it’s something to look forward to as it has also been a shock leaving the comfort and convenience of working from home.

It’s been great to see jobs bouncing back across the country although I think younger people will continue to need support. Higher education and other industries like tourism, retail, hospitality and real estate will also need help as the return of international students to Melbourne is delayed. I know a family of allied health workers where one parent has received the Pfizer vaccine and the other Astra Zeneca and they’ve been comparing notes on side effects. For those under 50, it may be a while before vaccinations are rolled out and I hope time brings some greater insights and learnings.

Given the grim news about the global COVID-19 death toll reaching over 3 million people (more than Western Australia’s entire population), it’s felt slightly surreal to drive past our local footy ovals this past weekend seeing players and spectators out in force. We are incredibly lucky in Australia living in our protected little bubble with a recovering economy and roaring real estate market, as much as I don’t think it’s reflective of ‘normal’ times although I guess nothing is truly normal at the moment and won’t be for a while to come.

My solace continues to be my weekly yoga practice as well as pet therapy as a dog owner and I thought you might like this photo of me (above) doing ‘doga’ with Gypsy – she likes to take advantage of my inability to move while practising and my resting pose on my yoga mat last week was no exception – it was like having sandbags placed across my legs! Have a great week especially if you’re a parent with children returning to school for term 2.

A Woman of Colour

Indeed I am and after venting on this very blog about my frustration over lack of diversity in the media for a long time now, I have put my hand up to manage communications and engagement on a voluntary basis for new NFP Women of Colour Australia (WOCA) and be part of the systemic change needed to ensure our diverse society is represented in all spheres of life – political, economic, social and cultural – and at the highest levels.

There is nothing quite like a moment whose time has come and after being endorsed by La Trobe alumna and cross-cultural consultant (and Ambassador) Tasneem Chopra OAM (who I have previously worked with), I was appointed by WOCA founder Brenda Gaddi a few weeks ago after presenting to her Board and also asked to join WOCA as a non-executive Director (more on the operational side) over the next 12 months in its inaugural year. Needless to say, I am feeling the weight of responsibility as well as incredibly humbled. Most of the other women of colour involved have many titles and letters after their name like PhD or MBA or work as CEOs or at C-suite level. I have my work cut out for me now trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together and the way forward.

I’m a big subscriber to ‘nothing about us without us’ in terms of representation of the cohort you’re working with and it was great to see the ABC take this into account with their Diversity and Inclusion Commissioning Guidelines for screen content – things have changed and I’ve noticed advertisements on free-to-air commercial TV have used more diverse people in the last 5 years to reflect, even if not at a program level (Australian soapies and Boards -you are still very white).

All images above by Rod Ceballos Photography

Inspiring too to read about the amazing rise of Australian Chinese blogger turned Vogue China editor-in-chief Margaret Zhang at the ripe old age of 27! She has set the bar high with her other achievements as a classically trained ballet dancer and pianist who scored 99.85 for her HSC and graduated from the University of Sydney in commerce/law. WOCA founder Brenda Gaddi has a background in blogging and previously met Margaret Zhang, which she was telling me about via Google Meet on Friday. It is a small world.

Women of Colour logo (and digitised image of Brenda Gaddi’s mum Electa)

On the paid job front, I’ve been put forward by recruiters for a number of temporary communications roles in education and local government so we’ll see what happens as it would be good to contract in the interim while I continue to job hunt. I would love to find a permanent professional home after working close to 5 years on fixed term contract – it’s difficult to plan when you live year by year without certainty. Although interesting too has been the decision by some of my high flying friends in the corporate sector to resign from their permanent jobs this year (without jobs to go to) on the back of COVID-19 and other burnout – it has taken its toll. This has been a time of great reckoning and transition for many people and the journey you go on as an individual without a job is just as fascinating as where you end up landing.

On a final note, I feel a bit narcissistic but thought I’d post some of the beautiful photographs Rod Ceballos took at my photo shoot the other week. I’ve reached an age where I don’t like having my photo taken or looking at the end result but I think he’s done a great job in capturing who I am as well as making me feel incredibly comfortable during the process – it is a real skill and talent. Thank you Rod – I can see why Banyule Council use you as their go-to photographer!