Q&A With Judy Robison

Executive Director - Ucademy South Africa

Judy Robison has been engaged in the education/ learning sector for more than 24 years. As an advocate for learning and personal growth and development, she shares her insights


Q
What are you most passionate about when it comes to learning and development?
A
Creating learning solutions and environments that enable people to:
  • Realise their full potential
  • Add unique value to their own lives, their families and the community
  • Contribute to their organisation’s sustainability and success
  • Impact others by being solid role models and mentors
Q
What are your thoughts on the current state of learning vs opportunities available?
A
My view is that investment will always follow value. If you are willing to contribute value, opportunities will always abound for you. It is our individual responsibility and accountability to engage in lifelong learning opportunities. Learning happens everywhere; every day and in every situation and we need to maintain a learning and growth mindset. If one continues to learn, you stay relevant and valuable. I believe there are abundant learning and growth opportunities available, and how we engage in life to access these opportunities determines our success.
Q
What do you like most about working with your Ucademy team?
A
Their pure talent, capability, creativity, energy, integrity, passion for and commitment to learning.
Q
How has Ucademy adapted to the Covid-19 crisis and what opportunities have arisen as result?
A
Ucademy has focused on gearing up for future skills and the impact of disruption for some time. We strongly believe in preparing people today with the skills they will need to be future-fit. Like most companies, we could not have foreseen the extent and nature of the Covid-19 disruption, having to pivot ways of working in such a short timeframe. Where we as Ucademy, and I think many of the forward-looking learning institutions have been fortunate, is that our core focus has been geared towards blended learning strategies and hence the pivot was not as great for those of us who have already been driving virtual and blended learning solutions.

Opportunities arose to support our clients, staff and communities (with access to learning) to continue their learning journey, graduate virtually and enroll in new virtual programmes. They are also receiving valuable support, enabling their wellbeing. Organisations are now more open to accept virtually-enabled learning, proof of the impact on performance and wellbeing.
Q
Share some of highlights /achievements / awards /, received over the years, at Ucademy?
A
Awards /Achievements
  • Personally, being nominated and being a finalist in the Regional Business Woman of the Year Awards in 2018.
  • Winning awards in the learning world, in Innovation in Learning, Global Learning Practices,
  • Top Learning Team of the Year Finalists in 2018, and Runner’s up in 2019
  • Top BPO Support Professional 2019 ( regional and national)
  • Recognition of the work I do in learning, by invitations to present and moderate conferences and panels across a range of learning topics
Highlights
  • Seeing the caliber and quality of the Ucademy learning team built from green fields over the last four years. I truly believe Ucademy has one of the top professional learning teams in South Africa
  • The opportunity to impact many lives through work readiness, future skills, internship, learnership, experiential learning opportunities and formal qualification delivery
  • Seeing my team members winning Top BPO Trainer Awards
Q
Recently, South Africa celebrated National Women’s Day. What kind of influence or legacy would you like to leave as a woman in leadership?
A
As a parent, executive, wife, daughter, sister, friend, leader, and team member – women in leadership have many roles to play. It is an ongoing balancing act. Just allow yourself and others to be human. Empathy is at the heart of leadership and a critical skill for the world of work and beyond.

Leadership starts with self and for me, it has always been about taking accountability for being the best person I can be and supporting others in the same quest. Sometimes you achieve that, sometimes you don’t. We are all human after all, but I think the key is to be a good human being irrespective of your gender and to have the goal of positively influencing everyone you meet.
Q
What encouragement/advice would you give to aspiring young women looking to becoming leaders?
A
Engage early on in your career with credible, experienced people who can support your leadership journey. Surround yourself with professionals across diverse fields, cultures, roles; always understand the context and nature of the business and the people you work with. Remain authentic and true to self. Be honest, act with integrity and grit, and remain passionate and excited about what you do and the impact it has beyond yourself. Be resilient. Life is a journey, and sometimes the learning comes from the most unexpected of places and situations.
Q
What is the vision for Ucademy and where do you see Ucademy South Africa headed?
A
Our Ucademy vision has always been to be a leading BPO / Global Business Services Accredited Learning Institution. Our ongoing mission is to enable access to excellent learning, development and employment opportunities within and for our BPO sector and beyond. We want to further enable access to formal qualifications, experiential work opportunities, targeted and agile learning interventions and to set the South African BPO sector and its people up for success.

I see our growth in driving access to future skills that will enable our people to remain relevant, competitive and successful, building a strong platform of converged technologies and learning methodologies. Our motto at Ucademy is ‘Level Up’, and we aim to grow in our reach and ability to support individuals, their teams and organisations to continuously and progressively ‘Level Up’ to their fullest potential and impact. More importantly, to do this in the spirit of co-creation and collaboration to extend the reach that is so needed for our economy.