How long have you been with UNE?
So much has happened since I started that it only seems like a year but it’s already been over 3 years – 3.25 to be exact. I moved from the Sunshine Coast in March 2008 after a few years working in various IT roles – the last being with the Australian Genome Research Facility as an analyst web programmer.
Having decided that the New England Region was the place we wanted to raise our family, I waited patiently for a suitable opportunity to arise when a year later; my present role was advertised at UNE.
Why did you choose your current career path?
I spent 13 years working with the Commonwealth government doing something that I hated and was totally demoralised when I left to start a family. So I figured if I have to work for someone else I may as well do something that I enjoy. It took a while but I went from being a mother, to running my own nutrition business, to working in various temp jobs before finally breaking into IT. I started studying programming part-time in 2000 and turned a long-time hobby in computers into what I do now.
The systems team has undergone radical changes since the time I started and has shrunk considerably in size and my role has grown to accommodate this.
What do you like most about your role?
As Systems/Business Analyst I assist the Systems Project Manager with maintaining the Human Resources Management Information System, Alesco which incorporates the Web Kiosk. A large part of my job involves extracting data and producing reports for use by managers and other HR staff. This job has a huge amount of variety and autonomy and there have been lots of challenges especially with urgent requests for information but this is balanced by the potential to make improvements and I doubt I will ever get bored. I am able to fit in some web development, oracle programming, create and maintain existing reports, as well as look after the system security, troubleshoot bugs, add new functionality to the system (including Web Kiosk) and lots more.
What I like is I can combine my skills in IT with my experience in administration to give me a better understanding of the needs of the end user and their frustrations encountered in using the system. I enjoy looking for better ways to use the system to make life easier for the user as well as improve processes. And best of all I get to work with my mates. Here at UNE I work with some incredibly talented and dedicated people and enjoy a camaraderie that I haven’t experienced for many years. The morning teas aren’t bad either!
Of your contributions to or achievements at UNE, what are you most proud of?
I’m still working on that one! I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to have accomplished anything worth mentioning but I have gained the respect of my peers and can go home to my family each night knowing I’ve done a pretty good job so I guess that’s enough for now.
What are you currently working on?
A number of ongoing projects which will soon be released and will increase the functionality of Alesco and Web Kiosk. This includes eRecruitment (an online recruitment tool) a major Clevel Restructure, the Budgets and Statistics modules with the assistance of ITD and an OH&S module which is currently in the testing phase.
For some time now I’ve been anxiously trying to attack a growing list of reports, many of which I aim to automate and turn into more accessible information – some of these will make their way into Web Kiosk so keep an eye out for them. My main goal is to produce nice looking, web-based interactive reports that will allow management to quickly and easily find the information they need. Other users will also find these useful in assisting their managers as office administrators.
What is your favourite place in the world and why?
Honestly, I can’t think of any one place that stands out as my favourite. I love the country life so Armidale and the surrounds fit nicely into that. I would love to visit Virginia City in Nevada, USA just because my favourite show Bonanza was based in that town.
But if I was hard pressed to pick one place, I would have to say that one of my cherished memories is that of one late balmy afternoon in summer, 3000 ft up in a small aircraft with a backdrop of the sun setting slowly over the ocean. I was free from all the worries of the world far below me and it was an incredibly peaceful place to be.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
A dear friend passed on a gem that she found in a fortune cookie and I carried it with me for years. The simple message was something like “no matter how tough things get, never give up”. I’ve found that no matter how long it takes (and believe me it sometimes takes years) that if you really, truly, want something bad enough, it will happen as long as you don’t give up. I’m still waiting for the lotto thing to kick in – that might just need a bit more time, maybe.
What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn’t know?
In my youth, I used to compete in aerobatics and won my second national competition flying a 150hp Decathlon. It was only the Intermediate level but it was a sweet victory since I competed against a bunch of old hands who had been entering for years (they were all bragging before the comp) and flew a more powerful Pitts S1. I scooped the pool and came home with all 3 medals so was very pleased with that.