With a resume that includes serving on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), managing the Townsville office of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and CEO of the National Farmers Federation, it’s clear that CQUniversity alumnus Dr Wendy Craik isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.
Dr Craik spoke to CQU Review after recently completing a five-year term as a member of the RBA board – a time she says was very rewarding.
“It was a pretty exciting time to be on the board. And it was fascinating because I guess you get a real sense of responsibility given the impacts of what you do,” she said.
“It was a great board that operated well, I thought. I think everybody contributed and it was just one of those unusual experiences that you really value.”
Dr Craik completed a management course at CQU when it was then known as the Capricornia College of Advanced Education, and although she did the course via correspondence, the lessons she learned have followed her throughout her various appointments.
“I think it was very useful. I recall writing lots of assignments and it was all about improving your management skills and what you do in different situations,” she said.
“I had a background in science and fisheries, but I didn’t get taught a lot about management.
“I think the course helped me understand how to go about managing people and the sort of things you should do and shouldn’t, and the approaches to take. I mean I was learning on the job, but it helped me to think more about what I was doing.
“I graduated to managing the Townsville office of GBRMPA after completing my management course.”
She said she chose CQU because of its reputation as a distance education provider and because it was based in Queensland.
After GBRMPA, Dr Craik became CEO of the National Farmers Federation in Canberra and was there for five years, during the Wik Native Title decision, the introduction of the GST and the sale of Telstra.
She also recently completed a six-year term as Chair of a National Steering Committee on the eradication of imported fire ants in South-East Queensland.
Even though she has just finished with the RBA, she still has roles as the Chair of the OneBasin CRC, overseeing long-term research into the Murray-Darling Basin and as a board member of the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
“If it’s interesting and it’s got challenges, I want to figure out what’s the best way to overcome those things. It’s the sort of thing I enjoy doing,” she said.
“I’m definitely glad of my time at CQU. It was really valuable to me at the time. I had on-the-ground management experience, but I didn’t have any real rationale or theory behind it.
“I didn’t have as many management options up my sleeve. So, I took on the course and I got to think more about things and take on feedback from the lecturers, which was really valuable. I am really glad I did it.”