It’s apt that Belinda Robinson, former CEO of Universities Australia, is on The CEO Magazine’s judging panel for its 2018 Executive of the year Awards – it’s the first year that the event will include the Education Executive of the Year category, recognising excellence among those who oversee the direction of Australia’s schools and universities.
There can be few more suited to helping select a winner in this category, given Universities Australia’s place in representing the tertiary education system.
The organisation pushes for public policy and investment to benefit universities across Australia, in turn allowing these institutions to produce well-qualified graduates.
For Belinda, having come from years in executive positions with private companies, the change to a not-for-profit organisation was challenging, but ultimately worthwhile.
“It was an adjustment,” she says, “but working for such a great and important cause that changes people’s lives and contributes such a lot to the nation is immensely satisfying.”
“Working for such a great and important cause that changes people’s lives and contributes such a lot to the nation is immensely satisfying.”
But even from an early age, Belinda understood the importance of learning and education. Her mother, who was a writer and teacher, taught her that lesson.
“My mum was a huge inspiration to me,” says Belinda. “She came from an exceptionally poor family but through entirely her own effort she won a scholarship to a very well-regarded Queensland grammar school where she was dux before she went on to study French and classics through a scholarship at Queensland University.”
Learning is at the heart of almost everything Belinda does. Even one of her favourite pieces of wisdom demonstrates this:
“Never blow the value of a mistake — mistakes are always chock-full of useful information that can make for a helpful guide for the future.”
Belinda has recently stepped down as CEO of Universities Australia after a lengthy tenure in the role.