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La Trobe Business School

Tag: Cancer Council

Jessica Derham: “Students raised more than $100,000 for charity in ten years”

Jess Derham Event Management La Trobe Business School

Every year, La Trobe Business School students organize events for their ‘Event Project’ capstone subject, as an assessment. We spoke to Elspeth Frew and Jessica Derham, – who coordinate and teach in the Event Management degree, – about this year’s events, student’s experiences and how the subjects helps students crucial event management skills.

You teach in the event management degree. Can you tell us something more about the course, and what students have to organise as part of their assessment?

The degree is a three year business degree, including four core subjects, eight event-related subjects, a number of electives, and industry experience like work placements or volunteering. There is also an opportunity for students to go on exchange after their first year, or take part in international field trips.

All students study a major in Event Management which includes the capstone subject Event Project. In the third year of the Event Management degree, students have the opportunity to conceptualise, plan, operate and evaluate a fund raising event where all proceeds are donated to either the Cancer Council of Victoria (for Bundoora students) or the OTIS Foundation (for Bendigo students). This subject has generated in excess of $100,000 in donations to these charities over 10 years. Each month students are encouraged to engage in event volunteering activities to allow them to gain valuable event related experience and to reinforce the importance of volunteers for the operation and survival of important community events. The uniqueness of this assessment places students in a real world environment, with the same challenges event planners deal with on a daily basis. For example, they need to consider sponsorship opportunities, organising all the logistical event, managing a budget, balancing the needs of several stakeholders and working in a team. All are very important skills to learn, which are developing our graduates into future event leaders. This has been demonstrated with one of the previous leaders in the subject, Kate Taylor, who went on to work for Cancer Council Victoria as the Events Team Coordinator. Her role included overseeing Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and the Girls’ Night In events.

What are some of the most original events students have come up with over the years?

Over the years, students have organised events that ranged from movie nights and art sales to yoga events and clothing swaps. There are approximately 18-20 students involved in running different events, each has a team leader and organises an event of their own devising.

This year, five student groups have been asked to each organise something. The first event was a movie night and took place on the 21st of October. The night included free samples from Pancake Parlour and a photo booth, as well as a speech from a Cancer Council representative who spoke about the benefits to any donation received.

The event was very well attended, and students raised more than $1800 for Cancer Council!

La Trobe Business School works with a number of organisations for this course. What are some of the partnering institutions LBS has worked with? And how long for?

We have strong ties with government and industry in Melbourne’s north and in the Bendigo area established via our field visits, guest speakers and internship programs. These internships provide our students with the opportunity to work in the T,H&E sector for 100 hours per semester with private businesses, local councils and not for profit organisations.

The Tourism, Hospitality and Events discipline has had partnerships with the following institutions over the last  few years:

In 2015 we also have students completing internships with La Trobe Accommodation Services, the Eagle Bar, the City Campus and, the Wildlife Sanctuary.

How do you think this hands-on assessment helps students gain the skills they need to go out into the workforce later on?

The T,H&E degrees contains vocational types of assessment such as reports, presentations, press releases and strategic plans to ensure students have experience of these workplace practices before graduation. In several T,H&E subjects, career aspects have been embedded into the curriculum such as applying for a fictional T,H&E job and responding to key selection criteria. In third year students attend a Careers Seminar lead by the University Careers and Employability Service where they are provided with guidance on how to make a smooth transition to the workforce. Students are also invited to attend a farewell event in the last week of second semester, where they are encouraged to become members of the Alumni of La Trobe.

When asking students how they felt about the subject, the response are overwhelmingly positive. In the words of a student: “For me, the highlight of the subject was the practical, real-world experience. You can read a text book and try to apply the theory but the ups and downs, the challenges such as time management, task delegation, team communication and actually having to trust and rely on others, that was what made my experience pure and real.”  She noted that the subject bares a hefty work load and requires a lot of time and dedication, but she was happy once she completed the subject. “We didn’t want to give up and now we feel we have really achieved something.”

La Trobe Business School is looking forward to the 2016 edition of these events!

 

Kate Doughty’s advice to Business School Students: “Do what makes you happy, and always set goals.”

Kate Doughty La Trobe Business School
Kate Doughty is an Australian elite athlete, motivational speaker, mentor and registered psychologist. Kate represented Australia at several international equestrian events, including the World Equestrian Games. She has recently been collaborating with La Trobe Business School students to support several charity events benefiting organisations like Cancer Council Victoria.

Less than 12 months ago, Kate made the dramatic change to Triathlon. Kate is now positioned 3rd in the ITU World Para-Triathlon rankings. In the following interview, Kate reflects on her outstanding career and also has some words of advice for Business Students.

When did you get involved in professional horse riding?

I always loved horses. My mother used to ride horses as a young child and retired from the sport when she moved up to the city to pursue her career in the stock market in her early 20’s. My father is also been involved in the industry, but from a horse racing perspective so it was in my blood. I always had a dream of representing my country at the Paralympics, so for me (being born with out a right hand) if I wanted to attempt this in the equestrian sport of dressage, it meant I had to figure out how to hold the reins. To ride at the highest level and to compete for my country, I had to learn how to ride with 4 reins. This was years of trial and error as a child, however I was selected to represent Aus at an International level in 2006, and successfully competed at this level up to and including the World Equestrian Games, in the USA in 2010, before I retired.

You recently made a dramatic change to triathlon. What inspired you to switch directions professionally?

 Less than 12 months ago, I made the dramatic change to triathlon. This was an ambition born from personal loss, with the death of my mother spurring me to make a fresh start within a new sport. Unexpectedly, the results of this transition have been astonishing as I am now positioned 3rd in the ITU World Para-Triathlon rankings. I never lost sight of one day representing my country at the Paralympics, however it just happens to be in a sport I would have never believed possible… I now firmly have my eyes set on winning Gold at RIO, 2016.

What are your Triathlon plans for the coming year?

 After winning Bronze at my first World Championships in October this year, all training is focused on selection for RIO Paralympics. I am almost there, however I need to win or podium at the following races early 2016 (no pressure!): Nationals (QLD) in January, Oceania Championships (Tas) in February, and two international races to be held in Aus in April. This will solidify my spot on the team and ultimately allow me to live my dream of competing at the Paralympics.

One of your current projects is your new skincare line, Nx2, focussing on a natural line of products and ingredients. What inspired to you start this project?

Nx2 is born from a very special and memorable part of my life. My mother, who was my mentor and best friend, taught my many interesting things about wholefoods and super-foods, which we are now seeing everywhere… my mother became one of the first accredited ‘raw’ food chefs in Australia, however sadly was unable to live her dream of opening a café and wholefoods store after loosing her battle with breast cancer in 2010. Sharing my mother’s passion for health, organic food, and awareness of protecting the body from the harsh realities of everyday living, I soon became aware that it is not only what we put IN our body, but also what we put ON our body that matters. Our largest organ in our body is our skin. By acting as an interface between the outside world and our internal bodies, the skin plays a very active part in protecting our internal world. Nx2 utilises the benefits of natural ingredients by supplying nurturing skin products. Nx2 products assist with the optimal functioning of your skin against external influences, as well as penetrating the skin to nurture your body internally. From Nature, to nurture, made with love.

How did you get involved with the La Trobe Business School Students and what compelled you to help them?

I have been a university student for many years, and I know what it is like when it comes to needing support and assistance. I was more than happy to help out after a friend who is associated with La Trobe approached me.

How do you think management students, and managers in general, can integrate the values you advocate in the nx2 line (an emphasis on natural ingredients and personal health) in their daily lives? Do you think this is something they should keep in mind when organising events and finding suppliers etc?

Just to keep in mind what your ‘take home message’ is. Make sure that you get involved with events and suppliers that inspire you, that you are passionate about, and that you are keen to become an advocate for. I also believe inspiration; passion and advocacy should fuel our activities and choices we make daily.

Have you got any advice for Business School students, to overcome academic and personal challenges?

Do what makes you happy. Always set goals. Life will bring challenges, but if you do what you love, and have goals to strive for, you will get there. Don’t hurry life, and be open to opportunities, especially when you least expect them.

For more information on Kate’s career, see her M5 Management profile. For more information on NX2 Skincare products, visit the NX2 website.

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