Joy Kuhns is passionate about facilitating for SIT2LRN, after having some extraordinary opportunities overseas.
After growing up in a large family in impoverished circumstances, Joy Kuhns couldn’t wait to leave Christchurch and seek a better life.
She wound up in California, where she cleaned Stanford-educated professionals’ houses in Silicon Valley. Without realising, those professionals played a vital mentoring role in her future – she’d note their book collections and then engross herself in what they’d learnt.
After many years of study and hard work, Joy obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics and a Master of Science in Organisational Development… while working fulltime in small start-up companies and becoming a single parent to her daughter.
Clearly not one to step back from a challenge, Joy’s career progressed, and she would go on to spend 10 years working for ELORET (a company offering research and engineering contract and consulting services) at NASA, where they employed research scientists working on the space shuttle and other outer-planetary vehicles.
“I eventually became Vice President of HR and it was a tremendous privilege to work with such bright, down-to-earth and dedicated individuals.
“One day when presenting a quarter of a billion-dollar proposal in the Gold Room at NASA Ames Research Centre, I had a moment when I realised that ‘this was it’. With hard work and passion, through the hopeful and spirited mentoring of my California friends, and through the dedication of the teachers at the University of San Francisco, I had made it!”
In 2009, changes at NASA began affecting ELORET, and with an ill mother at home, Joy decided to return to New Zealand. She was struck by the positive significance of the economic changes in Christchurch, particularly having returned at the height of the Global Financial Crisis and knowing the impact overseas.
“After having had such exceptional learning opportunities, I switched professions and became a teacher in the Department of Business at Ara, formerly CPIT.
“On my first day, with a full lecture hall, I realised that although I knew a little about business, I knew nothing about teaching – and it was frightening! So, I gained my Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching.”
Joy worked there for nine years, including providing pastoral care for a year, co-designing the Diploma in Human Resources nationally and redesigning the Bachelor of Applied Management in HR. She also worked in the fast-paced logistics industry for a few years.
“Now that I am lucky enough to work for SIT2LRN, I’m thrilled to be doing both course facilitation and course development, and these fit in well with my leadership practice.
“I thoroughly enjoy guiding students – they give me such hope. I also love creating new course content – it’s like putting a puzzle together.
I try to balance academic rigor, with contemporary and practical interpretation, which mirrors my own experience in being equipped for today and also tomorrow.
“Over and above burying myself in books and journals, industry professionals have been so generous in sharing their expertise, which greatly benefits the students.
“I’m so fortunate to be continuing to live my dreams, and these now also include living a quiet life in my 1930s cottage at the beach, where I love to walk and spend time with my family. Dreams do come true!”