Introducing Elizabeth, Foundations & Alumni Officer

We are excited to introduce you to our new Foundations & Alumni Officer, Elizabeth Houwert (Walsh), who graduated from Santa Maria College in 2002. We put some questions to Liz to find out what she’s been doing since finishing school.

Could you tell us a bit about what you’ve been doing since you left in 2002?

After finishing Year 12, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t do my Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE). However, my mum suggested I apply for a Hospitality Management course at TAFE as she said I have always been good with people. So, after a year and a half, I completed my Certificate IV and Diploma in Hospitality Management, all while working at the Hyatt Regency Perth in the Banquets team, with the aim to become General Manager of a hotel one day. After a couple of years in Banquets, I was promoted to Convention Services Coordinator in the Sales and Marketing team. 

However, I realised I was more interested in the creative industries and applied to do a Degree in Communications, majoring in Advertising and Public Relations at Edith Cowan University. Through my TAFE Diploma, I was successful in gaining entry to university, and I was over the moon. 

After finishing my degree, I went travelling through Europe with four of my best friends from Santa Maria while basing ourselves in various locations in the UK. However, when the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2007-2008, it was time for me to return to Perth. 

After returning, I worked in various hospitality venues around Perth before starting a full-time role at Crown Perth in the Public Relations team. Here is where I met my now husband two weeks before he was about to start a new life in Sydney. After a year of long distance, I was keen to move over to Sydney to be with him. 

After six months of me living in Sydney, we moved to Melbourne due to better work and lifestyle opportunities at the time. We lived and worked in Melbourne for 10 years before making the decision to relocate back to Perth in April last year to be closer to family and friends. We have two gorgeous boys who are aged two and four. 

To date, I have worked in creative agencies, large enterprises, not-for-profit organisations, transport and in the local and state government sector, all in either a communications, events, engagement or development capacity. 

What inspired you to apply for the position of Foundations & Alumni Officer?

I was inspired to apply for the role as I saw it as an opportunity to feel connected to the school community again. Also, as a past student, I have invested interest in ensuring that the school continues to be represented in the best way possible. I also get a lot of energy from people, so working in a role that provides plenty of opportunities for engagement and connection with alumni is right up my alley! 

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?

As the Foundation part of my role is new, I am looking forward to the many ways the Old Girls Association committee and I can help gain further support and funding for the school, all while continuing to maintain and build an even stronger connection with the large cohort of alumni the school has gained over the last 85 years. 

What is your favourite memory from your time here as a student?

I have lots of favourite memories. Being part of a couple of drama productions, playing in the water polo, hockey and soccer teams, liturgical dancing, school camps, and attending the Years 10, 11 and 12 dances were all highlights!   

Did you have a favourite teacher? Who was it, and why?

I had a few teachers that I liked over the years. Ms McPherson, who taught me French, was always so bubbly and warm and had a real passion for French which rubbed off on me. Ms McManus, who taught me English, for being so down to earth and approachable, and Mr Sheehan, for his drive and encouragement while I was on the soccer team. 

Our alumni can reach out to Liz at [email protected]

Thanks, Liz! We are excited to have you on board!

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