You came to Think HQ after having spent much of your early adulthood travelling and living abroad, how has this experience helped shape your career?
Leaving a small town in New Zealand in my early 20s, I wasn’t in a hurry to pursue a career until I was sure I knew what I wanted to do. Spending quite a few years really absorbing other cultures and ways of life gave me a tremendous amount of perspective and respect for the journey of others. Travel can be incredibly self-reflective- and this time enabled me to really define who I was, what motivated me, and what my values were. Some notable experiences in South America and South East Asia solidified my interest working within the social impact space- I then launched into my career, like a bull out of the gates!
I’ve slowed down a bit more now and learnt to enjoy and reflect on each stage of my career journey. I figure that you spend such a big part of your life working and you will feel much more fulfilled if your values and ethics are in line with what you’re doing everyday.
What have been some highlights during your three years at Think HQ?
It’s been a pleasure to work on a kaleidoscope of clients and projects over the years- from national mental health campaigns to delivering health and safety roadshows in regional Victoria. For me, it’s the people that I’ve met that have formed my most memorable experiences so far.
Since 2014, I’ve been lucky to lead many of the Organ and Tissue Authority’s initiatives, including DonateLife Week and Thank You Day. Working with families to share their personal experiences of losing loved ones, and their decision to donate their organs, is something that will stay with me for a long time. I’ve met children who have just blown me away with their strength and resilience. Communication is not all about strategy, content and outputs- it’s about people. This experience has ultimately shown me the impact that communication can have in ‘real life’- our work contributed to people registering as organ donors- and could one day save someone’s life. It doesn’t get much better than that!
You’re responsible for establishing and managing Think HQ’s internship program- what do you believe are the most important skills when developing a career in the world of communications?
Every budding communicator has a unique way of operating, and those who are really killing it have been aware of their strengths and played to them. Emotional intelligence, enthusiasm, exceptional time management and an attention to detail will take you a long way. Showing initiative and being able to see the gaps is particularly important in a busy agency where you need to be able to plan and mitigate deadlines. We’re so proud of our intern program and it’s been awesome to nurture the new wave of superstar communicators coming through. Our industry certainly has a bright future!
For the last few years you’ve sat on the Board of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) - why do you think it’s important to be involved in industry associations?
As communicators it is important to be curious. In our insanely busy lives we so often get stuck in our own little bubble. The IABC has enabled me to look around and be inspired by the other great work that’s being achieved- both locally and abroad. It’s also great to keep across how our rapidly evolving industry is changing.
I think every communicator should feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the industry- something I’ve been lucky enough to do in my various board roles. I’ve also been able to connect and build a broad network of industry connections- and have even met some of my best friends- which is pretty cool.
There’s nothing better than sharing a few ‘war stories’ over a glass of wine of two.
What has been the most valuable advice you received?
It’s probably from my parents. My mum would say to not take yourself too seriously and everything in moderation- including moderation. My dad would tell me to always have annual leave days saved just in case the surf is good.