Meet our People – Jack Rutherford

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 had just finished my honours degree, which, while challenging and ultimately satisfying, solidified the idea that I didn’t want to be an academic. I was also doing conservation fieldwork in remote Queensland at the time I was recruited, which, while fun and something not many people get to see, helped me realise that I didn’t want a job that was so isolating.

So, I was unemployed, at a bit of a professional crossroads, and applied for a job at ARTD after hearing about it through a friend of my mum’s. I had no idea what evaluation really meant. All I knew was that I wanted a job that would challenge me, allow me to make new friends and stay near my current ones, and make me feel like I was making a change—and honestly, I had a job application quota to continue getting Centrelink payments.

I remember being at the peak of my loneliness and crisis of career in the middle of nowhere Queensland, taking advantage of a sliver of wi-fi, when I saw the offer to come work at ARTD. I’m not superstitious, but that seemed like as good a sign as any! And here I am three years later!

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

I lead and support projects that help our (usually government) clients understand whether and how well their programs achieved what they wanted to achieve.

This was actually a great exercise, because I usually feel like Chandler from Friends when I explain my job to my friends. “A transponster! A transponster!”

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

As a biologist and lover of nature, any chance I can get to work in the environment sector is exciting. Like I said, I didn’t want to be an academic or do months and months of fieldwork. Before I worked at ARTD, I had no idea I could contribute to the environment sector through policy, so this exposure has revealed a multitude of possibilities for me.

Also, being able to contribute to the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation practice framework was immensely humbling, and I am very excited to work with the uncles and the staff more in the future. Working within ARTD’s Aboriginal Projects and Partnerships portfolio has definitely opened my mind to different ways of knowing and sharing.

While I recognise that I still have a lot to learn about cultural sensitivity and safety, I hope one day I can marry what I’ve learned under the Aboriginal portfolio to my experience with environmental policy, and help return ecosystems as close as possible to their pre-colonial state.

What is your favourite thing about working at ARTD?

I know it sounds cliché, but honestly the people and culture, as well as the diversity of work. Back when we could all be in the office (one day we will return!), it was a vibrant place to work with many initiatives happening to make sure people felt connected to each other. I don’t think I’ve ever met a true slacker at ARTD. That is, I’ve never asked myself, “How did that person even get this job?”

There’s no competition, no judgement and no cliques. Everyone just wants to do well and wants to see you do well.

The diversity of the work I encounter is another reason why I like working at ARTD. Most projects last about three to six months, with the odd one lasting maybe a year. This means that there’s always something new on the horizon.

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

A typical day starts with a coffee or two, then I look at and clean my inbox and check my calendar for any meetings I have on.

I’m more productive in the morning, so I’ll then put Spotify on and sink my teeth into some project work, like some analysis or reporting. Once 12:30 rolls around its time for lunch, where I’ll usually meet up with others in the break room to chat over the daily crossword.

Coffee number three leads me into the afternoon, where I might spend some time designing infographics or developing a survey. If I’m lucky, a few colleagues will stick around for a drink when we all knock off, during which I’ll likely play the part of DJ.

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

I am a huge Pokémon, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Avatar: the Last Airbender nerd. In my spare time I like to draw kind of sci-fi, kind of fantasy, kind of sexy steamy bathhouse illustrations, or poke around in rockpools.

I was also born in Perth and was raised on the beach and in the swamp (which I suspect was integral in developing my love of the natural world). I’ve volunteered at a conservation reserve in the Amazon in Peru, studied abroad in Bristol, and tried to teach colours to jumping spiders (the cutest variety of spiders and the only kind I will ever work with).

I’m also an identical twin, and we’re both gay! Trivia!

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