My Melbourne with Jacinta Cubis

June 12 / 89

What is your unit?

Melbourne Engagement and Partnerships Office

What is your job title?

Deputy Director

How long have you been with the University of Melbourne?

Two months

How did you come to work at the University?

The advertisement for my job appealed to me. The public-spirited nature of the University's engagement approach aligns well with my corporate responsibility studies and stakeholder engagement experience. It’s all about building relationships with other sectors to address societal issues aligned to our research and teaching and learning strategies.

Before this job, I led the stakeholder engagement strategy for a government-owned company, and previously worked as a communications manager in a range of sectors.

I’ve only been here a short while but, essentially, I think our engagement approach is about the University breaking through the academic walls and joining with organisations in other sectors to create shared value for the benefit of society. That's what attracted me to the role - we have the capacity to inform, inspire and involve the world we live in.

Describe your typical day

Most mornings I do something active, either a yoga class, a jog by the Yarra or personal training. One of the benefits of working at MEPO is the size of the queue for the shower in the morning - it doesn't exist. There tended to be a disorderly one at my last workplace, so it's great to have easy access each morning.

So I start work at my desk pretty invigorated. At the moment I'm still in listening and learning phase. So many people at the University seem to be involved in engagement in its many forms - it's a really rich tapestry of connections, and I'm trying to work it all out.

As I meet more people and get a better idea of how all these connections link with one another, I'll be able to see where MEPO fits and how we can best support these efforts.

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

I love connecting with people inside and outside the University. My role is all about joining the dots and people working on, or wanting to work on the same thing, and then helping those links develop into strong relationships.

While I've only been with MEPO for a short time, I'm really enjoying helping the team develop, coaching and mentoring colleagues and working on ways to build engagement across the University.

I also love connecting with colleagues from outside our department, providing advice on how to approach particular relationships, how to frame a particular discussion with an important stakeholder, or sorting out the nut and bolts of a partnership.

I'm meeting people across the University who are doing some fantastic partnership and engagement work, beyond and above their day jobs and I’m inspired by their commitment and enthusiasm.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

As a regular cyclist, I was told to never leave home without a plastic bag tied to your bike. A dry seat on a rainy, miserable day can make all the difference.

Work-wise, someone recently told me to "change the rules and up the ante".

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

I dance tango. Not enough really - I'm lucky if I get to a milonga once a week. The music is beautiful and the dancing can be too. Melbourne has a really strong tango community and you can usually find somewhere to dance every night of the week.

Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

After an exhaustive search I've found the most consistent and best coffee within an easy walk of the MEPO office is Animal Orchestra. Highly recommended!

What do you like most about the University?

I love that at the core of all universities is a singular aim to open minds and inspire. The University of Melbourne is an incredibly strong brand and even though I'm still learning about the depth behind that brand, it's satisfying to think that I can play a role contributing to the work of such a highly respected and well-recognised organisation.

The University's buildings and spaces are also a big drawcard. My first lunch at the Uni was spent on South Lawn with salad and sunshine, surrounded by students. It's such a beautiful environment.

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