Elizabeth Reade -  USP Alumni Network

Name : Elizabeth Reade
Country: Fiji

Why did you choose your field of study?.  In my Prelim II (Foundation) I was introduced to a range of subjects and the study of society and how people live together fascinated me. In addition to this I felt the need to do something practical that would get me into the workforce at the time and decided on a second major in administration. Together they turned out to be a great combination and after a six month stint with the civil service I joined the USP Library in 1978 as a graduate trainee and here I am 37 years later sharing my sociology, management, library and other skills with the Region.

Briefly reflect on your student life at USP? Those years were some of the best years of my life. To be at USP in the early 70s was a privilege. I was young and truly believed the world was my oyster. I studied hard and 1`played’ hard too but never losing sight of that graduation day.  I, like many, was the first in my family to attend university.

USP was like a village in its early days.  Everyone knew everyone and the friendships (today called networking!) I made then remain today. I can travel to any regional country or visit any regional institution and will know someone, many of whom are in leadership positions.

Greatest achievement[s] as a student Representing the University on the USP/UPNG Student Exchange in the second semester of 1976; being the Chairperson of the Development Committee of the USPSA; being part of the USP Cultural Group that toured Tonga, Niue and Samoa under Ueta Solomona.

Career Highlights since Graduation

Recipient of a British Council scholarship to undertake post-graduate studies in library science in London, UK in 1979 and in 1995.

Appointment as Deputy University Librarian, USP

Appointed member of the Suva City Council.

Member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), Regional Committee for Asia and Oceania

President/VP of the Fiji Library Association and Chairperson of Fiji National Library Weeks.

Chairperson/Member (USP representative) of the Fiji Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund in its fight against TB in Fiji.

Who/what do you credit your success to? What inspires you? A community of people made up of supportive parents, a catholic upbringing and education, siblings, husband and close friends. My mother was a disciplinarian and a perfectionist and my father firmly believed in working for what you want to achieve as it does not come any other way. He also gave me an appreciation for those who help you get where you are. An understanding and supportive spouse - when I was studying for my  Master’s by distance and working full-time and on duty travel,  my husband Moses looked after children and home whilst also working full-time!

People who strive at all times and especially under adversity to make the world a better place inspire me to also make a contribution, small that it may be. I am inspired by Nelson Mandela who in the face of adversity stood tall and Mother Teresa `who saw the face of Jesus in all those she helped’

How do you think USP helped you in your career?
USP has been the backbone to my career and a good employer and I hope it remains so in light of changes to staffing classifications.  As a member of the comparable staff (Professional now) I took advantage of study leave, training leave and conference leave and work opportunities that have taken me to the Region and many parts of the world thus contributing immensely to my professional and personal development and to USP.

Individuals at the USP who have helped me get where I am today include Harold Holdsworth, (the 1st University Librarian), Dr Esther Williams, Professor Melvyn Rainey including past and present library colleagues and Professors Konai Thaman and Randolph Thaman who taught me in their first year at USP and mine in Foundation and who remain friends and mentors!

Describe any challenges you faced to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges? I have been in a management position for a long time.  Human resource management, in particular, is challenging because it involves individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, sensitivities and views. I have overcome the challenges associated with managing people by taking a professional approach, tempered by compassion, to arrive at a decision that is right, just and fair for the individual and all concerned. An important aspect is that I take time to explain to the person concerned my reasons for the decision that is often the result of wider consultation. At the end of the day, I am able to live with my decision.

I am strong on documenting issues.  Having a record of discussions, conversations has significantly reduced misinterpretation and misunderstandings in the workplace making for a better working environment.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)? Retired and my own boss and spending quality time my two children and their families and especially my grand-children whilst still contributing to the community via libraries, the Church and voluntary organizations such as Counterstroke Fiji.

What advice would you give to current and future students of USP? Whilst a student, be of inquisitive and questioning mind whilst using the opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone to try new things that may show that you have talent(s) in areas you never thought you had!

To future students, there is no other institution like USP in our region – `come and learn to be the change you want to be.’

Please share top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.

·         Continue to read widely for professional and personal development

·         Understand what honesty and integrity mean and apply them faithfully to your work and your life.

·         Be respectful and considerate of all you come into contact with.

What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated? All my working life of 37 years bar 10 months!!

Any other information you would like to share.
I am a very proud alumni of the USP. When it comes to regional cooperation, USP is the success story that no other regional organization can lay claim to.  It has met its purpose a thousand fold and will continue to do so. It has produced leaders and built a cadre of educated Pacific people who can stand up in the international arena and ably lead and represent our Region and people.

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