Learner Success

Short Course Gives Immediate Benefits

Ella Hingston

Ella Hingston, from Cardno, recently won a complimentary pass to undertake a professional development module, Leading Self and Others, within QUTeX’s Enterprise Leadership program.

This was part of QUTeX’s drive to understand what professionals think of QUTeX’s Executive Education short courses, and how they apply to the Engineering, Mining and Resources sector.

I recently caught up with Ella to get feedback about her experience at QUTeX and how the learnings from this course were applied in her industry. Here is what Ella had to say…

I am an Infrastructure Asset Management Engineer in Cardno’s Asset Strategies team. My focus areas are the water supply and sewerage, stormwater, buildings, and transport sectors. I’m also Secretary of the Asset Management Council Brisbane Chapter committee.

Who or what motivated you to take part in the course?

Taking part in this course was a great opportunity to better understand myself and my personal leadership style.

I’m at the point in my career where I’m starting my leadership journey. I have been striving for more and more leadership development opportunities both inside and outside of work.

At work, I am taking on mentoring roles and starting to lead direct reports.

Outside of work, I sit on several internal and external committees to help provide development and networking opportunities for fellow professionals.

How have you applied your learnings?

The biggest takeaway for me was understanding personalities and applying different leadership styles. I was aware of the DISC diagnostic but had not formally considered how it works.

This course gave me a comprehensive view of how I can improve interactions both with colleagues and clients. I now assess and quickly adapt my communication style according to the people I am interacting with.

This has improved my approach and I’m already realising the benefits of better outcomes and having greater influence.

What was the highlight of your study experience?

Peer learning was a big highlight and the facilitation style really shone through.

The facilitator had a wealth of experience and really brought forward the real-life components and real-world application of what we were studying. For me, this greatly helped the overall comprehension of what I was learning and how I could apply it to my role.

Beyond this, everyone had a voice, we all contributed often, and this enabled everyone to fully immerse themselves in the experience and the collective learning journey.

I also really enjoyed breaking into groups to network with and learn from different personalities, industries, styles, and career levels.

It’s been 1-month since you finished, are you still applying your learnings?

Understanding the importance of self-regulation and developing a variety of personal roles was something that allowed me to further explore self-complexity and affirm my sense of self.

I find that I now balance work better, dedicate time to my mental well-being, and understand that developing personal complexity requires time, space, and clarity of purpose.

What advice would you give to someone looking at trying to do what you have done?

I would suggest being vulnerable, being explicit about your goals and aligning your development actions to these. I’m always open to opportunities, too.

Because I’m open to training and developing myself and my career, I immediately saw the value in this opportunity and jumped at the chance to participate. 

At the course, really learn from others.

This experience was unlike other facilitated workshops I’ve attended. Overall, the balance of the course was spot-on, with an appropriate level of pre-reading and inter-workshop activities, so it fitted in around my schedule.

QUTeX short courses and professional development


Adam Lenihan is a Corporate Partnership Manager at QUT, leading a portfolio of corporate education partnerships in the mining, resources, construction, and utilities sectors. Adam works with his clients to develop a thorough understanding of their executive and professional development needs to deliver high-impact, real world education partnerships and leadership development programs. Adam’s partnership activities for QUT have resulted in a range of specially designed programs that have harnessed the University’s capabilities to develop leaders and equip organisations with the skills and confidence to succeed in complex, ambiguous, future-focussed and emergent environments. Adam holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Security Studies, a Bachelor of Creative Industries (BCI), and is recognised as a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders (FIML) and in 2019 was awarded the Chartered Manager (CMgr) designation by the Chartered Management Institute.

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