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Alumni profile: Jonny Almario

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Jonny Almario was studying dance at the University of Auckland, a programme that asks its participants to move their thinking. Pairing his academic knowledge with his extra-curricular experiences with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has opened up opportunities for a career in creative thinking and problem solving.

Jonny now works as a Cultural Insights Consultant at TRA, a marketing insights agency based in Auckland. He specialises in understanding human behaviour in the context of a changing cultural landscape, taking into account how experiences are shaped by what we experience in non-related categories or by shifting cultural expectations on issues such as trust, transparency and new ways of working.

“Curiosity is probably my biggest motivation – be it talking, listening or reading about people’s experiences, behaviours and values, regardless of topic,” he says.

While enrolled in the Master of Dance Studies at the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries in 2017, Jonny’s curiosity led him to participate in two programmes offered by CIE. From these he learned valuable skills such as how to collaborate and work with a small and diverse team on a complex problem (either defined by the team or working on a problem from a brief).

“Working in teams effectively is a skill in itself and the CIE programmes I participated in helped me refine and upskill in those soft skills. I was also able to refine my lateral thinking skills through these programmes, which became useful in my current job.”

Being relatively new in his role in Cultural Insights, which is a relatively niche field in New Zealand, Jonny is enjoying learning and upskilling as much as he can. He believes CIE has helped bring clarity to what he wants to do for his new career.

“Previous to participating in CIE programmes, I fell into the trap of thinking what I studied in the past and present would restrict where I could go with my career (what you study is what you’ll end up doing). Now I realise that transferable skills exist in whatever you choose to study and it is about reframing these past experiences, skills and philosophies to fit the context or environment you want to dive in to.”

Jonny’s advice for those wanting to develop their leadership and innovation skills while at University:

  • Get out there and do it – absorbing information and insight is one thing, but actioning it is a skill in itself.
  • Meet people from outside your current discipline, collaborate, work on those soft skills (empathy, communication, conflict resolution, etc.) and get out of your comfort zone.
  • Join a CIE programme and be comfortable with failure, pivoting or throwing away your “favourite idea” if or when the time comes.

 

James Hutchinson
James Hutchinson

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Jonny Almario was studying dance at the University of Auckland, a programme that asks its participants to move their thinking. Pairing his academic knowledge with his extra-curricular experiences with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has opened up opportunities for a career in creative thinking and problem solving.

Jonny now works as a Cultural Insights Consultant at TRA, a marketing insights agency based in Auckland. He specialises in understanding human behaviour in the context of a changing cultural landscape, taking into account how experiences are shaped by what we experience in non-related categories or by shifting cultural expectations on issues such as trust, transparency and new ways of working.

“Curiosity is probably my biggest motivation – be it talking, listening or reading about people’s experiences, behaviours and values, regardless of topic,” he says.

While enrolled in the Master of Dance Studies at the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries in 2017, Jonny’s curiosity led him to participate in two programmes offered by CIE. From these he learned valuable skills such as how to collaborate and work with a small and diverse team on a complex problem (either defined by the team or working on a problem from a brief).

“Working in teams effectively is a skill in itself and the CIE programmes I participated in helped me refine and upskill in those soft skills. I was also able to refine my lateral thinking skills through these programmes, which became useful in my current job.”

Being relatively new in his role in Cultural Insights, which is a relatively niche field in New Zealand, Jonny is enjoying learning and upskilling as much as he can. He believes CIE has helped bring clarity to what he wants to do for his new career.

“Previous to participating in CIE programmes, I fell into the trap of thinking what I studied in the past and present would restrict where I could go with my career (what you study is what you’ll end up doing). Now I realise that transferable skills exist in whatever you choose to study and it is about reframing these past experiences, skills and philosophies to fit the context or environment you want to dive in to.”

Jonny’s advice for those wanting to develop their leadership and innovation skills while at University:

  • Get out there and do it – absorbing information and insight is one thing, but actioning it is a skill in itself.
  • Meet people from outside your current discipline, collaborate, work on those soft skills (empathy, communication, conflict resolution, etc.) and get out of your comfort zone.
  • Join a CIE programme and be comfortable with failure, pivoting or throwing away your “favourite idea” if or when the time comes.

 


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