Staff Snapshot: Katherine Higgins

31 May 2016

Eliza Hughes

Eliza is the Communications and Marketing Officer at YWCA Canberra

Katherine Higgins - Blog

At YWCA Canberra, we’re really proud of the vibrancy and diversity of our staff team. We’ll be bringing you regular staff snapshots so you can meet our team and find out a bit more about the people behind our programs and services. Today, meet Katherine, the new manager of YWCA Canberra’s Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre. 

Tell us about your role at YWCA Canberra.
I recently started as the Manager for the Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre.  The centre provides a space for community members to meet, including the Nannies Aboriginal Elders, the local Seniors group, the ukulele group, mums and bubs groups, Scouts and the Heart Moves fitness group.  The centre also has a youth drop-in space which is operated by the awesome youth workers in the Youth Engagement team, and the Lanyon Food Hub which supports vulnerable people in the community is run by a small but strong team of volunteers.

What’s on your playlist?
Playlist?? I have CDs in my car and radio stations! But that CD collection ranges from P!nk to Crowded House to Hilltop Hoods to Dolly Parton to Aqua to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack to The Offspring to John Williams!

What is the most ‘out-there’ job you’ve ever had?
I’ve not really had an ‘out there’ job but  my first job was washing dishes in a restaurant – I got paid $6.00 per hour and fed dinner. I did this job from when I was 14 until I left for university at 18.

When you’re not at work, what’s your relaxation activity of choice?
Sitting with my good friends, watching trashy TV, nesting on the couch with a project  like crochet, knitting or puzzles.  We can talk or not talk, just being in their company is what is important.

What is the scariest thing you’ve done in the past year?
I went camping with friends in the Deua National Park for the weekend, and when they returned to civilisation, I stayed behind for a night by myself.  It was peaceful – the sounds of nature, the stars in the sky, the smells of campfire… ahh the serenity!  However, the 20m walk to the drop toilet at 3 am was very scary!!!

What’s an achievement that you’re proud of?
Going back to university and being a “mature age” student to complete my Master of Social Work through Griffith University in Brisbane whilst living in Townsville.  It was tough time studying by myself, and then completing two 17 week placements and still managing to pay my rent.

Who inspires you?
My parents:  My father worked full time and started a small business which meant he often worked 50 to 60 hours per week to enable them to send me and my sister to university which was 300km away from home.  He is a very intelligent man who is able to make useful things from seemingly nothing – I don’t remember ever seeing a tradie in our house.  My mother managed the household which included three children born within four years and managed the business.  She was very involved in our lives, school and the community.  They now live 3000km away, and spend much of their time travelling in a caravan seeing Australia. I would love to do that when I grow up!

People would be surprised if they knew…
That my Western Action Shooting Name is Fran Jellyko.

What’s your favourite movie quote?
“I know you can be overwhelmed, and I you can be underwhelmed…. But can you ever just be whelmed?”

“I think you can in Europe!”

If you got a free around the world ticket, where would you go?
I would start with seeing more of Australia; until 2014 I had only ever visited Queensland, NSW and Canberra.  I would love to see Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia.  I would then visit all the places that my ancestors came from – Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, France and Mauritius. Then, if I had time I would check out the rest of the world. How long can this trip be?

What makes you proud to work at the Y?
As a new staff member I have been made to feel welcome and assured that there are no stupid questions.  The organisation has a strong reputation for supporting women in our community at all levels.

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