10 years at the AUA
Ric Carr MAUA
What drew you to the AUA to begin with?
It was so different to what I had been doing for the last few years and I really wanted a change of direction and scenery. My previous role was working as a Leisure Attendant at the University of Manchester’s busy sports, exhibition and recreation centre; a far cry from your classic nine to five. I was trained in nearly all aspects of the site, so could cover most job roles. It involved lots of shift work, late nights and weekends, so I was on the lookout for something with more routine hours and saw an advertisement to apply for a position at AUA. I applied, never thinking I would be here 10 years later!
What was your first role here?
My first role at the AUA was front of house Administrative Assistant, progressing to Communications and Events Administrator then onto Third Party Services and Communications Officer. I now oversee most of AUA’s events as Events Manager. I have always been process driven and worked across multiple teams, so can see how I’ve naturally gravitated towards running events and working with our third party clients.
What has been the biggest change during your time here?
Apart from my hairline, I would say the biggest change has been the sector itself. There seems to have been a shift in the way people within the sector focus on value, lean thinking, processes, analysing income/expenditure and generally utilising any resources around them to work as effectively and efficiently as possible. No doubt this has always been the case, but it does feel much more apparent these days than ever before.
What are you most proud of/what has been your biggest achievement at the AUA?
Professionally – Leading on the coordination of the AUA Annual Conference and Exhibition. I am currently working on the fine detail and logistics for the 2019 Conference which will be the forth one I have led on. Despite working many similar sized events over the years, the AUA Annual Conference and Exhibition is the largest team effort I have witnessed. It’s hard to quantify how many different people feed into the planning and it’s great to see it all come together. It’s a real testament to all those involved with the AUA and showcases what a huge and inclusive network of people can achieve when working together.
Personally – becoming a dad. I have two beautiful girls (two and five) who have turned my life upside down for the better (let’s not mention the sleep side of things!). Seeing them both develop, learn and absorb the world around them never fails to amaze me. They make me so very proud every day.
Complete this sentence: If I didn’t work at the AUA, my dream job would be …
Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a pilot. The extreme engineering and capabilities of today’s fighter jets is astonishing and something that has always mesmerised me. I have always been a big ‘petrol head’ and love anything that involves speed and adrenaline, so what better job could there be?
Kathy Murray MAUA
Director of Operations
A milestone anniversary inevitably starts a process of looking back and thinking about the time that has been and gone, recalling where you were and how you felt then compared to now, revisiting, and perhaps resetting ambitions and goals.
When I reflect on the ten years I have work at the AUA, it sounds a bit cheesy, but I feel grateful. Grateful for the all the ‘firsts’ I’ve experienced here, like my first management role; I joined the AUA as Communications and Operations Manager, like my first international work trip; I went to Washington to learn from our colleagues at AACRAO in 2017.
I like working for an organisation whose purpose is to support the professional development of others and I really value the sense of community at the AUA. We are a tight knit community of 12 in Manchester but we are part of a much bigger team made up of the 300 members who volunteer to help us deliver the opportunities and activities of membership. I’m also grateful for the encouragement and support I’ve had to develop a career on a path, it feels like, I found accidentally.
While these are stand out moments and reasons, the everyday things are equally as important to me. It is a fast paced environment; new things are always developing, making it an interesting place to work but ultimately, working at the AUA with the team in Manchester is fun. Everyone looks out for each other and even when the pressure is on; it’s a team effort that gets us through. Plus everyone at the AUA can make a cup of tea, an essential quality of a colleague in my opinion.
There has been loads of positive change. I shudder when I think back to the paper based system we used to manage conference bookings or the pink and blue website we had. Things have definitely become more efficient in the back office with the investment in the new CRM system, and members have a much richer online experience today following the development of the Forums and My AUA area. Thankfully the new branding reflects the AUA today and is much easier on the eye!
If I wasn’t working at the AUA, I’d probably be working somewhere else in higher education having come from within the sector to the AUA. If I had my time again I would have never dropped A’ Level Biology and would be a physiotherapist, nurse or some kind of medical professional in the NHS. Would I be happier in another role, a different sector, who knows? I may never have been part of such a fantastic team if I had chosen a different path. People move on, but the AUA team culture remains, we’ve worked hard to create it and it’s what I’m most proud of if I’m honest.