Anna Nelson “dreams the dream” at AUT

Profile photo of Anna Nelson "I went to my director and said 'I want that'". And this is how 2011 Be. Alumni Anna Nelson got her job as Practice Manager – Disability Support at Auckland University of Technology. It is a strategic role, where she reimagines what support may look like to AUT's access students and staff, and in what direction this support may take going forward. "I get to dream the dream and make the magic happen".

After making her statement, Anna had a year to prove she was the right fit for the job by grabbing opportunities and giving everything a go, which helped when it came time to assign the role. Saying it out loud was the perfect motivation to keep herself motivated and keep her eye on the prize. "I tried not to overthink it as well. I kept it simple in my own mind and just went for it". It was more about having "no expectations but then receiving more than I asked for".

Even though Anna was on the Be. Leadership programme eight years ago, she says it was a "positive trigger" to help her on her journey to take up more leadership opportunities. "Something shifted inside and over the year you get the realisation that I'm not here just because. It's because there is a spark and for some people the programme ignites the spark". Over the years Anna has since taken on a number of leadership positions within Rainbow and the disability spaces. At AUT she also talks to lecturers and staff about accessibility and inclusion.

Anna says the trick to her success has always been to make it known that she was interested in the position. Her first job at Wintec lasted three years and she got that because she walked into the office and said 'I want that job' and her experience is 'my lifetime of me'.

"It doesn't hurt to stick around, get noticed and keep putting your hands up … 'Good things take time' is such a terrible cliché but actually it’s true. Be patient and trust in yourself".