Lenore-Smith-Humanities21-Profile MIDUniversity degree(s)/Institution:
Bachelor of Arts (English Literature/History) – University of Melbourne
Executive Master of Arts – University of Melbourne
Certificate IV in Kinesiology – Kinesiology Connection

Career (last few roles/organisations, or your main or favourite):
Creative Director – The Basic Elements (consultancy)
Kinesiologist – The Basic Elements Kinesiology
Writer at What Penny Did Next & The Five Minute Guide 

Career Highlight:
Starting my own kinesiology business, The Basic Elements, and the ongoing success of our blog, The Five Minute Guide. In particular, the article on Writing an Essay enjoying widespread international readership (I have the 80 odd essays I wrote at uni to thank for the insight!).

What was your first job?
I was recruited at the ripe old age of 11 to be the scorer for my Dad’s cricket team on a Saturday afternoon. The key qualifications were neat handwriting and an ability to count in multiples of 6. I must have passed the test because 17 seasons later I’m still scoring!

How have the humanities helped you in your career?
The ability to communicate effectively and meaningfully was a strong focus of the Executive Master of Arts, and it has become a tenet of my work as a Kinesiologist, strategist and writer. 

As a Kinesiologist I am presented with a collection of information and a narrative from each of my clients every day. My ability to analyse the picture as a whole, interpret the underlying meaning and deliver this analysis to my client is an essential part of my job. It gives my work greater resonance with clients and helps them achieve wellness and balance in their lives. 

I use the same skills when consulting with clients in Blue Sky Thinking sessions (strategic planning), developing strategic plans which assess where the company/organisation has been, what lessons we can learn from it and how their history can shape their future instead of dictating or restricting it. The ability to understand what is in the box, and then see all of the options outside it is a unique ability I honed in my Arts degrees. 

As for The Five Minute Guide and What Penny Did Next, the ability to observe humanity and all of its quirks and write about it with insight and humour is precisely what gives these blogs their character.

Why do you think the humanities matter today?
Working in the health and wellness field, I see a multitude of clients who are overworked, overwhelmed and simply ‘over it’. They have entered a rigid, economically driven framework that focuses on the pursuit of money and material acquisition, but they lack an understanding of their motivations to achieve these things. Without this understanding, they stumble early and lack the dedication and vision to pursue their ambitions successfully and attain happiness and fulfillment. 

The humanities gave me great scope to understand the narrative of human evolution over time, and to witness how recurring social and economic patterns are interpreted by society. The ability to observe and understand the motivations behind these actions gives greater depth to my knowledge on how to structure appropriate solutions that allow people, ideas and creativity to flourish within our current value systems. In essence, the humanities gave me the skills to seek out the ‘why’ in every situation, an ability that is increasingly pertinent in our society today.

What are you reading now?
I always have a few books on the go. At the moment I am reading:
True Colours, My Life – Adam Gilchrist
The Miracle of Mindfulness – Thich Nhat Hanh
Neil Gaiman’s ‘Make Good Art’ speech.

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