With Debbie Maw

August 11 / 66

What is your unit?

Office of the Chancellor

What is your job title?

Executive Officer to the Chancellor, Elizabeth Alexander AM

How long have you been with the University of Melbourne?

I started at the University as Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis AC in June 2009.  I completed two years in that role and was then asked by our new Chancellor to work for her.  I came to this office only recently, in June this year.

How did you come to work at the University?

I have managed many offices and been an Executive Assistant for some years. Prior to accepting this role I was Executive Assistant to the Head of Defence at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC for two years.  This inspired me to search for a further role, on returning to Melbourne, where I would be supporting another senior executive CEO.

Describe your typical day

Supporting the Chancellor means anything she wants or needs, however urgently that may be, is taken care of immediately. I liaise with high ranking stakeholders from within the University and externally.  I answer phones, manage her diary and correspondence, attend to queries - and we get some really strange ones.  Usually such queries are from people who perhaps have a grievance about the University.  Sadly, people who are happy don’t tend to write to us! The Chancellor is the Chair of the University Council as well as six other committees within the University, so keeping her up-to-date with all the happenings within those groups makes for a very busy day.

What is it about your job that holds your interest or is particularly satisfying?

I enjoy being a main point of contact for a busy and very important person.  My day is never the same, with many little (and big) challenges always waiting to be overcome.  It’s fun to arrive at work wondering how the day will pan out. It’s also very satisfying knowing that I have assisted to coordinate the working life of one of the most influential people at the University!

What is the best advice you have received?

Celebrate the small stuff.  Strive to be happy.

What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn’t know?

I am addicted to snow and would be so very happy if there was at least two metres of it outside my window on any given day of the year!

Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

At Pronto, in the Student Union Building near the Raymond Priestley Building, and Keri Keri.  They both make a great macchiato.

What do you like most about the University?

It provides me with a safe, happy, well remunerated environment in which I spend a large part of my day.  It’s in a great location, only 30 minutes from my home and the drive in is a breeze.  I love wandering through the Old Arts precinct, as it reminds me of London and some of the beautiful buildings there.  The University has an aura that, I believe, makes people want to learn.  I very much enjoy being part of the engine room that sails this massive ship.

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