NAISDA’s Mentors: A Day in the life of a Developing Artist Support Officer - 16.05.18

NAISDA is excited to welcome our new Developing Artist (DA) Support Officer, Adelle Grogan, to the NAISDA family. Adelle will be taking on the role while our current DA Support Officer, Jenelle Iakopo, prepares to go on maternity leave.

From looking after the health and wellbeing of our DAs to arranging accommodation, liaising with our Homestay families and acting as a mentor to our young students, the DA Support Officer has an important and varied role to fill, which is pivotal to the success of our DAs.

We had a chat with both Adelle and Jenelle to learn more about their experiences!

Jenelle Developing Artists Support Officer
NAISDA’s Developing Artists Support Officer Jenelle Iakopo (centre) with NAISDA Developing Artists

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Adelle: I’m originally from Far North Queensland but have lived in Newcastle for most of my life.

I’ve been at NAISDA for three weeks now and am stepping into the role of DAs Support Officer while Jenelle prepares to go on maternity leave. Before coming to NAISDA, I spent 18 years working at the University of Newcastle in various roles, but primarily Indigenous student support.

I’m a single mother and in my spare time, I love reading and cooking.

Jenelle: I am a Wonnarua woman from the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, but I grew up on the Central Coast and currently live in Newcastle.

I’ve been working as NAISDA’s DAs Support Officer since July last year and previously worked at University of Newcastle in student support at the Wollotuka Institute. I met Adelle when working at UoN, which is great because I know that my role will be in very safe hands while I go on maternity leave.

I’m currently preparing for my first baby – so that’s taking up a lot of my personal life! I also love catching up with family and friends, catching a movie with my husband and looking after our rescue greyhound.


What’s a typical day in the life of a Developing Artists Support Officer?

Jenelle: Our day starts at 8:30am, or maybe a little earlier as we look through and manage any requests or appointments that have come through from the DAs overnight. We then like to go down to the studios to touch base with the Developing Artists before they start their day.

We look after our DAs’ health and wellbeing. We are here to assist them and make sure that everything is going smoothly. Every day is different though and from time to time, you get to reflect with the DAs and talk about what is happening in their world.

Adelle: We accompany the DAs to doctor and physio appointments, but another big part of our role is mentoring them and providing them with support.

It’s been great getting to know a lot of the DAs over the past few weeks and connecting with them. We talk to them about how they are coping with things and provide advice and guidance.


What have been some highlights of your time working at NAISDA so far?

Adelle: It’s got to be meeting the DAs! I started working during term break, so being there for their first day back and meeting them was a special experience for me. Before I started working at NAISDA, I was familiar with the organisation and had been to a NAISDA performance, but the dance industry is a whole new world to me.

It makes me feel so proud to work with such talented Indigenous people and I can’t wait to see them perform at their upcoming mid-year show wearing the new hat of NAISDA staff member.

Jenelle: My interaction with the DAs – they are a great bunch of students.

I also love interacting with our Homestay families. We have some lovely Homestay families involved in our program and it is a pleasure to communicate with them. Our DAs have connected and gelled with them so well.


What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Jenelle: I love a lot of things about my job, including the people I work with. But for me, the most rewarding part is seeing the Developing Artists dance up on stage. Seeing them grow in confidence and mature over their time at NAISDA means that I’ve done my job.

Adelle: Just seeing first hand how talented the DAs are. It makes me so proud to be working with them.


What do you hope to achieve in your time at NAISDA?

Adelle: I’m enjoying my time here! I want to support as many DAs as I can and ensure that I am there to provide additional support to the Diploma DAs and help them prepare for their final year.

Jenelle: When the students succeed, I know I’ve done a good job. I want to remain open and approachable. I qenjoy supporting people to help them achieve their goals.