For most of her career, Grammar woman, Stephanie Hack (1996), has worked in or around the justice system, first as a lawyer in Australia and then in public service in the United Kingdom, working for ministers and the judiciary.
Stephanie’s current role as a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Justice has two aspects. First, she is responsible for giving ministers impartial and expert advice on how to solve policy problems and deliver the government’s priorities. Then, as a senior civil servant, she also has leadership responsibilities, both to her immediate team and the wider department.
‘I find it really rewarding to be in public service—I have the opportunity to solve problems, contribute to the community that I live in, and support the most vulnerable people in society,’ said Stephanie.
Ultimately it was that desire to help those experiencing hardship that started Stephanie down the path she is on today.
‘A long time ago I worked as a lawyer at Legal Aid Queensland, providing advice and legal representation for people who were financially disadvantaged. The work I did there highlighted to me the importance of ensuring that everyone, particularly the most vulnerable or marginalised, has access to the justice system.
‘Those cases and clients are what continue to drive me in my role as a civil servant now—I work with a lot of people in a large organisation, and it can be easy to get caught up in the urgency of parliamentary questions, a big media story or staffing challenges—so I try to ask myself, what problem am I solving today? How do I deliver the Government’s priorities? How am I making things better for our society?
‘Recently, I’ve been working with colleagues and ministers to find ways to support those worst affected by the pandemic; for example through creating new grants of £5.4 million to charities providing free legal advice.’
Stephanie believes it is her parents who gave her this strong sense of contributing to society, as well as acknowledging her own individual responsibilities to be informed and involved.
‘School is also a really important example of this,’ said Stephanie, adding: ‘It was one of the first places where I was able to develop a network, work as part of a team, and develop my skills, interests and confidence. I feel lucky to have had the benefit of that early grounding in understanding how valuable it is to be part of a community.
‘Alongside that I’m a fairly curious person—I like to discover information, have new experiences and always be testing and assessing what I’m reading, hearing or experiencing—I guess I feel that being informed and engaged is an important way of contributing to my community as well.’
After 14 years in London, Stephanie is also very passionate about ensuring that her alumnae and fellow professionals have access to the right support network in the UK, particularly this year when people have been more confined and unable to travel.
‘Over the years I’ve been really lucky to benefit from having mentors and sponsors, as well as a group of school friends who have supported and inspired me through difficult times. At the moment, most of us are faced with big challenges at home or at work; staying connected with others and having someone to listen, encourage and give perspective is such an important way to get through that, and to find a new pathway.
‘It occurred to me that there might be current students (or alumnae for that matter) who were considering a career overseas—I’d be very happy to chat to anyone who was interested in potentially moving overseas, or has moved and could use a contact in London. It would be lovely to reconnect and reminisce on our time at Girls Grammar.’
There is currently a large community of Grammar Women (BGGS alumnae) residing in the UK eager to connect with fellow alumnae.
To register your interest in sharing your contact details, or if you too would like to offer support to assist past students residing in the UK please contact GrammarWomen@bggs.qld.edu.au