When Natasha Read enrolled to study a postgraduate business degree at USC, she brought some unique professional experience to the table.
In between assignments, Natasha was helping to oversee the University’s financial reporting and management as a member of the USC Audit and Risk Management Committee.
More than a decade later, and with a completed Master of Business Administration under her belt, she now serves on USC’s governing body, the University Council.
Natasha said her initial involvement with USC – then one small campus with only 5,246 students – was driven by a desire to contribute to the future of education in the region.
“At the time I wasn’t a USC graduate, but I had sat on a number of other boards and committees, including the board of the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE,” she said.
“I was quite passionate about supporting further education on the Sunshine Coast, so when I was approached to join the Audit and Risk Management Committee it seemed like a good fit.
“It was an interesting opportunity for me, because I had a human resource background and at the time was working in general management role, and often I would be the only person in the Committee meetings who wasn’t an accountant.”
She soon decided to upgrade her professional skills through USC’s MBA – a move that was well received by USC’s then Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Paul Thomas.
“When I started studying, he jokingly said, ‘Oh good – you’re finally doing something useful, instead of just hanging around all the time’,” she said.
Natasha completed her MBA part-time while working in management, and graduated in 2009.
She is now General Manager of Community Solutions, a subsidiary of the Endeavour Foundation, where she is responsible for a number of portfolios, including the organisation’s readiness for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
In 2010, she was invited to join the University Council as the alumni representative. She is also a foundation member of USC’s 1996 Society.
“I saw it as a way of applying my skills to give back,” she said. “Everyone likes to have opinions about education, but they don’t necessarily involve themselves in seeing those ideas become reality.
“To be able to play an active role in what education looks like for my family, and my community, is really meaningful to me. It does require a high level of commitment, but in a community like ours you get to live and breathe the outcome.”