Workplace Leadership Student Profile

Award-winning lawyer’s advice: Do it, you won’t regret it

By Serpil Senelmis

Claire Carton, 2016 graduate

Claire Carton is a managing partner at Griffin Legal in Canberra and loves online learning. Her expertise lies in commercial law – but she felt she needed a greater understanding of workplace leadership.

In 2016, she enrolled in and completed the online Professional Certificate in Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne as she was “hoping to gain new techniques and a great understanding of teams and workplaces.” She says she chose this particular course over others because it was being offered by a “reputable institution” and “it was online”.

No stranger to university life, with two undergraduate degrees and a graduate diploma already under her impressive belt, Ms Carton says her favourite part of studying her fourth qualification online was that, “it was easy to set up, easy to manage the tasks and plan ahead.”

Going back to becoming a student, Ms Carton found, “The reading – while significant in volume – was always interesting and easy to locate, and the academic staff were easy to talk to.” She adds, “I loved the reading. It had been many years since I finished my initial degrees and I loved being back in a learning environment." She also found other aspects of online learning stimulating. She says, “The discussion groups were great – it was easier to post your thoughts than participate in a face to face tutorial.”

The high-achieving mother of four found online learning allowed her to juggle managing a law firm and motherhood with relative ease. She says,

It was fantastic. I have a business to run, and four primary school aged children. It meant I could study when I wanted, and still focus on my family and work.

She adds, “The course was well planned, and you could get ahead when you could – and also add comments to the course discussion boards when time suited me.”

In addition to the learning, Ms Carton was also able to forge some professional connections which she states she’s grateful for. She says, “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting another Canberran undertaking the course at the same time. We worked together for team tasks and I had someone to call to discuss course topics.”

Since graduating, the 2012 Young Business Woman of the Year winner (ACT Chamber of Women in Business) says she now understands “how to plan out teams, what leadership style I want to achieve and how to create a collaborative working environment.”

Last year the lifelong learner was a finalist for the Lawyer’s Weekly Commercial Partner of the Year Award. Her advice for anyone thinking about enrolling in the online Professional Certificate of Workplace Leadership is simple, “Do it. You won’t regret it, and your team will thank you.”

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