Meet Rebecca Harcourt

172 Rebecca

Who’s your Mob?

I was born on Kaurna country (Adelaide, SA). My family’s Celtic and Jewish ancestry is a mix of Scottish, Irish, French, English, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian and Transylvanian. My grandfather and grand-uncle changed our surname from Harkowitz to Harcourt in the early 1900’s because of anti-Semitism. Our parents instilled in us the importance of respecting and valuing every person, even if you disagreed with them, and to fight all forms of discrimination. I have been very fortunate to grow up in a loving family with close family friends of many nationalities and cultural backgrounds. At Highgate primary school in the 1970s our Social Studies teacher invited many of the local Kaurna families to come and teach us and we also learnt much about the impact and intrusion experienced as a result of ‘Settler’ and ongoing government policies and practices.

Which university/TAFE (Campus) and or Indigenous Student Support Unit do you work for? 

I work at UNSW Australia at UNSW Business School and Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit.

What is your position and role at the university?

Program Manager, Indigenous Business Education and Editor of Nura Gili News.

What do you enjoy most about your role at the university and or Indigenous Student Support Unit?

The transformation of our Indigenous students as they grow in confidence, agility and business acumen, whilst equally continuing to draw on their strengths as proud Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander people. Learning and collaborating to develop and facilitate forums, workshops and extended programs, including through our outreach programs with young Indigenous students from years 5- 12 with ASPIRE and/or Nura Gili; here with our undergraduate and postgraduate students  at UNSW Business School and also with Senior Executives such as our recent partnership with AGSM Executive Education and NSW Public Service Commission delivering the Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Program.

What has been a highlight of your career at this university?

Playing a part to help build a strong and proud community of practice, with great leadership  by our Indigenous business students and alumni as they continue to foster innovative and impactful ways through business,  in its widest sense, to help create prosperous, sustainable and better lives for many.

What advice would you give someone considering studying at university?

Believe in yourself, draw on support, ask questions, choose widely, identify where your passions lie, work hard, seek advice, come and experience the opportunities available first-hand through the many programs and avenues available across the country, such as our UNSW Indigenous pre programs in Business, Education, Medicine,  Law or Social Work and /or our UNSW Indigenous Admissions scheme.

What advice would you give someone studying a business related degree at university?

As above, but also navigate the core courses first, especially the more challenging ones for you, as these are often the cornerstones of your business degree. These provide a solid foundation from which you can build and stretch yourself, whilst pursuing the areas of specialisations which foster your interest and passions and with which you can develop further in your professional career. Build on opportunities to develop new skills and experiences while you study, including internships, professional mentoring,  engaging with student societies,  undertaking  international exchanges to study or further research or participate in conferences. Take your time, work hard, get balance and ensure you get down time. Draw on all the support you can to foster and build your own capabilities and independence. Never underestimate the importance of networking!

 What do you like to do in your spare time?

Catch up with family and friends, walk along the beach, jump in the sea, dance, have fun, travel and be adventurous.

Favourite food?

Two of my favourite dishes are Ackee and Saltfish and Curry Goat which were first introduced to me by my former partner and his family, who are Jamaican. I was lucky enough to go twice to Jamaica with them and I’ll never forget his Mum’s cooking as it deliciously melted in your mouth.

I’m always being asked…

To slow down and finish my sentences! I often get overexcited with too many ideas rapidly firing through my mind all at once.  Back when I was at university I remember a friend saying if I ever finished my sentences the secrets of the universe would be uncovered! Ironically, although I’m an extrovert, I also need lots of ‘me time’,  quiet space to be still and reconnect.

Best bit of advice ever given to you?

Back yourself.

Indigenous Business Success from Winter School to Graduation