Melbourne Business School News Meet our new Chief Engagement Officer Steve Berridge

Meet our new Chief Engagement Officer Steve Berridge

One of Australia's most dynamic education leaders is joining Melbourne Business School to improve the way it engages with industry, students, alumni and the community.

Steve Berridge is the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global) and Senior Vice-President at Victoria University, and has also held senior roles in marketing and international education with the University of Westminster and European School of Economics in London.

He's also a graduate of our Senior Executive MBA program, having firsthand experience of what makes Melbourne Business School so special.

Now, Steve is taking up a new position as our inaugural Chief Engagement Officer to boost the way the School connects with its key stakeholders and communities.

"I don't think engagement has ever been more important for an education institution like Melbourne Business School," he says.

"The business school has a lot in its locker. It's Australia's leading business school, it’s Australia’s oldest business school, it has a fantastic reputation. I see the engagement function about making sure that that story is both told and sold effectively.

"This includes student, alumni, business, community, education and government audiences. The networks, knowledge and capability the School has are extensive. Engagement is about developing and leveraging the opportunities this ecosystem offers."

Digital and partnership experience

Through more than 25 years in the education sector, Steve has led an impressive range of major projects, including playing a leading role in designing, launching and scaling up Victoria University's award-winning online arm, VU Online.

He has also led innovative partnerships with industry and community players, including establishing a new pathway partnership with Kaplan while at Westminster, running international delivery partnerships for thousands of students in Asia, and setting up major sporting partnerships at Victoria University, including with Melbourne Victory Football Club.

"I've been very lucky over my career that I've had the opportunity to do lots of interesting things," Steve says.

"When I think about highlights, it’s when I’ve been in situations and roles where there were critical problems to solve, challenges to address or opportunities to take — working through complexity to get a result."

Steve’s motivation is also firmly underpinned by what attracted him to the sector in the first place — the transformational power of education for individuals and communities.

"A real highlight for me over the years has been witnessing the journey that students undertake. I continue to be impressed and often awed by the commitment made and the outcomes achieved by students from all kinds of backgrounds," he says.

From student to executive

While at Victoria University, Steve held a number of different senior executive roles across the organisation to seize on growth opportunities, including as Director, Victoria University International and Vice-President of Engagement, Marketing and International.

It was during this period of his career Steve enrolled in the Senior Executive MBA program to increase the impact he was able to make at the top – a skill he is now looking forward to bringing back to Melbourne Business School.

"It was exactly the right program for me at the right time in my career and life," Steve says of the experience.

"If someone had said to me at that point, 'in a few years' time you'll be joining the leadership team', I'd have been floored.

"In all those 25-plus years of working in education, I've never actually studied at any of the institutions that I've worked at, so this is a first for me."

Leadership values

There are three values that Steve lives as a leader – inclusivity, openness and playfulness.

"Inclusivity is very important and recognising the value of diversity. We talked about that in the cohort I studied with here, having a diverse range of thought and composition of teams," he says.

By "openness", Steve means the ability to be truthful, honest and approachable, "but also a kind of openness to new ideas and innovation opportunities, to not shy away from the challenges which are always one step away from causing you big, big problems".

And finally, Steve wants his team to enjoy what they do.

"You know, this is work. We spend a long time here and we need to make it enjoyable. I want to be fulfilled, happy and satisfied at work and I want everybody in my team to feel the same.

"Part of it is the kind of fun and playfulness and the 'Hey, let's just not take ourselves too seriously. We've got an important job to do, but let's just take a step back'."

Steve Berridge began in his new role as Chief Engagement Officer at Melbourne Business School on 17 October. To get in touch with Steve directly, email [email protected].

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