Join the Grand newsletter for more content like this!
Nerd, food lover, CrossFit addict. Clare Morgans, our Strategic Partnerships Manager, is the kind of person who grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons but loves nothing more than sweating off a stressful day with the kind of training session that “Breaks. You. Down.”
“I like to feel like I've accomplished something,” she says. “So I'll go and bust a crazy workout.”
None of that has anything to do with her work here but that 100% commitment, give-anything-a-go attitude is so typical of the way she operates. Pretty handy for someone whose job is to stay on top of the outrageous (and rapidly growing) range of cool stuff our partners are working on to offer you.
It should be no surprise that the long and winding career path that brought Clare to Grandshake is just as varied as her list of hobbies. After training as a journalist, the English-native — you may want to take a breath here — worked in ad sales for Vogue’s food and travel section, as head of marketing at another company, and popped in and out of strategic partnerships, all before she really found her professional “passion”.
“When I moved to an environmental agency, I just got to really tap into my passion for sustainability and for working with people to help educate and get people to change their behaviours, which is something I hadn't tapped into before,” she said. “And so that came to me quite late.”
It was an invaluable role for more than just unlocking Clare’s passion for sustainability. She was also able to harness a mentor’s skills in transformational, system-wide change, just like what we’re trying to drive in the education industry.
We asked Clare for the key piece of advice she’d give to students in regional areas wanting to achieve their goals. If you’ve been paying attention at all so far, you can probably guess what she said. That’s right: try new things.
“It's really important when you're trying to find what you want to do, to be able to try lots of different things,” she said.
“And I know that when you're in the regional areas — I've worked with a lot of people who live on farms — it's really hard to get access to these different employment networks, to mentors to even just sampling what some of these jobs are.
“What do they even look like in real life? You know, it's one thing on paper but what's it like in real life?
“So I think it's really important to try and go hard early, try as much as you can, and it will save you so much time, energy and HECS debt later on.”
That piece of advice is really one of the driving forces behind what we do here. We firmly believe there’s no better way to see if a career is right for you than to get in touch with the people already in the workplace and see what their day-to-day is like. Helping regional students get the same opportunities as city kids is a big part of why our work experience programs are virtual. There are already enough inequalities in the world without making organising work experience even harder. And that HECS debt element really is a relevant concern. Our student loan program is much more manageable than the crippling debts many US students get stuck with. But when about 50% of students change course in the first year, why not save yourself some time and thousands of dollars by dipping a toe into your potential new career early?
This next paragraph is no substitute for work experience but by now you’re probably wondering what a typical work day looks like for Clare. As you can imagine, communication is absolutely critical when it comes to partnerships so our girl Clare is on the phone “constantly”. So that’s calling partners, finding out what they’re doing, making sure we have everything we need on our end and just basically keeping the whole ship sailing smoothly.
“The best part is the team, for sure,” she says. “[The other] best part is talking to loads of different people who are really interesting and cool.
“The worst part is waiting for people to get back to you. It's an absolute punishment.”
Between the pressures of high school, being a teenager and choosing a career you need to make time to look after your mental health.
Even if Australia’s borders stay shut you can plan an epic gap year in 2022 or 2023. Here’s some tips for how to make your year-long break one to remember.