Elise sits on the board of directors.
How did you get involved with Laneway Learning?
For many years I have participated as a volunteer in different organisations, including as a volunteer lawyer in a community legal centre and a learning partner in a higher education program for people experiencing disadvantage and social isolation. In December 2017, I decided I wanted to play a more active role in contributing to positive social outcomes and stumbled across an ad for Laneway Learning on ourcommunty.com.au. Thankfully the team thought I would make a good fit and here I am, 12 months later, excited about being part of new look board.
What is it about Laneway Learning that appeals to you?
That it encourages spontaneous curiosity. The whole idea of fun, interesting classes, in just about any topic under the sun, delivered in a way that encourages social connections. I love that the cost of a class means many people can have a crack at something they’ve always been curious about, without being impeded by cost or having to commit to something ongoing (yet…).
What is your professional background?
I’ve been a lawyer for a little while now, almost always working in the employment/HR and industrial relations area. I was one of those kids at high school who liked most subjects and never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up (except for a brief stint where I thought I wanted to be a rock guitarist but that was shortly lived). I dabbled in chemistry and psychology early on but decided to give law a go and haven’t looked back since.
What other things are you involved in?
I volunteer as a lawyer with a community employment law service which provides free employment-related legal information, advice, advocacy and referral to clients from refugee or newly arrived communities who live, work or study in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. I must confess though that I’m less hands on these days as I’d like to be, while I focus on my role on the board of Laneway Learning and my day job.
When not working or volunteering, I love travelling, hiking, lifting heavy weights, making delicious cocktails at home and growing edible flowers to garnish said cocktails.
What do you think of the Australian approach and attitude to education?
I think it can be a pretty mixed-bag and very dependent one where you live and your personal circumstances. I grew up in a regional town on the coast of Northern NSW and was very lucky to have parents and teachers that encouraged me to study hard from a very early age. I am acutely aware though that this is not everyone’s experience. The benefits of education – whether as a child or an adult – cannot be understated and I think there is more we can all do to ensure that learning is consistently encouraged.
Is there something you wish you knew?
So, so, so many things. Current top 5 include how to decipher and use a sewing pattern; basic car mechanics without the need to rely on YouTube videos; Greek mythology; fluent French and basic accounting.
Have you ever failed at something at first, but eventually excelled after perseverance?
I have failed first time at just about everything I’ve ever tried – doesn’t everybody? I’m not sure there’s anything I would say that I have gone on to excel at but there are many things that I am kind of ok at, thoroughly enjoy and strive to get better at all the time. One example is this thing I am involved in called Girevoy Sport (aka throwing a Kettlebell around non-stop for 10 mins). I started out barely able to swing 8kg more than a few times, let alone for 10 mins. I’ve since gone on to participate in a few competitions and am working on reaching 10 mins with 16kg.