Jayne Bryson FAUA, Executive Support Officer at Liverpool John Moores University

…talks to us about the benefits of being an AUA Fellow, some of the strangest jobs she’s had and her own personal philosophy.

Jayne's career story

How long have you worked in HE and what was your first position?

I took up my current post at Liverpool John Moores University in November 2015, where I am Executive Support Officer to the Director of Liverpool Screen School, which runs undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Journalism, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Media Production and Drama.   Although I have previous experience of the HE sector, as a student and also as a postgraduate tutor / researcher, this is in fact my first HE post, though I can’t for the life of me think why it’s taken me so long!

How has the AUA helped your career/development?

I completed the LJMU AUA CPD Programme in November 2016 and was awarded Fellowship in February this year. Enrolling on the programme was one of the best decisions I have made in my career to date (and I’ve been working for over 25 years so that’s saying something!).

I found the programme challenging, inspiring and extremely rewarding. Becoming a Fellow of the AUA was a great achievement but completing the programme was about so much more than this. The sessions themselves, together with the private study and research we were encouraged to undertake, provided an opportunity for self-reflection; as a result I now have a greater sense of self-awareness than I have ever had in my life until now; this has had a positive impact on my work and also on my personal life; my family and friends have all commented on how content, focused and motivated I have been since taking up my current post.

The AUA programme enabled me to recognise my strengths, to acknowledge my failings and to celebrate my achievements. At the end of the programme, each of us was asked to set a personal objective and decide what steps we would take in order to achieve it. Having been inspired by the sessions covering coaching and mentoring, my personal objective was to enroll on a two-day Coaching and Mentoring Programme. I completed the programme in February and have been mentoring a colleague based elsewhere in my Faculty for the past five months. This is something I really enjoy;  mentoring is true learning experience and this works both ways!  In terms of my career development, completing the AUA programme has left me in no doubt that HE is where I want to be and I feel confident that my own determination, together with the support of the AUA network, will enable me to follow whichever path I choose.

What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had (in or outside of HE) ?

When it comes to the weirdest job I’ve ever done, there’s a fair bit of competition.  However, I’d say spending an entire summer sticking flags to pieces of cardboard would come pretty near the top of my list!  At the time I was working for a company that designs and manufactures golf equipment, including pin flags.  Sticking the fabric to cardboard using spray paint had proved the only way to ensure the logos were printed clearly – and there were over 1000 flags to be printed!  Spending the summer in overalls getting hot and (quite literally!) sticky may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but the end product – a perfectly printed souvenir pin flag on sale at the Open Championship – made it all worthwhile.

What is the one thing you cannot resist?

I can’t resist black olives – I could easily devour a whole jar in one sitting!

What is your personal philosophy?

My personal philosophy is very simple;  if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it!


AUA career stories