Tricia is the founder of Virtual Intern, a digital platform that connects the next generation of workers to their future work, via digital work experience. As a behaviour change designer, working with over 35,000 students in career readiness, alongside a Foundation for Young Australians Social Pioneer and finalist in Women Leading Tech and NSW iAwards for digital innovation, Tricia is committed to redesigning and remoulding the traditional ‘career pipeline’. In response to rising unemployment and uncertainty, Tricia is cultivating a sector-wide Hunter ecosystem that activates and sustains the next generation, not only preparing youth for a changing world of work but also careers that do not yet exist.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
Although I have, in the past, attempted to achieve that ‘work-life’ balance that you see in glossy office photoshoots, I have realised that life doesn’t fit neatly into work and non-work (especially in COVID). Instead, I have found the balance in a blend – this means that, while I don’t always have specific set times to focus on work or life stuff, I know that I can have a little of both to even my day out. This could look like taking a meeting while I go for a walk or having a space in my workplace where I can completely disconnect from tech and read a book.
What three words best describe you?
Curious, solution-focused, buffy-fangirl.
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
Dwight from the Office.
Where do you see your industry heading and how have you positioned yourself to benefit from these changes?
The career-readiness industry still has a ‘business as usual’ or ‘death by powerpoint’ feel. My main driver is to change the training or career sector so that young people can be part of the process rather than its receivers. This requires providing early experiences where a genuine awareness of the industries is built via the opportunity to contribute and collaborate on real-world projects. While technology is not the solution, it will be an increasingly useful tool to provide students and businesses with accessible training experiences. We have positioned ourselves within this tech-learning space to ensure we can continue driving this change.
What motivates and drives you?
The stories of people who I design and build for.
What characteristics do you think an individual needs to be successful in your profession (or in general)?
When it comes to career readiness, I think there can be an assumption that whoever has been in the profession the longest knows best. When you are designing anything for young people it is essential that they have not only a seat but a voice at the table. To do this you need to be an active listener, put ego aside and be flexible to adapt to the needs of your customers.
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Starting a new venture and hiring the next generation of career-readiness experts to take over Virtual Intern.
How do you define success?
Getting to a point where you have a community sharing and owning your vision
What local professionals have had a significant influence on your career and what have you learnt from them?
Michelle Crawford (HR extraordinaire who played a huge role in helping me see the human first when I design or problem solve.) Craig Eardley (Craig completely changed my communication style and helped me use the power of simple storytelling to project Virtual Intern’s mission). Siobhan Curran (Manage of the I2N at UoN). Siobhan introduced me to the power of genuine collaboration (hint: it works and it gets you way further than you thought)
What advice would you give to someone five years younger than you, in any industry, to help them achieve success?
When you are thinking about entering the job market ‘coffee with purpose’ is much more valuable than countless interviews. I really like the quote by Hamza Khan “if you ask for a job, you’ll get advice. And if you ask for advice you’ll eventually get a job.” When kicking off your career paths it is essential that you keep asking questions from the people whose space you want to play in. Not only will this give you actionable strategies, it will ensure that when an opportunity presents itself, your name is at the forefront of their minds.