Professor Helen Sullivan

Inspiring women: Professor Helen Sullivan

07 March 2018

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Professor Helen Sullivan is the Director of Crawford School of Public Policy.

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To mark International Women’s Day this year we are celebrating some of the professional and academic staff who make our College a world-leading institution for research and teaching on Asia and the Pacific.

In this piece, we chat to Professor Helen Sullivan, Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy.

What inspired you to get into your field of research and why?

I fell into my field through a series of unhappy and happy accidents that took me from the world of public service to the world of academia and a career researching and teaching and (hopefully) influencing public policy. It wasn’t planned but I’ve had a terrific career.

Who is a woman in your field that you look up to?

There are so many. I was and am very lucky to have lots of female role models and mentors. The one who has been with me from the beginning of my career is Emeritus Professor Janet Newman. She is an inspiring scholar and a challenging mentor. To this day when I see her she will urge me to achieve more in my scholarship - she’s not convinced by my move into leadership!

What is a teaching/research project you are currently working on that motivates you?

I am convening and teaching into a new Executive Master of Public Policy at Crawford. It’s given me an opportunity to dig into the research and to engage with a very impressive cohort of participants.

What are you most proud of?

My unique collection of sneakers. And that I have been in a position to support some truly extraordinary women early on in their careers.

What’s your advice to your younger self about choosing the right path and juggling life’s different demands?

Trust your instincts, bet on yourself, and learn to say ‘no’.

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