On this episode of Newy Tech People I speak with Siobhan Curran, Senior Manager for I2N.
We discuss everything innovation in the Newcastle tech ecosystem. It is interesting to hear her insights into where we have come from and the journey ahead.
I hope you enjoy the episode.
Here you can source all the things we have talked about in the podcast whether that be books, events, meet-up groups and what’s new in the newcastle tech scene.
Episode 33 of new tech people today we have one current manager item and welcome thank you for having me for those that don’t know you give us a quick overview of who are you and what’s your current role okay so I work at the University of Newcastle the area I work in is in the research and innovation division so we have research and people doing amazing stuff in that space and then we also have another area of that division which is focused on innovation so that’s how do we take research discoveries and provide real-world impact and one of the ways we can do that is by spinning out the intellectual property that’s generated from those research discoveries and creating startups or spin outs and the other area that we can also help with is with students and alumni as well as the wider community so we’re not focused specifically on people who only have an affiliation with the University anyone can participate within our programs to help them realize any ideas that they might have around a business so validation of the business idea generating you know problem solution fits I’ve seen a problem and I think I’ve got an idea that might help it is there does it actually work and then if they can figure that out that it does then is their product market fit so either enough customers out there that would actually justify a business model that’s going to generate me enough money so that I can make a living out of it and then grow the company all the way through to scallops so we service all of those we what we call the innovators the research teams and then entrepreneurs everybody else to help build up their Enterprise skill development start up their companies and help them to go scale so we do that through three innovation hubs and we have one at Hunter Street and then another one off at mussel Brook and one a twin town yeah soon to have a fourth one come online in early 2021 at honeysuckle so we have the infrastructure the spaces the co-working spaces and teaching spaces and then also the programs to help all of those people realize their dreams yeah yeah so do I manage that the this small team that runs those hubs and how long it has item being about so we kicked off in 2016 at the other 2016 when we opened up the Hunter Street hub yeah so the idea was that we would build this interim hub that where we could test all the assumptions we had around how the hull was gonna operate so how proper the new one I don’t plan to fill out honeysuckle let’s do a little MVP a little Minimum Viable products like a startup and test all the assumptions we had about what we thought them the market needed and wanted what services were required and we’ve learned a lot being able to do that and it’s really helped inform the design and the programs that we need to get up online and running when the new hub opens in 2021 and the other interesting thing is that the that the innovation hubs actually work very differently from each other so the initial assumption was that will we test and validate programming at Hunter Street and then we just like cookie cutter that into Williamtown and mussel Brook but even within a regional ecosystem like a hunter each area of the region works very differently and has completely different needs density connectivity within the ecosystem and so each of those hubs actually works differently to each other as well so we deliver some entrepreneurship programming at Williamtown and co-working space for entrepreneurs who are more affiliated with defense and aerospace given the proximity to XRF face and the defence Prime’s up there and then but we also have a lot of government and industry partners who kind of use it as like the Switzerland so you don’t have to go on base but if you don’t want to have meetings at one of the primes you can have them at our hub instead and everyone can kind of come to this mutual territory to be able to have their meetings and they’re planning days and that kind of thing with government or representative from the University of Newcastle video and research partnerships and then the hub upper muscle Brook we deliver a series of programs up there called business boot camp so there aren’t a whole bunch of entrepreneurs that are knocking on our door to commence startups in muscle Brook it’s a pretty small town and why would you start a startup and take all the risk that’s associated with that if you drive a truck in the mines for a hundred KS so what we do up there is what we call business boot camps and they’re a series of workshops and we work with SMEs who are kind of relying predominantly on the mines and the employees of the mines to have a have a business because that might be a welding company for example now their main client is the mines so we get them to look at their business model and understand whether or not there might be opportunities for them to expand into other markets so that should Armani downturn happen that they’ve got opportunities available to them sort of you know that’s great obviously that they can explore mats and then obviously if they won’t and homeless treat your friend again well it’s purely entrepreneurship for high growth potential startups so we do have a couple of scallops in there as well so companies that have one company called cloud since so they’re an international SAS company that develops plug-ins for Salesforce and their R&D teams that they headquarters are in Croatia they have offices in London the US Sydney and Melbourne but I decided to open up their iron day for a pack in Newcastle because they want to be able to take advantage of the talent coming out of the University of Newcastle so they’ve been able to employ I’ll take my waking graded learning students and then also employ graduates as well as part of that kind of it’s a good process to be able to do work integrated learning it’s almost like a little internship limited run process see who the who the really skilled students are and then offer them a position when that’s a perfect test market I think you know outside of that what I’ve seen the tech market as well as the companies that do take on those graduates or that work integrated learning and then you’ve got you’ve got a perfect opportunity to test them out see what they like see who best integrates with new team and hey if that’s not your best and most sensible hire I don’t know what it is right like I can only tell so much over an interview or I think of a save a actually saving the work and doing the Codel or whatever it is is yeah that’s perfect and hopefully we do see more of that more bigger international companies having either little hubs or bases here and take advantage of that I know a lot of companies are you know have that conversation on how do we partner with university and that graduate program I think everyone wants hey I’ll take all the best developers for Newcastle University but than him perfectly works that way it’s good for the graduates to have options no I totally so new ish vice-chancellor Alex Olinsky he’s quite keen on seeing all students undertake work integrated learning know what degree they’re doing and so that provides a huge opportunity for businesses likely to be able to engage with the university that way yeah it’s a perfect idea that’s perfect and our times obviously a big part of that sort of innovation ecosystem we’re trying to be able to hear I mean we try to do our little part with the podcast here in the more you know tech community but tech community obviously a part of that innovation ecosystem and startup scene as well so I think it’s it’s good just to see more players and somebody as big as the University investing so much in that that ecosystem run yeah I mean we’ve got a huge talent pool which our students in our armed nie and you know vast majority of the students live within the Hunter region who attend the University they’re often first in family they’ve come through enabling programs they’ve got a real commitment to you know an affiliation with the University of Newcastle and you know when it’s our job to not only you know equip them with the domain expertise that they get through studying their degree but also providing them with opportunities to be able to develop those Enterprise skills and those soft skills that are obviously useful if you want to start your own a company but also within you know a knowledge base business you need to understand how a business works and what value you as an employee can add to that company by coming up with new ideas and new concepts and working in teams on problems that you don’t have all the answers for in really short timeframes and being able to deliver it confidently as an option to your boss you know that is what employees love right so if we can help the art we can help develop out those Enterprise skills for both what we call entrepreneurs who are within companies and also entrepreneurs people who are starting their own companies that’s exactly what we’re setting out to do yeah there’s a big opportunity you mentioned before the grouse I obviously the grouse was the big hub on what sort of timeframe do we have there how big are we looking at for it so on a street hub we’ve got 32 desks so we’ve got about three desks free at the moment the new hub will have about a hundred and twenty desks so it’s combined with the school of creative industries so there we’ve got four floors and the way we’ve kind of designed the building is following the journey of an innovator or an entrepreneur so the ground floor is very much over to the community it’s very much the what we call the first stage which is all about exploration so I’ve got an ID but I don’t really know what I’m doing so we have an innovation concierge desks if you’ve got any questions about how you engage with the university how do you engage with the programs where do I need to go to get help that’s where you go there’s desk space for people who are either working on our stage programming which we call entrepreneurship 101 students that might be studying Bachelor of innovation and entrepreneurship or doing a double major students researchers that might be participating within on prime they can work from that ground floor at no cost that’s where we’ll probably end up delivering a lot of our venture mentor service mentoring meetings as well entrepreneurs there’ll be a makerspace so prototype development can happen and a big event space as well and we’ve got end of ride facilities because we’re relying very much on you know active transportation to get in and out of the city along with light rail line and then the next level after is school of creative industries so they’ve got an animation lab and a black box to do in that space which hopefully our staffs will be able to utilize too for stuff like developing that there are marketing like podcasts and green-screen their own you know marketing digital marketing that they want to generate and then the next floor up is teaching and learning space so it’s for us to be able to deliver our pre accelerator and accelerator program I mean so much more cohort based programming because we find that new businesses will survive longer if they have a team a founding team yeah as opposed to an solo entrepreneur and so on but it could obviously work really well as sole proprietors and you can work well in tech companies as well but the research definitely suggests that they work much better and survive longer if they have a good sign interdisciplinary team working on the founding team and then and then we have the top floor which is the innovation hub proper so that where all of the co-working space office space meeting rooms boardroom big kitchen and sort of open plan meeting spaces and be contained and so that will sort of be more for the accelerator teams 50 people participating within the accelerator program as well as people who are then incubating after they’ve been through the accelerator program as well so as long as they keep achieving their milestones that they’re setting for the company they can continue staying there until they get too big for the space and hopefully move somewhere locally around the corner or somewhere else within that within the city so that we can kind of keep that innovation ecosystem growing and developing almost as well if you’ve had success going through that and there’s more time coming in you’d be mad not to yeah you know there’s this really good sort of culture of what they call entrepreneurship recycling so even if you’re not successful going through the pre accelerator program like you don’t have product market fit and that’s move right because you figure that out really early without spending a whole lot of money developing out the time effort they’ve got the prototype or whatever or the full-on product and then launch it and then find no one likes it so if you can figure that out you Europe you’re a really valuable mentor for people who are really at the beginning a t101 stage you know and and being able to provide your expertise on the things that went wrong so that you can help and we have a really good culture of that in Newcastle I think entrepreneurship ecosystems generally have a really good culture of people just wanting to give back and and and help you know the new people coming through so they don’t make the same mistakes potentially also really good employees for other people like not everybody’s a number one right I know everybody’s a founder somebody could be a great founding member but a part of a team or somebodies a great number 7 employee yet completely and hate that my I’ve gone through that realize hey this is not for me I tried it it was a stressful experience yeah a bunch of time effort I’d rather I still like that innovation I still like a startup time for a high-growth company to I feel maybe I can join a company who’s a couple years in who has got a bit of traction hmm and then I think employees for that type of thing you know and even like working in that kind of an environment at really that early stage is completely different to going and working for an established company like ni be different so you’re still wearing a lot of different hats as this point number seven as you would be almost working with a founder yeah we’ve actually got a program we’re developing for our students before they go to do work integrated learning with a start-up yeah where they come and listen to some tech founders talk about what it’s like as a founder of a company in those first few years and all of the challenges they’ve got ahead all the competing demands that they’ve got and what it’s what their expectations are of students coming in is working degraded learning students that you’re not gonna get shadowed you’re not gonna get your own desk and like you know have the project there and someone constantly holding your hand there’s you’ve got to show these soft skills and this initiative to be able to you know solve a problem without knowing all the facts and feel like you’re confident enough that you can deliver it as an option to the boss all right and it’s it’s like the perfect environment for working around and learning because you’re seeing firsthand all the different pressures and all of the different although all the balls that the founders having to juggle in one like they’re sitting opposite you right so yeah on the real challenges right and you could be writing the first line of code for that you know the code for the product that that makes the the minimum viable product or the prototype can’t get out into the market yeah you know sometimes that co still sitting there like years later and you’re you as a working a greater learning student could have been the one that helped build that code so it’s pretty pretty cool experience everything good opportunities I have this phenomenal ones that’s often running and Nancy said it’s good to work had the MVP out there yeah and you know testing that what works what doesn’t so and it goes that for the false wait a long way down the track in and knowing exactly what will and won’t work yeah definitely you know we did we we sort of see that having up having a pipeline of people to be able to feed into the innovation hub and fill those desks has been really critical so you know it’s it’s it’s easy to think that you could just do you know like a tack on a couple of innovation courses within a exist degree and and think that that’s gonna provide your pipeline but you know we’ve got a lot of people already innovating or people who have ideas or they’ve come from bhp and they’re tinkering in their backyard and they’ve got some really amazing knowledge and domain expertise they just don’t have the opportunity yet to express it and the i2n really does give them the opportunity to be able to play around with the concepts and the ideas that they’ve got but agree there’s a lot of extremely smart people in our big corporates around Newcastle your ideas home plenty of skills that I mean why don’t want to be a founder but can lend their expertise to something yeah 100% so we just started on a program called venture mentor service and it’s based on an MIT model of mentoring where the venture actually gets up to four people on there in their meetings with them so they’re either domain expertise experts in terms of particular tech sector sector or technology or they’re a business expert in I don’t worry HR it might be accounting finance and depending on what your needs are as founder at that particular stage you’re at in the building of the company your team can be curated with the skill sets that you require to help you overcome those barriers that you’ve got so you take team kind of changes a lot as long as you with the programs right yeah so we’ve just launched a pilot of that last month and after that part’s over in March next g19 2020 couple they were saying 2020 already then we’ll scale out the program and anyone who’s participated in I – in programs or as a alumni or student of the university can participate in venture mentor service or BMS yeah right yeah and so we’re calling on you know in in our pilot pool of mentors we’ve got you know amazing people from corporates volunteering their time to help out these entrepreneurs which is awesome okay I did find that about Anika so I find that people are willing to give their time yeah one percent there’s definitely still when it’s small enough to still have that community feel whilst big enough to have that and yes a decent massive volume there of people so that’s only growing – which is exciting but you’re right you know I’m from Sydney original and met an overcast Rhian and we would come up here frequently you know to visit family and friends what-have-you and I was always the one like we should move to Newcastle it’s awesome yeah and you know and and we eventually did and that was like nine years ago now but I’ve never had more faith in just what a great city it is it’s not even a matter of potential like it already keeps so many goals it’s not funny so the you know to be able to do more of that and see that grow even more is super exciting yeah that’s payment significant great over for the past five years something when you was when you first me let me work with reunion cause I’ve had a bit as well mm-hmm yeah so my backgrounds marketing and I used to work in publications down in Sydney magazine publications and then the GFC hit and there was no advertising dollars getting spend and that meant that marketing budgets shrunk that you had to produce four times more sales on half the budget and you could just see the writing on the wall with digital you know I think the best asset at that time was folk calm you know that was and that was really at that point they hadn’t really figured out how to monetize it and they were looking at you know but the big engagement was massive because they had a you know the comments fade that’s just like had a life of its own and yes I see the writing was on the wall there and our kids were about to start school soon and it was like we had a set roots down in Sydney or we set them down in Newcastle and I was always coming for Newcastle so we made the move and then I was freelancing for quite a while which was awesome because it really enabled me to build a network of people locally and one of the connections first connections I made was Mannie Jackson at bringing you customer who was general manager there at the time and I I had been a fan of Renu since the day like if it started before I moved to Newcastle but I already knew about it then too and was just thought the model was fabulous and so I was I was so excited to be able to work for them and doing their marketing communications but also developing some of the programs for the the creatives that were trying to work out how they monetized their yeah you know whatever it was that they were making in the spaces and so we developed a whole series of programs to help them with business development and so you see how these empty spaces with creative projects worked really well and that model was replicated all around the world you can I get we still kind of need it the job’s not done yet yeah you know there’s still lots of empty shops while we transition the CBD but being able to translate more what I did in that space to like deep tech yeah and high to high tech growth the principles really very very similar yeah it’s just using a different type of skill set really yeah why do you mention there I think when you started you came out here so freelance you build a network wrap and that’s obviously led to success in that role and you’re all now from a networking perspective which I think a lot of people could do better I think it’s invaluable to anyone doesn’t matter where you’re at if you had to give advice to people around networking obviously it’s wrong Network yourself but hey somebody’s inside already here and needs to build their network but it’s new to the area and wants to be able to network how would you how would you advise people to sort of go about building in that work Jordan just don’t be afraid to join in there’s a lot you know there’s I think when I came here Twitter was still fun like yeah you could have conversations on Twitter with people now it’s pretty crazy but when on yours movies and you custody I started following a whole bunch of people and Twitter so one of them was like Carol Duncan he used to do the lunchtime show on ABC 2 or 33 and a few other people Gordon Whitehead who now it’s the business center that was done once my mornings for a while there yes yeah and so daily days there was a group called Newcastle coffee mornings and Friday morning you’d go at 7:30 and made it a cafe in town and it was just this Twitter gang of people who are interested in kind of tech and how this stuff connected you so I just started going on to those when I first moved up and having conversations with people on Twitter and and then I actually once I kind of got the lay of the land a little bit instead of started meeting all these people I was like like this Newcastle I love it I love that they’re really bad at telling people how good they are because it’s always such a pleasant surprise you’re always constantly finding like these nuggets of gold in in the region and I’m not talking about tech startups necessarily like research is doing cool stuff small business operators developing just really great product that’s locally made just you know thought leaders it’s pretty amazing and so I was like people need to know about how good the thought leadership is here and so at that time and again it was just purely kind of like you with the podcast it was a marketing tool for me was to how do I get people out there knowing who I am and what my skill set is which was marketing and event management and program development and so I got a license for TEDx and did the first TEDx for Newcastle and that was phenomenal so it was a full day of talks from a variety of different people including Marcus West breeze during at Newcastle if I wasn’t working for at that point but that’s how I ended up getting a job there was yeah one of the talks which was from dr. Peter saw who works at the John Hunter Hospital as a senior intensivist he was talking about how important it is to talk about dying to prepare for people’s death and it actually ended up getting chosen to go on to ted.com so I think it’s like less than 2% of TEDx talks get chosen to go on ted.com so it’s been viewed over a million times now and it’s like here’s this doctor working in Australia’s latest Regional Hospital he’s doing some really cool stuff to help change culture and perception around talking around this really important issue of death and and what what do we do how do we plan for that and he’s like got this international audience now from this digital tech platform that you know five years before that never even existed yeah so so that was really Pat like I you know I just knew all of that network effect was so powerful and that was just going back to my days working in in in media and PR and fashion and and magazines but just how do you how do you apply that to any opportunity that’s around you and it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re you know an employee you’re happy being an employee and you’re happy at a particular level within a company you still need to know how to be able to join the dots because it’s gonna impress you know other people within the company even if it’s not something you wanted to do to grow your own advantage you just never know when someone know the right thing and also if you’re not moving forward you sort of going backward as well right like even if you are happy about the level you’re at you still got to be improving otherwise people do come up and they’ll take those opportunity can move backward quite quickly right yeah that continual progression and if that’s hey just meeting more people and gathering new ideas of learning from new people yeah it’s a lot of sense yeah yes I think um you know being able to help help people out yeah you know you don’t know where it’s gonna let you go no obligation to like the only obligation you’ve got is to make the connection and then let and see and let those people yeah take advantage of it or not yeah you’ve got nothing to lose by doing that right but there’s so much opportunity to be gained and even if it doesn’t work out that time like you know just I’m just never deterred from like constantly and trying people or or whatever I could you just don’t know where it’s gonna lead and as you say you Newcastle is small enough to feel like you can be connected but big enough that you’re always doing like meeting people all the time and learning new things and on the flip side of that it must be as challenge for us in Newcastle do you think at the moment whether it be the innovation scene or the innovation same from from what the work that you’re doing that’s our biggest challenge and you guys so do you think in Newcastle specifically it’s probably risk capital it’s a real challenge particularly if you’re working in deep tech startups where you are building out like you’ve got to do a lot of reefs are indie or build out a product that’s investment heavy yeah being able to get access to capital to be able to do that it’s really challenging particularly an original context where we don’t have a density of angel investors or VCS so there’s no very safe offices in Newcastle ah and it’s probably only about you know 12 in Cinci yeah and so the beauty of it is that we already two hours down the road right so to get so we do have that advantage if you think of other places like Amedeo or God or dub oh no fun my challenge again we’re really blessed in that in that way so we can’t complain absolutely cannot complain and but the challenge is then when you step outside of New Castle and you go to you know muscle broken singleton and that’s it’s it’s a completely different story even Maitland it’s just a completely different story to what we experience here with in Newcastle but yeah I think if there’s one area that we that would be great to develop more is people’s understanding of angel investing and as an opportunity for them to be able to generate revenue for themselves yeah I think because of the success people have had in property in other areas there’s still an inclination to totally to go down the route you know and you’ve had success with in the past tech investing is you know we’re in a different spot here in Newcastle I’d even Australia compared to definitely in the US or once a year this well right where it’s people more inclined to take that maybe higher risk or invest in tech startups or hi great tech companies as opposed to people have seen as safe in the past yeah but I guess that’s the beauty of angel investing right is that you’re in a consortium so you’re relying on the knowledge base of all of the angel investors in the consortium to help you make a decision about whether it’s a good investment or not and then it just becomes a matter of experience so you don’t have to know how to code to understand it the tech startup yes is good or not it’s really understanding what what’s the opportunity what’s the value creation that that company is providing to a market how big is the market if you can if if you can get that information it’s it’s so it’s just it’s just a process that you can apply to any investment or potential investment that comes your way and it’s just a learned skill but it doesn’t take a lot to learn it really and it’s kind of a safety in numbers game so it’s not like buying a house where you’re betting that the property cycle is going to increase in that particular area on that petition straight and you’re investing you whatever it is you 200k your 500k to do that you can give us 20k ten times over yeah in ten different startups and one or two of them hopefully will return the dividends for you yeah yeah I it’s just I think it’s a mentality it’s a culture shift yeah and you know I guess there goes to your point like what is the challenge that we’ve got it’s it’s culturally we’re just not and it’s not even in something that’s you know just prone to Newcastle it’s in a lot of regional locations and even within CBDs like major capital cities it’s just the culture of fear of failure in Australia is huge you know you’re really punished for failing in Australia particularly if you fail in a company and you go bankrupt and you you owe that debt and I’m so sorry there’s this whole poppy syndrome as well of the people who do have success then get you know chopped down yeah so it’s on boat interact yeah and then back for the other part you even made mentioned before with people of myself Brooklyn you’ve got an opportunity to drive a truck and earn six figures I know you know relatively safe and comfortable job mm-hmm or you could take a risk in business on an something whatever a much lesser chance of success Mumbai right upside so it’s I think he writes a mentality thing as well yeah and I think that we we’ve got a lot of weight to do as a country in terms of educating people at a primary school age about enterprise as a skill it’s not it’s something that needs to be taught and you need to be exposed to at a young age so that you kind of like develop a not a resistance to well yeah like a resistance to being risk averse you know you’re comfortable with risk and failure because you’ve done a few little projects in primary school where you it’s not the like it’s the lemonade stand really but you’re just getting every kid to do the lemonade stand and understand how that works and how you market and you know deliver a product that adds extra value and then doing that through to secondary school and making sure it’s pulse rate component of you know higher education both within tech you know lights don’t you developing all these trades right and the chances are most of them many of them will end up starting their own businesses based out of the trade that they’re developing so and it’s and it’s trying to think ok well yeah I’m a plumber and I’m gonna start a plumbing company I might hire a couple of apprentices but why aren’t we thinking I’m gonna start a company as a plumber I’m gonna start off with a couple of apprentices and then in second year I’m gonna get another you know qualified tradesman and in third you’re gonna get two more and I’m gonna expand it to this market and I’m gonna specialize in this particular area of plumbing whatever it might be right but that that mindset we just that growth mindset we don’t you know develop that at all so that I think that’s a huge area not just for the Newcastle but it’s certainly an area that we could have a competitive advantage we if we did have primary schools in high schools universities working together to be able to develop those skills together as a region well sounds like the university especially theorized Mojave is providing educational opportunities for people to become an educated in and around that space right hmm yeah education is one part of that puzzle and I think you feel free cannot lease now that part it’s you know that’s a ticking the right box yeah definitely really doesn’t take it all the boxes as far as Isis steps in the right direction yeah and so without very first the early stage program that we offer entrepreneurship 101 or a 101 that is it’s just the fundamentals of enterprise skill development essentially like what’s a value proposition what is a business model canvas how do i entity customers to understand there might like where their thinking and the jobs that they’ve got to do the pains are experiencing doing those jobs what product oil or solution do i need to develop to help address those have bees that market all that kind of just basic staff you just watch the videos and and and not have a particular idea in mind that you apply it to but when you do have an idea then you can apply those principles just over and over and over again and anyone can do that program right so you could be in your seven you got a lemonade stand with a difference you could do that program and and then you’ve got access to it forever as long as the programs up online you got access to it forever and that was the idea of you know delivering a program that was on that we could get those enterprise skills principals in as in the hands of as many people as possible yeah develop that kind of pipeline mmm the pipelines that’s a big part of it right it’s just about continuing the search on that and have more and more people come through that and on the flip side I feel I might take back in and it becomes it straight to a cycle yeah I’ll be perfect and especially when we’re having more successes I think that’s a participation the sort of innovation space or the startup or scale-up space now where you haven’t seen some success stories coming out of New Castle I think people feed off the back of that hey it can be done here hey there are some you know companies doing closing really significant rounds now and having successes which drives more successes and some people become mentors for other people I know Justin’s done really well of camp for fire you know starting to feed backyards a mentor to other people coming through and you start to start to see that you continues to build that build the ecosystem oh yeah there’s the Bolar effect it’s definitely what you’ve described which is based in Boulder Colorado so you know a rural area not Silicon Valley not Boston but has developed like he’s punching above its weight significantly and it is that culture of that entrepreneurship recycling and and that’s what we want to develop here as well and luckily Novica strands are just really awesome people that like to have a chat and like to be able to help out anyway I think that’s just the Ozzy culture right yeah and so it’s easy for us to do obviously I do tackle this part in our podcast most times when it comes to the education where do you get to you in a bed a little bit differently as well because you’ve got an MBA without the bachelor’s degree right gone for the NBA hmm how does that contributed whoa-oa so it’s what was your experience like doing an MBA fantastic yeah phenomenal so I am came from a family where nobody went to university it was leave school get a job on-the-job experience is the best kind of experience both my parents were financial administrators schools and self-taught to get themselves into those positions so they were kind of like we did pretty well about any so I guess you could like though supportive if you wanted to go to university but it wasn’t like they were buying me the you out guide and gently nudging me to open days or anything like that there was just no expectation at all and and when I was at school I wanted to get into hospitality I love helping people and so I wanted to get into a spirit talent and I want to be a concierge at a hotel so I went deep in beverage management at TAFE dropped out of that because I got a job offer to be on a chef’s apprenticeship so I was doing dishwashing at a restaurant at night at night while I was doing the finger beverage course at TAFE did the chef’s apprenticeship for a while which I loved but soon realized I was never going down to social life and I was working double shifts and night shifts and things like that and so I actually got really bad dermatitis from my hands being wet all the time and exposed and so I went and saw a nutritionist and it it just completely changed my I forgot rid of the dermatitis so that really interests I got really interested in nutrition started a diploma in nutrition then got completely diverted and got a job or I was studying nutrition in fashion got really interested in public relations worked on Donahey magazine food thinking one day maybe I’ll be the nutrition like recipe writer yeah which she was like no that’s not our bag baggies you know cakes and you know beautiful bad indulgent but great-looking food now funnily enough she has her own magazines purely for I think I was just ahead of the time for health and wellness yeah so I just never considered undergraduate study ever even after I finished the Diploma there was an option to go on to do more study in nutrition but um when I started working at the University of Newcastle about five years ago obviously I mean in that kind of an environment hearing really inspirational stories from people who have just found their niche and they’re they’re killing her they’re making real world impact with you know the area that they’ve decided to focus on and I was always very envious of people that were able to know exactly what they wanted to do like who are these people like in high school may know I don’t want to be a doctor and they get straight in there and you know like I was never one of those people I could really never figure out what I was gonna do and so you know I luckily had some really amazing colleagues who really lunged me in the direction of just a regret so at first I thought I was gonna have to do a bachelor’s first a Bachelor of business or marketing and then I found out that all my work experience that I’d done you know that over the previous 15 years was enough to get me into post-grad yeah so I did a grad cert in marketing first and the marketing actually the subjects I was like I felt like I knew it already so I was like maybe I should do something a little bit different so rather than do a masters of marketing I’ll do the MBA instead so I can learn some new aspects of business management that are probably not as I favor and as I’m glad I did that because it was a really well-rounded you know really good electives you could choose from yeah so it was slot it was it was not a slog I loved her but juggling that with a full-time job and family commitments is pretty challenging so my husband is amazing and now I don’t know what to do with all my spare time because I’m finished I’ve heard that about MBA riots pretty big community if you are he’s got a family and you go full-time job and commitments but I then on the flip side for many people like yourself said extremely positive experience really happy I did it yeah then hear too many people at the end of having done and be I’m disappointed I did that by any means ya know it was positive positive outlook a lot of acknowledgment of the hard work but but yet at far apart and it’s not so much about that what you learn in there it’s that people that you meet and because you constantly like the University of Newcastle is the one uni in town where I Institute within the region it’s where a lot of working professionals you know to get there higher ed so you’re working with people who you’re probably gonna like I’ve had meetings now as a result of my interactions with them in the NBA on a professional level but partnerships that way yeah makes it really valuable okay I agree I suppose an education is a part to where you get to then as you say I think if you’ve jumped around careers not too dissimilar to myself and other people it’s just you don’t know where that he’s going to where you wind up right yeah that’s just those different life experiences bringing into play around today there isn’t one way to do it right I definitely not that’s all about you for Saigon you’ve done some courses through general assembly as well in the past yeah that was a long time what feels like a long time ago but it actually wasn’t that long ago I think it was business kind of ruin what it was I was around business digital growth yeah yeah what was your experience doing it’s very an institute like that yeah it was great I mean I was living in Sydney at the time so convenient for me to get to general assembly at that time and yeah it just fills some gaps it was a short course and it just had some gaps in some knowledge I was missing around social media marketing and so at that time it was when I did that it was it was pretty net like yeah there was a lot to figure out you know Facebook was change it like was developing that business model and changing the way it did it really rapidly and yeah that course definitely provided I’ll field a lot of those gaps where I was just like I think this is how I work so I think this is what I should be doing and it’s like I get ya know I’m on the right thing I yeah I think those sort of providers yeah fill a nice lemon a chef for that short short cause Alice Gill and then move on definitely I think it’s a really good opportunity for them to still be a part of that you know greater educational oh absolutely and you know technology is changing things so rapidly that it’s those kinds of little micro credential programs that you can do and then like the online offering now is just phenomenal oh well wrap up with a little bit about you and obviously you’ve been a really busy job there’s lots of parts to it how do you manage your day from a Productivity perspective any tools you use any theories any any way of doing things to manage your day manage your workload so I’m a big big fan I’ve tried everyone like like I’m what do they call it I am master of none like I’m just try everything so I’ve tried online you know that we actually use Trello in the office for project management stuff my particular event it’s and projects that we’re working on that I’ve tried them all asana like every single one of them and the only thing I find works really well is writing things down so I’m a big fan of bullet journaling massive advocate for that and in fact I’ve really fallen off the wagon with bullet journaling over the last month or so and I’m really feeling it so it doesn’t take much to get back into it and do it right but man it makes such a difference to my day I just find writing and ticking yeah just a very rewarding and helpful why I think everyone remembers things differently as well right and I love people I think you’re right a lot of people that act of writing things down makes a difference yeah and that’s from an educational perspective any any books you’d recommend people well talking about interesting pathways to getting to where you are I just finished reading a book called educated by Tara Westhoff yeah she’s got a really unique upbringing a story to tell in her upbringing but it talks about the power of Education and what impact it can have on your worldview and the relationships you build as a result of it particular with your family yeah it was like I’ve never sat down and read a book like a by were an autobiography like that in two days like I just couldn’t put it down it was the most fascinating story so I highly recommend that yeah and then what else am i oh okay so I was just at a conference in fact it’s called the global consortium of entrepreneurship centres conference happens every year somewhere in the world and this year it was in Europe and the keynote speaker was Hans Rosling’s son she’d know his first name but I can’t figure what it is he’s a big data visualization specialist has done a couple of TED talks as well and he started a company called Gapminder which is about how do you use information to present real world facts and so what they have done is developed this website called gapminder.org and you go on it and it provides you with I think 12 questions that you have to answer so for an example one is scientists agree that temperatures on earth will either rise to climb or stay the same over than in the future so you pick which one right so it’s questions around perceptions around society and how we’re performing and it gives you your answers at the end how wrong or right you are and what’s really interesting in the research that I’ve done around people’s responses particularly if you get people as a cohort to respond so that had like Nobel laureates as one group respond to these questions no one’s got not 12 right and whether you break it up by country or by age or by job it really tells like a lot of it really gives you an idea of where people are getting their information from and how wrong they are about their perceptions around what’s actually happening in the world and I would highly recommend people going and doing this and keep doing it till you get all 12 right because you do get a little certificate at the end all right but what it does is it sets your worldview correctly yeah you know so whatever perceptions you have about their being and developing countries and developed countries that paradigm doesn’t exist anymore there’s four stages and the majority of people in the world are in the two middle ones there so it’s very rare that people are in extreme poverty and very rare that you’re in stiring extreme wealth so the huge market opportunities they’re available in the middle class in what we used to call developing countries yes huge now so China and India is like a massive market potential for technology applications in those markets because they’ve got money to spend so I’d highly recommend going on to that guy again one day I’m gonna do that afternoon that looks good online yeah user tools time I will link that up and obviously that way people can you know follow those people as up yeah I do yeah enough last question anything that you’ve learned that you would sort of if you had your opportunity again teach a young efficient yourself hey don’t make up cycle you should do this hmm that’s a really interesting question
probably just back yourself more I don’t know if it’s a female thing I don’t know I don’t know if it’s just my personality but often don’t feel like they should be at the table sometimes don’t feel qualified maybe that comes from not having an undergraduate degree I don’t know but but I think if I was probably able to back myself a little bit more and feel more comfortable being at the table and feeling like I belonged there then I think you know that you see it when people are confident and they you know they express themselves confidently more often than not they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about I there was a great quote recently from Obama’s Michelle Obama where you know someone had asked her what was it like being in the room with all of these you know really smart people from all around the world she’s like well most of the time they didn’t know what was really going on and if they did the gap mind art quiz they really didn’t know what was going on which was super scary because they’re the policymakers or I’m making these decisions so yeah most people don’t know what’s actually really going on they think they have an idea and they might be right about some of it but we don’t know everything and so the best thing to do is talk to as many people as you can ask as many questions as you can which I haven’t done in this interview oh we had a good chat beforehand I suppose but yeah I find out about people’s stories and what they have to offer and you deserve to be there as much as everybody else does there’s a lot of parent listening which I definitely wouldn’t have said when I was a younger version of myself and I thought I knew everything Brian me too you know I thought there’s a lot of it there’s a lot of power in listening it’s like that it’s the opposite right how do you get them where you realize you absolutely have no idea what you’re doing yeah great well thank you very much for coming in today thank you thanks for having me it’s been awesome thank you.