Meet our People – Emily Yorkston

Find out more about our staff, their roles, and what their day to day looks like!

What was your path into evaluation and ARTD?

I used the quantitative data from an evaluation of a community-based injury prevention program as the basis for my PhD. The analytical methodology I used stripped all the context out of the evaluation data: not surprisingly, I didn’t find anything. I realise now that was a really valuable lesson in the difference between research (control all the variables!) and evaluation (understand all the variables!) After a less than successful attempt at a Post Doc, I was freelancing as a scientific writer and quantitative analyst and came across a report written by ARTD. I Googled and discovered that one of ARTD’s former Directors was also living on the Sunshine Coast. We met for lunch, and the rest is history. Before I knew it, I was in a tiny plane heading to Dubbo to do data collection for my first evaluation project!

Can you sum up your role as a Partner in one sentence?

I work with a team of brilliant evaluators to ensure our we provide evidence that is insightful, rigorous and pragmatic, so our clients have the information they need to do their jobs better.

What was the best opportunity/ your proudest work moment since starting at ARTD?

I have travelled Australia extensively (and off the beaten track) for this work and met incredible people who generously share their stories. It is my privilege to ensure their voices are resonant in the work we deliver. Because of this work, I appreciate the complexity of developing effective public policy, and I have insight into the effort that the public service—in partnership with the non-government sector—puts into keeping people safe, well and productive.

What is your favourite thing about working at ARTD?

Without a doubt, my smart, curious, kind and committed colleagues. Even on difficult days, or when work is stressful, working with my team is a joy. I still pinch myself that I get paid to ask people questions and learn new things.

What does a ‘day in the life’ look like for you?

There is no typical day, and that suits me perfectly. (I have always said I wanted a job that was different every day.) It is blend of strategic work, to keep our business healthy and functioning, client conversations and working with our team to deliver on our commitments. In the last couple of years, the only constant has been an incessant amount of Zoom and Teams conversations! (Sorry, I think you’ve frozen? Wait, there’s someone at the door. You’re on mute…)

What’s something your clients may not know about you?

I was dead keen on becoming a medical doctor – either an emergency physician or a forensic pathologist – right up until the point I passed all the exams to get in. I realised I’d probably never sleep again, and that I could use my diagnostic and pattern-finding skills in other ways. It was the best decision of my life and, ultimately, one that led me down the road to evaluation.

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