Inspiring Women of CAP: Dr Marie-Helene Rousseau

07 March 2018

To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the professional and academic staff who make our College a world-leading institution for research and teaching on Asia and the Pacific.

In this piece, we chat to Dr Marie-Helene Rousseau, Research Services Deputy Manager.

What inspired you to get into area of work?

It was a coincidence or rather it was serendipity. I moved to Australia in 2011 and was working as a consultant for a US foundation. I didn’t even know what research services really was, it was emerging as a new field but I saw the job at ANU and it aligned with all my skills in academia and project management.

Who is a woman you look up to and why?

It’s not just one woman – I look up to many women across different communities whether its work/family or my children’s school. I’m lucky to be surrounded by strong women and apply bits of their wisdom into different aspects of my life.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by making small but constant self improvements. I always aim to be better parent, spouse or worker but balance is important too. You have to be kind to yourself. A good way to do this is to make small improvements instead of having an “all or nothing attitude”.

What are you most proud of?

In work, I am proud to have contributed to creating a really positive team dynamic – to have created a positive culture and helped others in thinking about a work/life balance. People used to work really long hours but by changing some of the processes, managing expectations and working collaboratively we offer a really high level of service and always meet deadlines. I’m so proud of our team work.

In life, I am proud of my family’s lifestyle. What I mean by that is we live in a microhouse (55 square meters-4 people), and live very simply to try and life a sustainable life.

What’s your advice to your younger self about choosing the right path and juggling life’s different demands?

Do what you like and throw yourself into it, trust yourself and trust that things will work out, even if it feels like it won’t. I wrote my PhD in medieval history using Latin and Middle English sources, it’s a very niche field and doesn’t necessarily have a direct career path but it helped me to get to where I am today. So my advice is to embrace the unexpected and have confidence that things will work out. There is not ONE path in life, but many.




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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team