Dayle English oozes enthusiasm. Her smile is big, her laugh is loud and her wit is quick. But there’s a lot more to English than meets the eye. In addition to being the Executive Assistant (EA) to UTS’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Leigh, she’s also a nutritionist, wellness coach, and dragon boat racer.
“In early 2015 I had a look around,” English recalls. “I wanted to do a team sport and I was sick of the gym and I was getting a bit fat, so I went and had a paddle down at Blackwattle Bay with the ACCA Dragon Boat Racing Team.”
One-and-a-half hours later, as she climbed out of the boat, puffed, English was hooked.
“When it comes to dragon boat racing, the main thing is timing,” explains English. “No matter how fit you are, no matter the age of the team, if someone is out of time you won’t win.”
For English, the only thing better than the camaraderie of her beloved Nowra Waterdragons (in 2015 she moved from Sydney’s inner west to Wollongong) is that of UTS’s Financial Services Unit (FSU).
Late last year, she combined the two, corralling her colleagues to race in the Dragon Boats NSW Chinese New Year Corporate Dragon Boat Races. Despite having had just one team training session and only three of the 23 team members having any race experience, the FSU team placed fourth, fourth and second in their three heats.
It’s just one of many team-building experiences English is involved in at UTS. Within FSU, she also coordinates the unit’s bi-monthly town hall meetings. The two-hour events include unit updates, staff achievements and a half-hour-long presentation by a UTS researcher talking about their work.
“I like it because it showcases research I wouldn’t normally know about and it gets me up close and personal with the impressive impact UTS is making in the world,” says English.
The effervescent EA is also a member of the Executive Assistants and Admins (EAAA) Forum on StaffConnect. It’s an online network for executive assistants at UTS where they can collaborate and find out interesting and useful information. It’s also where English writes her “nutty blog”.
“Nutrition is my other passion,” she reveals. “I do a blog for them every few weeks. It includes some recipes and some of my opinions and sometimes I’ll attach a research paper. I really just want to help people understand they can take control of their health and change things to make them feel better and healthier.
“I call it my ‘nutty blog’ because some things, like applying pineapples to warts to remove them, sound crazy, but I’m like, ‘go on try it!’.”
And English is always up for a challenge. In between stints working at UTS (she was an EA in the Faculty of Engineering from 2001 to 2008, then returned to the Faculty of Science in 2013 and moved to FSU last year), English has also run her own nutrition and massage business. “But it just wasn’t the right path,” she says.
Now, English couldn’t be happier. “I love it here, and I'm not leaving again. Until I retire.”