You grew up in Mount Isa, how did you first hear about MSF?
I first heard about MSF sitting in a university class in Townsville. I was at the end of my journalism degree and had no idea what to do with my life, after already completing an electrical apprenticeship, and a diploma in marine engineering. A good friend of mine from Giru said ‘you should work for MSF’ ... so I Googled them and instantly fell in love with the logistician job description on the website. I applied to MSF a week later.
What motivated you to do humanitarian work?
Initially I would say it was more the idea of the adventure and the challenge that motivated me to work for MSF, and that side did not disappoint. Then as I progressed in MSF and was more engaged with operations, I realised the huge impact MSF was having. When I returned home and carried out my more regular job, I found it hard to justify staying and my mind would always wander to my previous assignment and how satisfying it was.
I realised that I enjoyed the humanitarian work more than my “day job” and on top of that I was having a positive impact on the world and helping people that really needed it. Soon MSF became my career, and I never looked back.
You had a very varied career before you joined MSF, training as an electrician and then studying journalism and working for the ABC. What skills from your previous roles did you bring to MSF?
I had never envisaged working in the humanitarian sector growing up, or even in my early 20’s. I enjoyed technical environments and problem-solving, which led me to do electrical and engineering studies. I also had an interest in global affairs, which led me to journalism, along with a love for travel. MSF saw potential in these two vastly different professions, which led to me finding a job that I absolutely loved, and that ticked all of the boxes.
I’m not even sure I realised that my career within the humanitarian section when I applied for MSF over ten years ago. It dawned on me during my second or third assignment how relevant my previous skills became. Some years later, when I decided that humanitarian work would be my main role, I decided to study a masters in disaster management at the University of Copenhagen, and this helped me to ‘professionalise’ my occupation.