Meet the Team: Steph

Steph is a Board Member of Laneway Learning.

How did you get involved with Laneway Learning?

When I moved to Melbourne from the UK in 2014, Laneway Learning was one of the first things I stumbled on as a way to get into the community, meet new people and try my hand at different skills. I quickly jumped into teaching classes including meal planning, bread making 101 and slow cooker basics.

In late 2018 when I saw the Laneway crew were looking for new board members I jumped at the chance to apply my skills and expertise towards the future of the organisation.

What is it about Laneway Learning that appeals to you?

I love the idea that anyone can teach something, and also the variety of classes – meaning I had an avenue to not only share some ‘other’ skills I have, but also get a taster of some new techniques without having to sign my life away with a long series of classes. I’ve brought international visitors to classes too as it makes a great evening activity (and is VERY Melbourne!).

What is your professional background?

I’m a ‘recovering’ accountant who pivoted my career to learning and development and facilitation. I moved to Australia in July 2014 from the UK as part of my role at EY where I led one of their Oceania learning and development teams. In 2018 I started my business where I facilitate workshops and experiences to build team/organisational cultures, help teams become more high performing and work out their purpose.

What other things are you involved in?

I am a lifelong bookworm and host the podcast Steph’s Business Bookshelf where I distill the best non-fiction/business books into their three big ideas.

I’m also part of a cookbook club (Too Many Cooks) where each month we cook from a different cookbook and create a fantastic meal from all the different recipes. We’ve been going for three years and still love the connection, conversation and calories we indulge in together each month.

When I’m not reading books or cooking you’ll find me in the gym, a pilates studio, getting out on a hike or on a plane to tick off another country from my bucket list, watching live music or listening to an epic Spotify playlist – music is definitely my drug of choice.

A very excited me holding my signed Ottolenghi cookbook after meeting him in Melbourne.

What do you think of the Australian approach and attitude to education?

I’m still regularly surprised by the continuing (over)reliance on Universities for education in Australia, especially in more emerging fields. There are so many innovative providers of solid education who are sometimes more up to date, agile and job-specific – plus often more affordable and less of a time commitment, meaning people can get into the workplace and apply these skills immediately.

I feel we still have a long way to go in teaching people ‘how to learn’, not just ‘how to be taught’ – your success in the future of work depends on your ability to (1) curate your own ongoing learning journey (2) know when you’re learning and (3) learn across domains and disciplines – not just your ability to go and sit in another classroom.

Is there something you wish you knew?

So many things! Another language (properly, not just my GCSE French and German that I roll-out on holiday), calligraphy / hand lettering and the piano are on my current list. Every year I set myself a ‘to learn’ list to keep my life-long-learning mantra on track.

Have you ever failed at something at first, but eventually excelled after perseverance?

Firstly, nobody starts good at anything so really everything is a result of constant practice. The most obvious example would be facilitation/presentations – I remember the first time I stood in front of a group to teach some accounting concepts in 2009 and I SUCKED. Improving my facilitation skills has been a very intentional investment over the last ten years and I’m pleased to report that it’s paid off.