Balance between career and kids
Published: Wednesday 4th November 2015
ACU Manager of Exchange and Study Abroad, Amy Ryan, has been undertaking the Emerging Leaders and Managers Program (eLAMP) and says it has sharpened her skills and given her practical techniques for improving engagement with her staff.
“I’m enjoying the eLAMP program as there’s a lot of practical information and it is clear how it can be incorporated into your day-to-day work. It takes a holistic approach to learning, therefore giving you the big picture stuff along with a better understanding of how your role contributes to the organisation. For instance, I found the most recent module really interesting - it explored strategy development and the ways in which you implement strategy. It gives you an idea of what type of structure is really going to be most effective at that level.”
Amy also participated in the recent pilot of a Leadership and Accountability of the Supervisor program which ACU has developed in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She says the effort that ACU puts into designing professional development opportunities for staff is positive and motivating in itself.
“In this pilot, we talked about governance and the structure of ACU, among other things, but this area in particular I found interesting and quite useful. My career plan is to be with this institution for as long as I can be, moving forward in my professional development while being loyal to the one employer. I’m a part of ACU and I like to know how the operations are run and structured, and to see what other areas of the University do. Knowing those little bits and pieces helps me better communicate my role and how I fit within the institution. I think it also helps to not feel like you’re working in silos and enables us see how we all fit into the bigger picture.”
Currently pregnant with her second child, Amy says she has felt well supported all-round with both her career development and with her work/life balance. Amy said she felt the support available at ACU has created a better environment for her than what she had in her first pregnancy when she was with a different employer.
While supportive structures were in place for her during her first pregnancy, she says the supportive environment at ACU has made all the difference in handling maternity arrangements for her current pregnancy.
“You feel that the environment is different at ACU, it is much more open, family-friendly, warm and welcoming. The news that you are adding to your family and doing these things is well received.” Amy said.
“There can be a certain trepidation around [announcing a pregnancy at work] and fear about how it is going to be perceived - that people will think ‘oh it’s not going to be good for the job.’ In my experience at ACU, I didn’t feel like that was the case at all - and that in itself is very important.”
“I don’t necessarily work 9-to-5 every day, some days I will come in earlier and leave earlier because of my home arrangements – I drop my daughter off to her school a few days a week. In my role, I also travel overseas, so there were going to be some challenges around my leaving for extended periods of time and working that in with home commitments. ACU and my own manager have been really flexible about how I can manage that, where it actually meets the needs of the operation and my needs for home life. I feel enormous gratitude that because of the environment and the structures that have been put in place, I’m able to have a healthy work/life balance.”
“Because of all this, I love coming to work. You always want to find a job where you wake up and enjoy going to, and that’s what I live every day!”