Suzy Andrew, the School Manager at the School of Culture, History & Language (CHL), is no ordinary university employee. She has heaps of university experience and passion, and she lives and breathes everything about professional life here at ANU, which makes working here so special and rewarding.
Suzy recently spoke to us about her journey through university and what drives her when it comes to CHL in particular and life in general.
Who is Suzy Andrew, in a nutshell?
I’m a Taurean ENFJ (Extrovert, intuitive, Feeling, Judging), which makes me passionate and charismatic with a strong sense of justice. On the downside, I’m also stubborn and idealistic. I trust people and I love drawing out their talents. I love working in a team.
I have a Masters in English, in which I focused on the presentation of self in autobiography.
And that’s not all. I love bad shark movies, 90s Britpop, RuPaul’s Drag Race, pineapple and ocean swimming. I have three sons and a beagle at home; life is loud, colourful and rather difficult to predict.
What do you do, and what you love most about your role?
Universities have played a big role in my life. Not only did I meet my wonderful husband at uni, but I am a tertiary admin “lifer” having worked in the sector for nearly 20 years. I was born in Sydney, have three degrees from The University of Sydney (BA, BSc, MA) and worked there for 11 years before moving to Canberra in 2012. I have worked at ANU since then, in various positions in CECS, Exams and Grads, CAP, National Centre for Indigenous Studies and a stint at the Chancelry as EO to DVCA.
I am now very happy to be settling into the role of School Manager at CHL. I feel like CHL is my home. I have a degree in a language (Italian, so not quite from the right part of the world!), and I also worked at the School of Languages at USYD for a number of years. CHL also balances the STEM and HASS backgrounds that I have and brings together a bunch of supremely talented people who do work in areas of global importance. I am so proud and excited to be a part of this School going forward.
What makes you tick outside of the workplace?
I guess I’m pretty busy…my boys are 5, 8 and 11 years old, so a lot of my time is doing Mum stuff, taxiing them to swimming lessons, art classes and parkour. I’m probably more fluent in Minecraft, Fortnite and Pokémon than I need to be; but these are the languages spoken to me at home, so I’ve learned via immersion!
For myself, I like to set goals. Over the past couple of years these have been in running; in 2018, I completed my 100th parkrun on my 40th birthday (with my eldest son, who did his 10th on the same day).
This year my goal was to complete a half-marathon, which I did in October. Not to do things by halves (ha!), it was a trail run with 800m of elevation gain—I’m not sure if I was crazy or a genius to attempt that as a first half. In 2019, I also volunteered at YMCA Runners’ Club and led a training group for the Canberra Times Fun Run, where I had people ranging from complete beginner runners to people wanting to better their times. My group did so well at the event in November, I felt like a proud mother hen! I volunteered to pace the 10km event. In 2020, I’m going to focus on swimming, as I’ve just booked a trip to swim in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Italy in September!
What’s your multitasking mantra?
Don’t overthink it. I’ve always been the kind of person who has back-up plans for back-up plans, so if something doesn’t quite work out as expected, no big deal. I’m also quite curious and love to fix things, so I’m more likely to try find a solution than to wallow in a problem. Also, I remember the 80/20 rule…80% of results come from 20% of the action. Identify and prioritise that 20%—BAM! Instant time-management!
Tell us something most people would have never guessed about you.
I was in a journal article before I was even born (as I said, universities run deep in my blood!)
If you could put just one thing on your Christmas wish list, what would it be?
Rain. Nice, long, soaking, replenishing rain!