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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.
Program Evaluation and Reporting Manager Anne Taylor tells us about taking the global pandemic as a chance to discover new skills and strengths in herself and others.
What is your role at Crawford and what do you enjoy most about it?
I’m the Program Evaluation and Reporting Manager for our executive professional development, bespoke and capacity building programs at the National Security College (NSC). Since coming on board in late 2018, I’ve enjoyed the responsibility of growing and promoting evaluation as an essential tool to measure quality, improve learning design and enhance the overall learning experience.
The NSC is a great place to work, and I am continually amazed by the calibre of colleagues, academics, senior government practitioners, industry experts and students our programs attract. It really is a privilege to work in an environment that actively supports national security policy-making, and current and emerging strategic thinkers within the community.
Have you developed any new working-from-home routines or habits?
At first, things were a little bumpy with kids adjusting to learning from home and navigating the big emotions that come with such disruptions. Over time, and particularly once school resumed, routine became a little easier.
The routine now is walking as a family with our dog, Chewbarker, to the bus stop. Once the kids are on the bus, I take the morning commute (a walk), changing the route slightly most days. I find this activity energising and it allows me to think about and plan the day ahead. In the afternoon Chewbarker and I meet the kids at the bus stop, walk home and take some time to share our day, before another hour or so of work. Days like these feel less rushed and more balanced.
How did your job change while working from home?
Experiences such as a global pandemic create opportunities to rethink what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. The disruption revealed hidden talents, skills and experiences of colleagues and allowed us to collaborate and connect in different ways. The team were able to reimagine the learning experience and deliver quality online professional development programs to support the national security community during these times of disruption.
It’s satisfying to see the reactions and feedback from our participants in this outreach approach and I believe it is testimony to the quality and talent of people Crawford employs.
The tangible success of the NSC webinar series and bespoke online professional development programs has expanded our reach and influence beyond ‘hard’ state and international borders and redefined what we do and how we will do it beyond COVID-19. It really has been quite a remarkable journey.
Tell us something about yourself that people might not know, or would find surprising.
Professionally, I have served in the Royal Australian Air Force as an Education and Training Systems Officer and still continue to do so in a reserve capacity.
People might be surprised to learn that behind this middle-aged body, I used to compete in outrigger ocean-marathon racing and had a good misspent decade of trekking to some remote places in the world; a highlight being part of a climbing expedition to the seventh highest mountain in the world - Mt Dhaulagiri in Nepal. I love the outdoors, and do get a kick out of hiking or kayaking to a remote location that you could not simply access by conventional means such as a car.
I also find people are often surprised to learn that I am a scout leader at the local Sea Scout Group. I find volunteering a great way of giving back to and building the community. It allows me the opportunity to share my love for adventure and the outdoors and create positive touchstone experiences for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. Seeing kids develop confidence, resilience, leadership and capacity to challenge themselves on so many different levels is extremely rewarding. In doing so, it has become a big part of my life and one I do along with my children.
Can you give us your top tips about how to stay positive during the COVID-19 outbreak?
I’m grateful to be living here in the bush capital, and I draw on this gratitude to stay positive. I think COVID-19 has allowed our family to slow down, and to be more present. We have more time for board games and family movie nights. I think it is important to stay connected to family, friends and colleagues and to have a good laugh. On a personal level, I find exploring local bush trails provides energy to be positive and to discover or rediscover the benefits of living in the bush capital!