Award winning business leader and strategist Graeme Hughes has found a home for his heart at Griffith University educating and mentoring students as Director of Griffith’s Business Lab, and just ranked as one of Australia’s top 50 teachers.
In seven years, the Griffith Alumnus earned a reputation as a first-rate educator, highly regarded by students and university staff.
“I felt humbled to learn I was in Australia’s top 50 teachers because it has never been about me, but I believe that if you’re passionate about what you do, you can have a great impact,” Mr Hughes said.
“I really feel like I found a home for my heart in teaching and knowing that I can inspire the next generation puts a spring in my step, it’s a real privilege.
“I was the first in my family to attend university and felt like I stumbled in without a support network or a plan.
“It was lonely at times, and only through trial and error did I get through.”
As a university student, focused on sport, athletics, and his Brisbane Bullets Basketball squad, Mr Hughes had no idea he was suited to a career in business but found himself in senior business roles 15 years later.
As an executive, Mr Hughes adopted an proactive style of leadership, interested in all the happenings and keen to provide active mentorship to graduates entering the workforce.
“I was offered mentorship early in my career which was transformative and had it not occurred, I would not have reached the same heights, so I wanted to do the same for others,” Mr Hughes said.
“The early years of your career are foundational and great mentorship can really make a difference.
“I made myself available to be a mentor and the process of improvement opened a door for me.
“This ‘mentor up and mentor down’ philosophy gave me a spark for teaching and a desire to impart all my knowledge to students, I was bitten by the teaching bug.”
Mr Hughes stepped down from his CEO position in 2019 to begin lecturing full time and is now the Director of the Griffith Business Lab which provides the opportunity to flex a wealth of industry experience and allowed him to follow his passion for both teaching and mentoring.
The Business Lab is an innovative, hands-on environment, providing hands-on consultancy work, masterclass sessions and job readiness events to foster industry connections and authentic learning experiences.
“During my career I developed innovative business solutions for leading companies such as Youi Insurance, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Suncorp, Molten and Westfield,” Mr Hughes said.
“My students experience a comprehensive client relationship, starting with initial briefings then we work through strategic planning, campaign development, implementation, and reporting.
“Working as a team in the Business Lab allows us to workshop a diverse range of issues from different angles, through different lenses, and work with real clients to develop practical skills and students are thriving and developing essential skills.
“GBS students are matched to internships which align with their values and draw from their strengths, and this creation of awareness helps them to understand which type of organisation they are best suited to, because happiness in your career is a marker of real success.
“Teaching naturally incorporates a feedback loop and it’s an investment in future generations which gives back more than you put in.”