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5 Minutes with Catriona McNaughton

· Catriona McNaughton,Staff Profile
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Catriona McNaughton

Communications Analyst

Which sport team do you support?

The All Blacks, it’s a pretty obvious choice when you are from New Zealand. I love that despite being from such a small nation they consistently hold their own on the world stage.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy cooking (the lazy Sunday dinner more than the post-work panic). I grew up in a family of fantastic cooks. I am not sure my dad has ever followed a recipe to the letter and my mum creates technically complex desserts without batting an eye. Being able to create a meal from almost nothing was particularly helpful in my student years and I like trying to recreate dishes I have overseas where you can’t always find a recipe.

What are three things left on your bucket list?

I have a huge bucket list of travel destinations, my top priorities at the moment are Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, Cambodia and Tanzania. I would also like to publish a book and learn to play the guitar.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Stop thinking you can plan out your future, instead just focus on the best decision you can at the time. There is no way anyone could have predicted the path I would take to where I am now, and sometimes having too detailed a plan means you don’t see the opportunities in front of you.

What event has changed your life?

In 2015 I took a trip through Java in Indonesia. I think it was the first time I had seen both real poverty and true community. The trip as a whole pushed by limits physically and mentally and definitely changed my perspective on life, what it means to work hard and how to appreciate what you have.

What was your first job?

I worked in an ice-skating rink cleaning, handing out skates and serving food. I never learnt to skate because after spending my shift in the cold dark building I wanted to get out to the light more than I wanted to enjoy the rink. I have been pragmatic about advertised work benefits ever since.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Knowing each day will be different. I can see how some people like the continuity and security of knowing exactly what they will face at work each day, but I like that I never really know. Having a client present a new challenge or finding a new way to solve a standard problem keeps it interesting.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

“Don’t believe he loves you until you’ve met his mother”. It was dating advice at the time, but I apply it to a lot of different scenarios now. To me it just means being cautious about acting on what someone tells you when they don’t have skin in the game.

What attracted you to your role?

When I moved to Melbourne I was looking for the opportunity to apply and expand my skill set and this role uses my skills in a new way. I was also keen to work in a smaller organisation where it is hands on across the board rather than larger companies where projects get split and delegated and an overall vision can get lost. It only took one month here to have far more insight into how government makes decisions than I did when I worked within the system.

Find our more about Catriona here: or check out her Linkedin profile