Meet Lea Sublett, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, who has travelled the world, dined at a palace, and has big plans for the coming year.
What do you do at ANU? My role is Associate Director of Alumni Relations within the office of Alumni Relations and Philanthropy.
What is your favourite spot on campus? The entire campus is stunning! After living in the polluted and noisy city of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for the last year I’m really enjoying the natural beauty of the entire campus.
I like it because…the campus has so much of what I really missed when I was living elsewhere – space, blue skies, green grass, trees, birds and mountain views.
If I were free for an afternoon I…would get in touch with friends and family who I’ve neglected in the last few months!
When I was growing up I wanted to be…a reporter on 60 Minutes! It was the adventure in faraway countries that inspired those early career dreams; that and my enjoyment of meeting people who have interesting stories to tell. I ended up studying a combined degree in Journalism and Asian Studies, although I’ve never worked as a journalist. Instead my time at university, made so interesting because I studied with international students, actually led to a career in the education sector, then alumni relations.
Where has your career taken you, geographically speaking?
My career in alumni relations and student recruitment, in government and in universities, has given me the opportunity to go to the most amazing, interesting and unusual places, and along the way I’ve met some fascinating people.
I spent five years working in the Middle East where I had the privilege of leading an Australian Government mission on education to Libya, sat in the majlis at the palace of the United Arab Emirate’s Minister of Higher Education and was a guest of the Australian Ambassador at a dinner in the beautiful city of Isfahan with a group of Iranian alumni who had all studied in Australia!
What do you find most rewarding about liaising with alumni?
Alumni relations is such a rewarding career because it involves building strategic partnerships and relationships and helping to create opportunities for alumni to remain connected to a large community. Alumni are all different and have had very different life and career journeys. Some alumni change the world through transformative research, others lead companies and countries and many are quiet achievers who we may never see on an honours list or identify in Who’s Who. But every one of our alumni has an interesting story to tell, and I never tire of listening.
What are your plans relating to ANU alumni in the coming year?
One of the most immediate and exciting projects we’re working on is the 2012 ANU Alumni Survey. The objective of the survey is to encourage alumni to tell us what they want so we can develop some new programs that meet their needs.
Developing partnerships with student groups is also a high priority. I feel very strongly about the role ANU Alumni can play throughout the student lifecycle. The support the alumni community provide through work, wealth and wisdom can contribute to the student experience through mentoring, career opportunities and scholarships.