VC Leadership Awards
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It is quite an honor, obviously, to be getting a leadership award. But I think it's even more significant because it sets a standard that RMIT where leadership is recognized. Being originally from India, information technology and computing was the craze. But my question was, why don't I learn how to build a computer instead? Then it doesn't matter what I program it with, I can always control how a computer is made.
I spent quite a bit of time leading the design studio program at RMIT, particularly working with venturous or progressive design practices. I was interested in being discipline leader at RMIT, because I had a sense of the importance of making dynamic, creative environments where students, staff, the profession, the industry, our partners, could come together to start to shape the future of our discipline.
What led me to my position at RMIT was, after spending 25, 27 years in the private sector working in property-based firms, I thought it's ... I drifted further away from what I call core property, so maintaining things, real estate transactions, building buildings, and have more gone into supply chain, cost down, mergers, acquisitions, more corporate roles. I basically woke up one morning and thought, "What do I really enjoy doing? I actually really want to get back to running a property portfolio. Actually, this is a really exciting role, this is a role where you can actually make a little bit of a difference, you can bring your private sector expertise into the education sector, which is transforming and changing, and actually in some ways make a bit of a difference on people's lives, on the quality of their educations with the facilities.
I was particularly moved, I think, by the citation for the award that talked about leading the discipline. I think it said, "With authority and humility and supporting others to be their best selves." There was something quite moving, I think, being recognized within your own organization.
Any nomination process is valuable, because it's a time for self-reflection. So it lets you evaluate what you're good at, where your weaknesses lay, and actually being self-reflective is actually a hallmark of a leader.
Winning this award basically is a recognition of the hard work that myself, but more importantly, the team that I've had the privilege to lead, has actually put into the university since I've been here over the last three years. It's that recognition that we're on the right path. It's that recognition that our peers and our community acknowledge that what we've done is of value to them.
I think we want to create change and actually make impact, which is one of our major strategy goals. It needs leadership, and leadership is very distinct from management, 'cause in leadership you actually build a team around you rather than just try and get things done.
I would certainly encourage people to nominate their colleagues, particularly where they recognize excellent and impactful leadership.