Meet Kate: Our Jill of All Trades!

I am currently the Acting Property Manager. My usual role is Assistant to the Property Manager and Event Logistics Coordinator. This is my thirteenth year working in this wonderful environment.

I have studied biology, interior design, photography and business management. I have worked in records management and land & aerial mapping. I used to be a wedding photographer, but I have always come back to renovation and building.

My Father was a chemical engineer for Shell Oil, but he was also a fantastic carpenter, gardener, handyman and builder. Back when we lived in England, we were extending our house and the builders went broke and left a partially constructed extension. My father took on the big job of completing the two-storey extension by himself. I learned through this experience while I helped him.

Many house renovations later, when my sisters and I bought our own houses, an interest in property maintenance, interior design, and building grew. My family helped me take my second house down to bare bricks and mortar. We even stripped the roof off and for a few months the house was just a shell. We then set about putting the house back together again. These and many other projects were all possible due to the team effort of my family.

During this time, I married, became a mother and a domestic engineer!  I remember the time I re-entered the workforce and thought I would try a job in education to align with school holidays. I saw my current job advertised in the paper and thought, yes that sounds like me. I applied and the rest is history so to speak.

I enjoy fixing and building things. I get pleasure in being able to solve a problem that ultimately helps students and staff enjoy a space, and be comfortable and safe in that space both inside and out. A lot of my work is behind the scenes. I see a problem or hear of a problem and I go and solve or fix the problem with the help of the Grounds and Maintenance team.

My current role is to facilitate the ongoing maintenance program, preservation, and improvements to the College buildings and grounds, with the assistance of contractors and the Grounds and Maintenance team.

The event logistics part of my role also gives me great satisfaction helping staff plan their event setup and making their vision became a reality, offering ideas and solutions for their function. I endeavour to make an event setup run smoothly with the assistance of the Grounds & Maintenance team. I also try to help the staff member feel calm and reassured when really, they may be feeling very anxious about the way their event or function will go on the night or day.

During my free time away from Santa Maria I am part of a sailing crew.  We sail on weekends on the Swan River during summer and do ocean racing over the Christmas break. I am also an avid camper and bush hiker. I got the camping bug from my husband and children thanks to joining the Scouts. I became a Scout Leader for a few years and led a troop of up to 40 scouts. This was a great challenge but also a lot of fun and hard work, which led me to become trained as a sailing instructor for youth.

My family has lived in a few different countries before settling in Western Australia. My first language was Spanish. By the age of 8, my family returned to England. I then began speaking English fluently and sadly not so much Spanish.

At the age of 10, I watched my boarding school in North Wales burn down. This did not deter the school though. By the grace of God and the kindness of strangers, the whole school boarding cohort of over 300 girls was put up in a seaside holiday camp for the whole of Term 1. We were bused to and from the school each day, as the classroom block was not affected by the fire!

I feel the many life experiences I have had and the people I have met have made me a glass-half-full person. I have been shaped into someone who thinks outside the box by everything from my family to being an independent overseas traveller from age 12. 

I have learnt that, as the universal saying goes, “If it is to be, it is up to me”!

What A Term! So Many Opportunities – Jennifer Oaten

As I look back on the past nine weeks, I am so grateful for who we are as a community and what we have achieved. Through the dedication of our staff and the enthusiasm of our students, we have established new connections, immersed ourselves in opportunities and worked through challenges.

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