National Partnerships, Events & Business Development Manager, Graeme Dingle Foundation
Master of Business Administration student
Bachelor of Communication Studies
She loves working for an organisation that is changing the lives of children who don’t start out with the best support system, says Stephanie Brown who now works at the Graeme Dingle Foundation.
“The Graeme Dingle Foundation is a leading child and youth development charity, with 26,000 children in 40 regions across Aotearoa in our programmes every year. We have big plans to keep reaching more children and changing their life for the better. I head up the National Partnerships team, which means finding new partners and working with existing partnerships, which are a key part in funding our programmes.
“I feel so incredibly lucky to be there, and to be a part of trying to help more children. If I do well at my job, more children have access to the programmes and tools that can help them achieve more in life, and that’s an amazing feeling. Every ‘win’ is truly a win for New Zealand.”
Stephanie joined the Graeme Dingle Foundation in early 2021 after a busy decade that took her to London and Melbourne, and from working as a journalist to a successful career as a corporate sales and events manager at Spark Arena.
“Landing my current role has been one of my proudest achievement. There were more than 150 applicants for the role, many much older and with more experience. I enjoy now being on the senior leadership team, managing a team, getting to use my skillset, and working with a fantastic team for a fantastic charity. I’m really proud that I’ve managed to get a job I enjoy so much.”
The right university environment
For Stephanie, the first step towards her rewarding career was enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Communication Studies; a qualification she completed in 2010.
“Communication studies covered all the things I was interested in at high school – journalism, PR, TV and media studies. I also loved that in the first two years of the degree we did lots of different courses, and in our third year we specialised with a major and a minor. I loved that the courses in the communications degree were so practical and interactive, and we didn’t just learn in big lecture halls like at other universities.”
Having thoroughly enjoyed her undergraduate degree, Stephanie has now returned to AUT and is studying a Master of Business Administration part-time in addition to her work at the Graeme Dingle Foundation.
“In 2019, I decided I was ready for the next step in my career, but I felt that I was missing some key business skills to be able to move up in my career. I started looking at postgraduate business study options and researched all the unis in Auckland. AUT’s course structure really suited me; with classes on Monday to Thursday evenings from 6pm to 9pm. I also like the flexibility – you can do two courses in one term if your work isn’t too busy or you can skip a semester if you like.
“What I love most about the MBA are the small classes and being able to do some assignments on aspects of your job. This makes the MBA learnings so applicable to everyday life and also benefits me in my career.”
Advice for other students
Stephanie’s advice for other students is simple: relax.
“Do what you enjoy, and the best job for you will come around eventually. Your first job won’t be your dream job; you’ll likely try your hand at many different roles or industries before finding one you love. You don’t need to know what you want to do forever right now.”
Never stop learning, she adds.
“Work hard, always put your hand up for more projects, learn new skills, and things will work out for the best.”