Wondering what it’s like to work with us? Or what makes each of us tick? Our ‘Engaging Conversations’ series profiles one of our team and their role with Weber Shandwick, while uncovering a few of their professional and personal passions.
How did you get into PR?
It happened by accident. I was four years into my marketing and Russian studies. It transpired that my supervisor was a former journalist turned PR professional, who helped me build on my marketing background to navigate the early stages of what has become my career. Remember, this was back in the dark ages before PR or Comms was even part of a degree, let alone its own degree.
Tell us about your role at Weber Shandwick.
Like many in this industry I juggle a number of hats. I lead a team of professionals with a deep love for the disruptive nature of technology in all aspects of how we live, work and play. I have taken on the leadership of our corporate practice and due to my Melbourne base, I also head our growing team in Melbourne.
If you didn’t work in PR, what would you want to do?
I’d indulge my love of food and finally become a patisserie chef or chocolatier, which would require a lot more exercise to counter-balance the increased ‘tasting’ involved. Or I’d put to good use the many hours I have spent on the myotherapist’s table, learning about unknotting my neck and back muscles, to help other executives find better balance (or at least posture).
What is your greatest achievement (personal or professional)?
I would have to say it is being a master juggler. As a Mum to two amazing children, wife and partner in the home restaurant / cleaning / childcare / taxi business, there are many ‘balls’ I try to keep in the air. I also try to stay at least a little active and ensure my ‘work family’ are positively challenged, inspired and love coming to work.
What person (alive or dead, industry or non-industry) would you most like to work with?
I would love to spend time with Stephen Hawking or former scientists like the Curies – people who have the ability to look at the world differently and discover new ways to tackle some of our world’s big problems. I admire the way their minds work and would love to apply even a little of this to the way I work.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
There is no single moment. It’s like that saying – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each phase of my career has standout moments. Among them, my first community relations project in a New Zealand mining town , writing my first annual report, media training that had executives in tears to the tears of joy winning an International Gold Quill Award. The growth of team members and progression of their careers is important to me, as is the promotion of executives to new roles and new opportunities … it all sticks.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently and why?
I just finished Frank Lowy – A Second Life, the biography by Jill Margo. As a relatively recent migrant to Australia, it was more than fascinating. On the lighter side, over the summer I couldn’t put down The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. And I often read books or series alongside my 12 year old – from Maurice Gleitzman’s Once, Then, Now series to Wonder and The Hunger Games.
Tell us something that your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you.
I qualified as a teacher and judge of Highland dancing before I left high school and from a very young age, I was convinced I was going to pursue a career in medicine. The latter might explain my excitement with how technology is fusing with healthcare to advance the speed and accuracy of diagnoses, treatment and cures, among so much more.
What cities have you lived in? For how long? Or, where do you want to travel to next?
The travel bug runs strong in our family. While much of our current travel focuses on family in New Zealand and the UK, we have a very long bucket list. High on that list is Turkey – from exploring the alleys, markets and mosques of Istanbul to the underground city of Cappadocia. South America holds great appeal and we are keen to take our girls to Nepal – a place and people that is very special to their Dad.
What is your go-to destination online for browsing, reading and/or staying connected?
It varies by the day – weekends are all about reading the papers cover to cover. Weekdays when travelling are a mix of newspapers and magazines while taking off and landing, as well as online news (NY Times, Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook@Work feeds). Where I can, I finish with a book to round out the day.
What is your motto/what words do you live by?
Never say never; make lists; prioritise; and always take time to actively listen to the people around you.
After work, you can be found…
Playing taxi and cheering from the sidelines of basketball courts. Or in my blissful place, in front of our outside fire with a glass of red listening to music via our Sonos and catching up with family and friends.
Weber Shandwick is…
An agency of incredibly talented people that get to work with some of the world’s most exciting brands and clients, doing work that allows us to extend ourselves and our industry.