Chance or destiny... you decide!

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Friday 11 August 2023

Oh my gosh! It’s been a month since we were at the HERDSA Conference 2023 in sunny Brisbane. I certainly had a blast! 555 conference delegates, exciting pre-conference workshops, just over 180 new members, hosting the scrumptious buddies’ breakfast, attending the inspiring keynote addresses, showcase and round table presentations, and taking time to swan around the posters showcasing innovative research project findings, new thinking, and not forgetting breaking the academic Nutbush dance record at the conference dinner!

It's very apparent we are in a new era … a takeover by the new generation HERDSA members with a significant increase in the number discipline academics. Perhaps it’s thanks to TEQSA’s emphasis on academic scholarship and engagement (she says tongue-in-cheek) and where better to evidence-base your engagement than at the HERDSA conference.

Shared at the HERDSA AGM in July, we are implementing the HERDSA Connect transition plan. As President, I get to initiate another first… writing the first blog. The HERDSA Connect Blog is aimed to inspire, connect and inform our community and beyond, through sharing and discussion of contemporary issues, innovative ideas and practices, projects, resources, research and celebrating success.

So how do I feel about writing the first HERDSA Connect blog? Excited? Yes! Nervous? Maybe, you be the judge!

It was delightful to meet familiar HERDSA folk and members of the inaugural MACS (Mentoring and Coaching Support) program

I must share … there was elated Linda: “Hey, guess what? … “(she interrupts me during an intense chat with the ICED President who had travelled half-way across the world) … “I got the job! I got the job! I was successful…” Was I surprised?

Truth be told, Linda was ‘hard work’, getting HER to believe she was qualified enough, experienced enough, and it was the right thing to do. “Apply (I coaxed her), what do you have to lose? … if nothing else you would have a chance to practice writing your promotion application to level D, check out alternative criteria and see how you stacked up against another uni’s criteria!” In my gut I knew she would land the job … and you know what, Linda did not have to apply for promotion to level D!

After landing the job, Linda was still putting up barriers: the position was interstate, she would have to move (of course she would have to), she did not know anyone there, where would she live? Linda was still protesting she was not good enough! Imposter syndrome, big time! Sound familiar?

As Linda’s coach, it was my responsibility to ‘push’ her just beyond her comfort zone. Firm and focused! I pulled the destiny card! “Why allow this opportunity to pass you by? Allow the Divine to work its magic! If it’s meant to be, it will be! Be grateful for the gifts coming your way!” I left Linda with a huge decision to make but with the assurance that whatever she chose was going to be the correct decision. So far everything had been easy… the Universe had done its part!

That same afternoon, I received an email letting me know that Linda had attended a presentation at the conference, had tweeted about it, thereby striking up a chance connection with a fellow researcher seeking participants. Long story, short… Linda was invited to come live in her home which was currently vacant.

It takes effort, focus and courage to apply for promotion, a new job, move institution, state or even country. Some of us have done it, been knocked back, been promoted into jobs we were not ready for (faked it, till we made it).

So, what’s been your experience in higher education? Has it been an easy road to navigate? Did you have sponsors who supported you? Was it through your network? Or was it your charisma and passion that got you to where you are now? How are you now giving back?

Prof Kogi Naidoo, HERDSA President


The HERDSA Connect Blog offers comment and discussion on higher education issues; provides information about relevant publications, programs and research and celebrates the achievements of our HERDSA members.


HERDSA Connect links members of the HERDSA community in Australasia and beyond by sharing branch activities, member perspectives and achievements, book reviews, comments on contemporary issues in higher education, and conference reflections.


Members are encouraged to respond to articles and engage in ongoing discussion relevant to higher education and aligned to HERDSA’s values and mission.   Contact Katrina Strampel to propose an article for the HERDSA Connect blog.


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