Meet the Expert: Emma George
Dr Emma George is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Physical Education at Western Sydney University. With a background in physical activity and health promotion, her research aims to promote lifelong physical activity and improve health outcomes. Emma’s research expertise includes health promotion intervention design, implementation and evaluation, mixed methods research, men’s health, epidemiology and physical activity measurement. Her research has involved working with middle-aged men, sport fans, older adults, emergency service volunteers, youth in organised sport and culturally diverse populations.
1. What is your role?
I am a university lecturer and researcher, and my research aims to promote lifelong physical activity, reduce chronic disease risk, and improve physical and mental health outcomes.
2. What was your first job?
I worked as a barista.
3. Who is your hero?
My Mum – she has been through some really tough times, but she is the strongest woman I know.
4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Although my heart will always be in Sydney, I could see myself living in New York for a while. Amazing shopping, so much live sport, great food, and always something to do.
5. If you could have a dinner party with anyone in the world, which three people would you invite?
Michelle Obama, Louis Theroux, and Patty Mills.
6. What makes your heart sing?
Spending time with the people I love and watching the Rabbitohs play well!
7. What do you do to switch off from work?
I am currently in lockdown in Sydney and working from my dining room table. Although I am often tempted to finish one more task or respond to one more email before finishing my workday, I try to create a clear separation before winding down for the evening and my work email app is not installed on my phone. The end of the workday would usually include a long commute home with a podcast and a trip to the gym. Right now, the end of the workday involves a walk or bike ride in the local area, weight training in the garage, cooking a new recipe, or a bit (OK, maybe a lot) of online shopping.
8. How do you manage the stressors of work and life?
For me, regular physical activity is vital for my physical and mental health because it clears my mind and helps me feel strong and focused. I am also fortunate to have a great network of family, friends, and colleagues with whom I can share challenges and successes. These people are my biggest supporters, my sounding boards, and my hype crew, and I always feel better after a conversation with them.
9. What is one thing all businesses should be doing to support the health and wellbeing of their people?
Not just ticking boxes! It’s great to see organisations promoting awareness-raising campaigns or engaging guest speakers, but unless they have mechanisms and opportunities in place to provide continued support, then they have a long way to go. Co-designing health programs and support services with their employees should also be a priority, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach for workplace health and wellbeing.
10. CTM Partners are about Conversations That Matter. Why are conversations that matter important to you?
A conversation could change a life. Taking a genuine interest in the well-being and lives of our families, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and neighbours can make a huge difference. You don’t always know what is going on in a person’s life, so a simple conversation or indication that you genuinely care might provide the support or validation that someone needs at that very time.
11. How can we create more opportunities to have conversations that matter?
Whether in the community, the workplace, or the home, we can lead by example by initiating those conversations and sharing our own experiences, successes, and challenges. By sharing our own stories and creating opportunities for others to share theirs, we can establish supportive environments where conversations are encouraged.
Thanks for your time, Emma!