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Meet Lisa

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14th June, 2023

Meet Lisa González, our Scientific Skills Development Coordinator.


How long have you been with the NSW Health Pathology?

My career in pathol­o­gy start­ed in 1993, and I joined NSW Health Pathol­o­gy in 1996. That’s a lot. I think the math is 30 years now in pathology.

I took on a mater­ni­ty relief posi­tion as a tech­ni­cal offi­cer in the micro­bi­ol­o­gy lab­o­ra­to­ry at Liv­er­pool Hos­pi­tal and then moved into a hos­pi­tal sci­en­tist role in 2009, still in microbiology.


How did you end up here? How did you get into the field?

It was pret­ty acci­den­tal. I want­ed to do law.

Home for me was Bal­main, Syd­ney; then my fam­i­ly moved to St Marys in West­ern Syd­ney, where I went to high school.

I chose physics at HSC, but soon dis­cov­ered I had no friends in the sub­ject. So many dropped out and switched to biol­o­gy instead. After dither­ing a bit, I too decid­ed to jump ship over to biol­o­gy, but I missed the boat, and the class was full.

How­ev­er, I did end up in a dif­fer­ent biol­o­gy class. My teacher start­ed an infec­tious dis­ease elec­tive and gave us an assign­ment where we had to research a dis­ease. I chose gon­or­rhoea, as any teenag­er would. I just loved the con­cept. It was the antibi­ot­ic sen­si­tiv­i­ty part that intrigued me the most, so that got me think­ing, and I looked up all the places where I could study infec­tious dis­eases. That’s how I end­ed up at UTS. I loved study­ing to work in pathol­o­gy, It meant I wasn’t going to be a doc­tor, so I did­n’t feel that pres­sure, but I got to help the doc­tor with a diag­no­sis and give results.


What is your cur­rent role?

I start­ed a sec­ond­ment as a “Sci­en­tif­ic Skills Devel­op­ment Coor­di­na­tor.” It’s a new role for NSW Health Pathol­o­gy. It’s a 12-month con­tract posi­tion, and I am based in St. Leonards at our 1 Reserve Road office.


Plans for the role: What are you work­ing on now?

My first pri­or­i­ty is to get a pilot grad­u­ate pro­gram off the ground for NSWHP mod­elled on a pro­gram offered in Queens­land. The aim is to encour­age stu­dents who have poten­tial­ly already done their place­ment with us as part of their degree to join us as the first step in their sci­en­tif­ic careers.


Do you have an anal­o­gy to help us under­stand your work?

I would describe myself as part foot­ball coach and part fairy godmother.

My role is to encour­age new grad­u­ates to join NSWHP and get the most out of their cours­es and training.

My focus is on new grad­u­ates who’ve just com­plet­ed four years with their heads in books and are now head­ing out into the pro­fes­sion­al world. For many, it can be super scary. How do you nav­i­gate the real world? What do you need for your first sci­en­tif­ic role straight out of uni­ver­si­ty? Many of them are try­ing to impress and prove them­selves straight away, but they need sup­port and guid­ance to work out what’s required of them in the work­place to succeed.

That’s what I’m here for. To coach and sup­port them in find­ing their rhythm in their new position.

When that’s up and run­ning, I’ll be their go-to per­son who helps them put the puz­zle pieces togeth­er. This is when the fairy god­moth­er per­sona comes into play. I will pro­vide that lev­el of sup­port and guid­ance for grad­u­ates to apply for posi­tions and make sure they know what they need to do, what respon­si­bil­i­ties they have, and what oth­er skills they need to devel­op. Essen­tial­ly, I am their cheerleader.


What moti­vates you? What are you pas­sion­ate about?

In my work, I get my moti­va­tion from see­ing peo­ple feel com­fort­able being them­selves. To see their authen­tic per­son­al­i­ty come through and see them view it as a strength, not some­thing to hide. Every­one has tal­ents, and if I can help them shine, it makes work so much more pleas­ant and a fun place to be.

I love get­ting to know peo­ple, build­ing rela­tion­ships, and work­ing out what they need from us to do their best.


What would you be doing if you hadn’t start­ed your career in pathology?

Ini­tial­ly, I thought I’d do law until I realised that was not for me—too much pressure.

I think I’d have end­ed up in a cus­tomer ser­vice role, work­ing with peo­ple in a the­atre envi­ron­ment, per­haps as an ush­er at the movies.


What makes you get up in the morning?

I get ener­gy from know­ing I might bright­en some­body’s day.

Shar­ing what I love with oth­ers and vice versa—others shar­ing their good things with me gives me a boost. I believe every­one likes to be noticed. No one likes to be invis­i­ble. For me, it’s that shared sense of con­nec­tion that makes it all worth­while at the end of the day.


What’s your favourite show or pod­cast at the moment?

I’m addict­ed to ‘Ted Las­so,” and though I’m a bit sad, I think I can see the end of the road. It looks like this will be the last season.

At the moment, I’m lis­ten­ing to the pod­cast ‘Good Life Project’ by Johnathan Fields. It has some great per­spec­tives. Oh, and any­thing by the Holy Trin­i­ty–  Brene Brown, Simon Sinek or Adam Grant. I love Brene Brown. I attend­ed an emo­tion­al intel­li­gence work­shop in 2021, and they showed an ani­mat­ed video of her on empa­thy. It tru­ly inspired me, and I’ve devoured every­thing she’s done since then.


What’s your secret talent?

Well, believe it or not, I’m a trained indus­tri­al seam­stress. It used to be called ‘gar­ment assem­bly’. I was 7 months preg­nant when I turned up to do my work place­ment. They sent me home “for safe­ty rea­sons” so I did­n’t end up get­ting the full qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Still, I know my stuff.

I used to make dance cos­tumes. I vol­un­teered once to make cos­tumes for a Latin dance com­pa­ny. I didn’t know what to expect when I said yes and found myself fran­ti­cal­ly mak­ing near­ly 200 cos­tumes. That was an eye-open­er for me, and my time man­age­ment skills were per­haps opti­mistic. I’m not sure how well-made they were, but I quick­ly worked out who my friends were!

I still do it for fun. I have an indus­tri­al sewing machine and over­lock­er and make cos­tumes for my fam­i­ly and friends. My daugh­ters all love to perform.


Fun facts about you

I spend my week­ends enjoy­ing the sun in my gar­den. We have an abun­dance of ama­ranth and limes about to come in. I love grow­ing our own win­ter veg­gies. Noth­ing beats fresh aspara­gus. But as win­ter comes and day­light hours are scarce, there’s less time to be out there, and it’s lack­ing some love right now.

I’m a ter­ri­ble cook, though. I’m cer­tain­ly not a tra­di­tion­al house­wife or home­mak­er in that sense, but I’m lucky enough to enjoy the meals my hus­band cooks.

I’m grate­ful for my chick­ens. I have sev­en chick­ens that lay fresh eggs every day. They’re so well-man­nered and don’t come up to the house unless we’re late feed­ing them. We have more than enough eggs for us, plus a few extra to on-sell.


Want to join our Pathol­o­gy fam­i­ly and start your career with us? Find all our vacan­cies at https://pathology.health.nsw.gov.au/careers/career-opportunities/


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