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Alumni's COVID-19 response shows a defining spirit of helping others

During this tumultuous time, we asked Southern Cross University alumni from across the globe how COVID-19 has impacted them.

What we discovered were many unsung heroes – people who focussed on the things that really mattered – and realised they were in a position to help.

Some alumni are working in hospitals and placing their own safety at risk to care for those who are ill, while others are using their initiative and business nous; flipping their businesses upside-down to carry on and provide us with the goods we so desperately need, like hand sanitiser.

Their stories and advice, both business and personal, are below.

吉林快3Man wearing Australia Post cap

Ashley Marshall - Ensuring delivery in challenging times

Australia Post has repurposed and opened 15 new processing facilities and commenced recruitment for 600 casuals as part of the COVID-19 response.

For Ashley Marshall, a Southern Cross University MBA gradaute who is Acting General Manager, Government at Australia Post, the logistical challenges alone have been massive.

There are fewer aircraft flying to carry parcels, coupled with a huge surge in e-commerce business and parcel volumes similar to Boxing Day and Black Friday sales.

It’s a challenge that requires a massive team effort, one that Mr Mashall is proud to be a part of.

Read Ashley's story
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Kushla Gale - Navigating a strategy for the tourism industry

The tourism industry has been hit with double devastation. First it was the horrific bushfires then the COVID-19 crisis.

For Kushla Gale, who works as a regional tourism and events officer, the future is more than overcoming these two huge hurdles.

Climate change, she says, must also be factored in for the industry's recovery and future wellbeing.

“I expect the government will support tourism and events with grant funding in coming months, but I wish it was now as now is the ideal time for strategic planning, event revitalisation, and new product development,” she says.

Read Kushla's story
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Kirsty Jagger - Time for resilience and recovery

Across the country communities are dealing with compounded trauma.

First drought scorched the land, then bushfires. In some places storms and floods drenched it, hail battered it, dust suffocated it. Now there’s the additional impacts of COVID-19.

Former Southern Cross University student Kirsty Jagger works in the field of resilience and recovery.

She’s keen to remind people that the bushfire recovery effort is still underway, all that has changed is the manner in which the work is being undertaken.

Read Kirsty's story
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Callum Baxter-Walters - Comfort in ambiguity

Callum Baxter-Walters has found working from 吉林快3 to be both positive, with reduced commute times and more time with family, but also really challenging – being so isolated from those he typically works closely with.

Callum,  an Employee Relations Principal for BHP Billiton, says one of the most interesting aspects of the COVID-19 has been is the almost overnight acceptance of ambiguity and quick decision making, without the liberty of comprehensive data.

“Making decisions with little information is difficult at the best of times. Within my role it is often complex, dealing with trade unions and workforces, trying to manage expectations and emotions that often run high in uncertain times. Getting comfortable with ever changing decisions takes some getting used to.”

Read Callum's story
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Jessica Johnston - Safety and Task Force SENTINAL

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all emergency services personnel, including the police force. 

The virus has impacted everything from 000 calls to jury trials, while leaving the public at 吉林快3, frustrated.

 Victorian Detective, Jessica Johnston gives us an insight into the way police have had to pivot and adapt.

“There is frustration starting to creep in with being isolated away at 吉林快3 and we understand that. Hang-in there, we are seeing the results," she says.

Read Jessica's story
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Anna Davidson - Sphere of influence

It is what the bystanders do that changes the course of history, particularly those who don’t just stand by. Southern Cross University graduate, Anna Davidson is one of those people.

When Ms Davidson, who owns a GP clinic in Nelson Bay, noticed hand sanitiser was in dangerously short supply, she stepped up. When she realised she was not alone in her plight, she stepped up again and again until, with the help of others, she was able to deliver the necessary ‘armour’ to clinics in need.

“I took a good hard look at my sphere of influence and decided to trust my instincts and act.” The venture was successful but ongoing efforts to find funding for it have not yet gained traction. “This has frustratingly meant that hand sanitiser has not just been able to flow out to where it is needed most.” The battle continues.

“I now constantly think of the Clinic in terms of war. Usually in business cash is king. But wars, while they require cash, are won and lost on supply chain. As a practice owner, it is my job to ensure both cash and supply chain. I have responsibilities far greater than just ensuring solvency.”

Read Anna's story
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Pamela Brook - Eyes on the prize

Pamela Brook has seen both challenges and opportunities as a result of COVID-19.

As the co-founder of Cape Byron Distillery and Brookfarm, and Chair of Northern Rivers Food, Ms Brook faced an onslaught of changes.

While one of her businesses pivoted to start producing an entirely new product, another had to send the office into remote mode and rearrange everyone else’s work shifts in order to reduce the potential for crossover and risk to others still on site.

Northern Rivers Food faced a different set of challenges again.

Read Pamela's story
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Craig Burke - Crisis ready

Many inventions are born out of a desire to solve a problem.

Patienteer is one such product. Born from the need to remove fallible human subjectivity from the decision-making process during a patient’s hospital journey; Patienteer is now finding new uses in the COVID-19 crisis.

Patienteer’s CEO, Craig Burke, finished his nursing degree at Southern Cross University in 1988. He now finds himself working 60-hour weeks in a hospital command centre alongside specialist doctors, keeping an eye on his software as it alerts doctors to a patient’s deteriorating condition.

He has both business and mental health advice to offer us all.

Read Craig's story
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Photo by: Matthew Harris

Dermot O’Gorman - Manage your mindset

Some of the best business advice Dermot O’Gorman has to offer during these trying times is this:

  • Be agile and move fast on your key skills
  • Manage your mindset, and
  • You can’t over communicate

As the CEO of the WWF-Australia, managing more than 100 staff remotely, the COVID crisis has had a similar impact on Mr O’Gorman’s workday as it has on others.

He advocates being mindful and understanding the effect of people’s emotions on productivity.

Read Dermot's story
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Jackson Jones - People rallying together

For Emergency Nurse, Jackson Jones, working during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opening experience.

The organisation he works for, Northern NSW Local Health District, has had to respond and change quickly to ensure the safety of the public and staff alike in dealing with the virus.

“We as a team are more united than ever during this pandemic,” said Mr Jones.

“Medical personnel and all hospital staff are the front line, we are in this together, so I believe this has cemented a bond between all organisations having to go through this. As confronting as this virus is, I would not change the profession I have chosen, I love it, I go to work every day ready for what comes next.”

Mr Jones says he has also learnt that no matter what uncontrollable, unfortunate situation life throws at us, people seem to rally together to help one another and he highlights the importance of communicating with your friends, family and loved ones.

“For anyone going through a crisis, not just this one, call someone you love and talk to them.”

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Katie Brown - Exercise and the alphabet

While NRL reporter and presenter Katie Brown is a strong advocate for going easy on yourself at this difficult time, that doesn’t mean ‘don’t work out’.

Finding herself at a loose end during the COVID-19 crisis, Ms Brown developed an exercise for every letter of the alphabet, that you can do at 吉林快3.

If that’s not your ‘cup of tea’ she also has some other suggestions for how to keep yourself entertained.

She’ll do anything to avoid sitting still, especially while the future of her industry hangs in the air.

Read Katie's story
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Melissa Harvey - Dreaming up a new world

Not even the art world has remained untouched by the impact of COVID-19. The space to dream and explore ideas has now been confined to the 吉林快3, accessible only via distance. Yet the ability to dream up a new world has never been more important.

Melissa Harvey did her Bachelor of Visual Arts at Southern Cross University, Master of Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and now works for the Art Gallery of NSW.

She’s exploring new ways of working and has been forced to look at new materials.

Read Melissa's story
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Michael Metcalfe - Above all, be kind

The disability sector is one of many to be hit hard by COVID-19. 

Michael Metcalfe, who graduated with an MBA from Southern Cross University in 2006, was better placed to handle the fallout than some. 

As the founder of Kynd, an online platform and mobile app which simplifies NDIS support and disability work, Mr Metcalfe says Kynd has benefited by building a digital first venture. 

“A virtual and remote work capability has meant our transition to ‘work from 吉林快3’ has not interrupted our team or service.” 

Other NDIS providers may not be so lucky. “This industry has been forced to reassess everything," he says.

Read Michael's story
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Poto Williams - Governing from 吉林快3

It’s one thing to be dealing with the effects of working or self-isolating at 吉林快3, quite another to be doing this while also trying to govern the process.

Like a large proportion of the world’s employees, for New Zealand MP Poto Williams, working from 吉林快3 is the new reality.

This equates to new systems, processes, tactics and surprises.

“In situations like this, and a ready example is the Christchurch Earthquake sequence, we take a civil defence response," says Ms Williams. "However, with the added component of being unable to see our problem, the virus, typical responses are not appropriate.”

Read Poto's story
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Ruth Kallman - Challenges of teaching in China吉林快3 amid COVID-19

Ruth Kallman was a teacher at an international school in the Sichuan province of China吉林快3 when COVID-19 hit. It was traumatic.

The intense fear, combined with the sudden evacuation of teachers and the pressure to keep online lessons afloat, despite teachers now finding themselves both lacking resources and in different time zones; meant technological challenges piled on top of mental and emotional and challenges.

However, Ms Kallman is hanging in there, teaching in an empty classroom with one other teacher, both wearing masks.

She says a global response to the crisis is needed.

Read Ruth's story
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James O'Keefe - You are not alone

Behind the scenes, in hospitals around the world, nurses are facing their days with strength and enthusiasm. 

They face not only the daily challenges of dealing with the pandemic, but also public scrutiny. 

Many, such as James O’Keefe, are Southern Cross University graduates.

Read James' story
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John Wong - full digital banking and new virtual banks

COVID-19 will irrevocably change many industries. While the pandemic has seen a move toward contactless payments in the short-term it has also pushed the banking industry towards full digital banking, says CEO of Fidelity Asia Bank in Malaysia, Tze Yow Wong (also known as John).

John a Southern Cross MBA graduate says opportunities for new virtual banks will grow further as a result.

he says the key lesson he says he has learnt from the COVID-19 experience is that history always repeats.

Read John's story

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