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LUMES alumni Georgia Verkuylen's path to become a reporting analyst

LUMES alumni Georgia Verkuylen, graduated from the LUMES programme in 2018. Today, she works as a Reporting Analyst in Australia. In this interview, you can read about her career pathway and what skills and experiences from the LUMES progamme she values the most in her current job.

What do you do today? Where do you work, and what is your position?

I work at GreenCollar. My position is Reporting Analyst, where I manage the reporting for approximately 200 projects registered under the Australian Emissions Reduction Fund. My organisation essentially develops and manages projects that generate carbon offsets under environmental markets. 

How did the path towards your current job look like?

I came to LUMES with about five years prior experience in energy efficiency and moving into this organisation was strategic as I recognised that it was in a growth industry (carbon offsets). The energy efficiency industry did not have too much certainty or longevity in it due to policy decisions. There's not a lot of opportunity in Australia for environmental jobs, and what there is it is very competitive, so this played into the decision as well. 

What were the most important skills you learnt in the LUMES programme?

I benefited the most  from the critical perspective that Social theory offered me.

I also felt that the Knowledge to Action project provided me a pedagogical approach and amplified my ability to communicate information, and understand how learning and change occurs in people. 

Additionally, the ability to work with lots of different types of people towards a goal was really important. Having to work collaboratively, where the goal or the end grade was not the focus reflects the real world.

The ability to work as a team and see how you can get the most out of the team's dynamic was incredibly valuable for my people management skills and has helped me advance a number of issues I face in my day to day job.

The constant presentations of newly learned subject matter was incredibly helpful to my confidence and overall communication ability. 

How do you use these skills today?

The critical thinking honed at LUMES today allows me to pull apart problems into their key parts and understand how they relate and apply to the big picture. This allows me to communicate to junior staff and also to senior management, adjusting my message according to my audience. 

I work with a lot of data and I have the confidence to be able to articulate conclusions based on my whole LUMES experience. 

What sustainability challenges do you work with?

Our organisation harnesses nature based solutions to protect and rehabilitate ecosystems. Largely, our projects incentivise landholders of huge parcels of land not to clear their land. While we do use the market based instruments to achieve our outcomes, there is very little action being taken by the Australian government and projects like ours have successfully injected millions of corporate money into water quality improvement and biodiversity conservation. 

What is your best memory from the LUMES programme?

I found the discussions we would have within our batch incredibly thought provoking and really challenging. I loved the immersion of the whole experience, it really allowed me to get the most from the experience. 

What advice would you give to current/future LUMES students?

Enjoy the whole experience because you won't realise just how valuable this experience is until long into your career.