Sue Noble

Sue Noble

Sue Noble

  • Year completed 1982
  • Current position General Manager Carers' Voice and Capacity, Carers Victoria
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Career summary

Sue Noble has more than 33 years’ experience as a senior executive, serving in a wide range of roles in both corporations and not-for-profits in marketing, management and communications. In 2020, Sue became the General Manager Carers' Voice and Capacity at Carers Victoria, where she is fighting to support and raise the profile of unpaid carers, of whom there are over 700,000 in Victoria.

Sue is a fierce advocate for volunteers, serving for nearly six years as the CEO of Volunteering Victoria, while she is also passionate about animal welfare, sitting on the board of the Lost Dogs’ Home. Sue has been a key figure in Australian softball for more than a decade as the CEO of Softball Australia and a Board member at Softball Victoria. Sue is also a past member of the Victorian Institute of Sport Board

Sue is a Monash Arts graduate, having graduated from a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history and philosophy, and also studied a Masters of Librarianship at Monash University.

Career pathway

2020-current – General Manager Carers' Voice and Capacity, Carers Victoria
2020 – Sessional Lecturer, Sport Management, La Trobe University
2019-current – Non-Executive Director, Lost Dogs’ Home Board and member of the Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee
2017-current – Member, Finance & Governance Committee, Softball Victoria
2016-current – Chairperson, Region Engagement Committee (Victoria), Central Queensland University
2017 – Director, Member and Partner Engagement, IPAA Victoria
2015 – Member, Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisations Advisory Board, Deakin University.
2014 – Director, Softball Victoria Board
2012 – CEO, Volunteering Victoria
2009 – CEO, Softball Australia
2007 – General Manager Marketing, Law Institute of Victoria
2001 – National Marketing & Business Development Manager, DLA Phillips Fox
1997 – National Marketing & Business Development Manager, CPA Australia

Tell us about your Monash experience

I actually started at Monash doing an economics and politics degree. At the time, you required a maths or language to get into the Arts degree, which I didn’t have from year 12. But I always wanted to do history.

I wasn’t the best student in my first two years because I spent too much time enjoying other aspects of University life!

And this goes to one of the things that I think is really important about going to university. It's about learning about life. Some of my highlights during the degree was just enjoying life outside of where I grew up in Dandenong, because I was exposed to so many different ideas and different people.

I was finally able to undertake Arts, after I made a case to the department and they let me in. That’s where I undertook history and philosophy. I loved the history units as it opens the world for you and it helps you understand the world and to see things very differently.

For example, it gave me the understanding of how India came to be India as we know it today, of how Renaissance Florence and Byzantium shaped the modern world, and how Australia and the USA have been shaped by their past. I studied the history of so many countries, it was just wonderful.

You were able to see how the world interacts and how the view of the world we have today has been formed over time and it's constantly breaking down and reforming and nothing is set permanently. In a way, it’s the understanding of international relations. The Arts degree allowed me to take units I was interested in as well as discover what else was out there. It gave me the freedom to figure out what my options were.

I've studied at a number of different universities and have been involved in other ways at a number of different universities over the years, but Monash, particularly the Clayton campus is a special place for me. It was just a really fantastic experience.

What advice would you have for students thinking about Arts next year?

I think it's not realistic to expect people to have a lot of clarity around what they want their career to be when they come out of year 12. University is great for opening your eyes and giving you some other options, but also an Arts degree is fantastic because you're not then locked in to a single career path. Arts is a great platform to move onto something else when you find what you are interested in.

When I was General Manager Marketing at the Law Institute of Victoria, one of the sad things I saw was the number of people that had graduated at or near the top of their class in year 12, and went into law because you either did law or medicine when you got good marks. Unfortunately, too many people found law was not their true vocation and either abandoned their legal careers or persevered and hated it. Give yourself some time to really think about the direction you want to take your career –explore all the options that are available to you. And its never too late to change. An Arts degree gives you a wider perspective, time and more options

You have worked in a variety of industries. What has inspired you?

I had ambitions to be an academic librarian, and I ended up in public libraries. What I loved about public libraries is you're working and engaging with the community and getting into areas like supporting newly arrived migrants, for example. Then because of another serendipitous opportunity, I ended up going to work for a library supply company in marketing and international business, without any formal qualification or training, so I learned on the job.

From there, I went to CPA Australia for a number of years in marketing and business development roles, before going to a large law firm, in what was meant to be a short term contract and I stayed there five years.

In 2009, I applied for the job at Softball Australia. At the time, a consultant (not the recruiter) said to me “you'll never get that job because everyone wants to work in sport and you don’t have the sport experience”. However, this is where the serendipity comes into my career (again), they were looking for somebody with my marketing and business background. They didn't want somebody from sport. They wanted someone to come in with new ideas. So unless you put yourself out there, you don't know.

When I was CEO of Volunteering Victoria, that was my first real experience working with a charity. I quickly saw that volunteers are extraordinary and the amount of volunteering that happens in our community is what makes our community work. So many people devote significant time, energy and expertise into helping and caring for others.

It’s the same with a charity such as Carers Victoria. For me in particular it’s the people who are, through various circumstances, caring for their friends, their family, giving their time freely – they're not being paid and not working for an organisation. They're devoting their lives to supporting somebody. My elderly father was a carer for my mother, my neighbours down the road of caring for a disabled son.

There are so many people who are prepared to set aside their own life ambitions, their own careers and care for somebody else. There are people who try and do have careers, quite successful careers and are still carers. The diversity of carers is enormous and you probably all know somebody who's a carer.

It's about the way that people can be so selfless and generous, giving so much of themselves. If you want to put it into dollars and cents, it saves the government billions of dollars because people as carers or volunteers are freely giving their time to support others and contribute to their communities.

In the current uncertain climate, what advice would you have for students trying to start careers?

Don't give up, because it's not all doom and gloom – open your mind to other opportunities. It may be a long, more circuitous route than what you had planned but it’s worth experimenting. Try to open yourself up to new ideas, and do look at volunteering – a lot of organisations with limited resources really struggle to manage volunteers but there could be a place where your help is needed.

The key theme I think about is embracing serendipity, and being receptive to opportunities that might not be obvious. Don’t lock yourself into anything too early.

Written by Arts Journalism intern, Ed Bourke, 2020