Susan Kukucka has worked for almost two decades in the arts and cultural sectors, and prior to becoming CEO of 100 Story Building she has always been captivated by the power of storytelling from her earliest memories.
She was born in Belgrade in the Former Yugoslavia, to Slovakian parents and immigrated to Australia and settled in St Albans, where I spent my primary school years.
“For my father’s health and a new start, we decided to move to Brisbane where I then spent the next two decades. About 6 years ago, my husband was offered a job in Melbourne so we thought we’d move down temporarily and settled in Williamstown. We’re still here and still love it.”
Susan loves the sense of community and small-town feel – spending her formative childhood years in the West left powerful impressions and deep roots.
“I feel a strong sense of connection to the diverse communities in the area. Living in a place surrounded by people who are Vietnamese, Maltese, Italian, Chinese, Greek, Yugoslavia, Egyptian – to name but a few.”
So what has changed in Susan’s time here?
“It’s not surprising to observe big change due to development and gentrification. And my connections look a little different now – they revolve a lot around my sons’ school, sports and hobbies, nature, work, and friends. My community has changed over the years, but the need to feel connected to others locally is as important as ever.”
For small joys Susan has always been excited about living close to a working port, and gets a thrill every time she sees a massive cargo ship cruise by. With two young sons and a high-energy dog Susan and her family love hanging out at the beach in the summer and love ending the day cycling home at sunset.
“For a treat, we love going to Will’s café at Nelson Place. Will’s has the friendliest staff in the West that do great coffee and crepes – I swear by the lemon and sugar crepe, and my boys always go for Nutella.”
“I love to imagine where they might have come from and what they hold. International travel still seems so far off, and although I love how we’ve embraced our local environments more, seeing the ships reminds me of our connections to the larger world.
And Susan’s hopes for the future?
“Through my work at 100 Story Building, I’m dedicated to providing opportunities for children and young people in our community to build the literacy skills, confidence and sense of belonging that are fundamental to future success.”