The University of Waikato will open its new Tauranga CBD campus in Durham Street in 2019. Christa George’s role as Associate Director of the Tauranga Campus Development, is to ensure that when it opens it is a fully functional campus that delivers a quality University of Waikato student experience. In essence it’s a role that involves students, staff, student services and operational services – it’s a broad and interesting job!
She is project managing a whole range of activities and services that are required in the new campus building, but none of the staff she liaises with actually report to her. Therefore, leading and cajoling staff from a position of influence has been a challenging aspect of her role, however, when results have been achieved it’s actually one of the most rewarding for her too.
Prior to this position, Christa has had three previous careers which have all stair-cased each other as she has always had the drive to learn and take on more. She started off as a secretary in a bank, then taught in an Institute of Technology. Whilst she was lecturing, she was shoulder-tapped by someone to apply for a middle management role, as they saw the potential in her. She took a leap of faith into management and has never looked back, as she now sees it as such a natural fit. Latterly, she has been working at strategic management level within the tertiary sector both in New Zealand and overseas. It is this range of experience that has equipped her for her current role.
Christa believes that our career paths are a mix of what we purposefully plan and opportunities that come our way. Her advice to others is be clear what your career goals are and involve others in your quest. She emphasizes networks are important for giving alternative views, opening doors and also for moral support.
Christa loves to have a goal, she enjoys detail and likes to succeed with a quality outcome. What drives her is meeting the end goal whilst bringing everyone along on the journey with her. Relationships are very important to her and she believes in treating everyone the way that she would like to be treated.
Outside of work, her passion is ‘paying-back’ as a member of the Rotary Club of Papamoa and next year she will be kept busy in the role of President! Also, after a ten year break she has just taken up playing badminton again and apart from a few aching muscles is really enjoying it.
Once Christa has finished her current role she will then be looking for her next project/challenge. As the Bay positions itself to cope with exponential growth demands she believes there will be many opportunities for businesses and for career changers to think about what the future might hold for them.