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Crawford School introduces our fantastic staff, so you can meet the people of Asia and the Pacific’s leading graduate policy school.
This time around, Program Coordinator for the Australia Pacific Security College Maima Koro tells us about making a home in Canberra during the COVID-19 pandemic, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
What is role at Crawford and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am the Program Coordinator for the Australia Pacific Security College (PSC) and as such, I work across most of our programs (traditional security & gender). I enjoy this role, as it gives me the ability to work with different streams of the programs from design to implementation including evaluation. More importantly, working with different teams on a variety of national security issues across sectors and across countries is extremely rewarding. In this climate, everything has been trial and error. It’s been fun, in some meetings Zoom works as an effective communication device and in others it falls short of personal interactions. You just have to roll with it.
Have you developed any new working-from-home routines or habits?
I guess the most significant change is the mental shift – my home is also now my office. Whilst working from home has always been an option, it was a choice back then and not mandatory as it is in the COVID-19 context. I had to really put up boundaries as it is easy to just stay in ‘work’ mode. I try and go out for lunch at least twice a week to physically and mentally take a break from the home office. On a sunny day, I sit outside for coffee breaks and for some vitamin D.
Describe your home office for us
I arrived in Canberra from Adelaide in May and I immediately went out and bought a new work desk. I turned the spare room in my home into my office, and put in family pictures and a bookcase to create an ‘office’ feel. I am also looking at getting some greens for a bit of a tropical atmosphere. I’ve always loved greens and nature is one of the things I enjoy about Canberra. Establishing a proper office at home is a new experience for me as working out of a temporary office location was the norm due to extensive travel in my previous roles.
How has your role changed during the COVID-19 crisis?
With the pandemic, the most obvious challenge is the limited face-to-face connection with stakeholders and partners. As a College, our remit is the Pacific and connecting people (not limited to physical connection) is one of the crucial aspects to our relevance and effective engagement. PSC is in its formative stage, therefore I am still defining my role with the guidance of the leadership team. In many ways, the COVID-19 experience has provided space for me to articulate how my role can be of value to partners and stakeholders including Crawford. PSC is a unique set-up, and from what I’ve experienced so far, the staff across the university have been very supportive.
Can you give us your top tips about how to stay positive during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Laugh, and laugh a lot. As I am new here, there is a lot to do and see. I try to do grocery shopping at different shopping centres during the weekends as a way of getting to know the place.