Tell us about how you got to where you are today. Do you see yourself as an inspirational woman?
I’ve worked hard and have been driven by wanting to be the best I can possibly be. I’m not content with just cruising along and constantly need to be challenged to do my best work. One of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll become complacent.
I’ve also always wanted to ensure that the work I’m doing is giving back in some way, which explains my history doing Public Relations (PR) and communications for a number of different not-for-profits and government campaigns.
I don’t feel like I have really ‘made it’ in my eyes yet (not sure that I ever will to be honest), which is something that I’m conscious of and trying to work on – I have the tendency to be a perfectionist, which I don’t think is healthy for a positive life and mind. It’s a gradual process but hopefully I’ll get there!
What do you see as your biggest achievements?
Professionally, being named 30 under 30 in B&T’s Marketing & PR awards was a massive achievement for me last year. Being recognised for the hard work and dedication to both my industry and the organisations I have worked for was big for me.
Personally, marrying my high school sweetheart, Jamie, was the happiest and best day of my life so far. Sounds cliché, sure, but I couldn’t do what I do without his support and love. Plus, he makes me laugh like no one else and not only puts up with but welcomes my random dance parties in our lounge room.
What in your life can’t you live without?
Exercise – it’s really important for my physical and mental health that I move my body everyday. I really notice the difference when I don’t – I’m agitated and not a nice person to be around.
My dog – Indi (black and white cocker spaniel). It’s true what they say about dogs having a positive impact on your mental health. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, taking her for a walk or just playing with her for five minutes not only calms me, but always leaves me with a grin on my face.
What struggles have you had to face and what struggles may still lie ahead of you?
I really struggle to say no – it’s an area that trips me up every time as I over commit and want to please everyone all the time. I often end up going from breakfast to lunch to dinner on the weekends, and then falling in a heap on Sunday night. I’m trying to teach myself to say no and make ‘me time’ more of a priority. I am getting better at it as I know if I don’t get it right now, it’s going to really impact me later in life.
What is the biggest struggle you’ve faced that has shaped who you are today? Why was this the biggest struggle?
I had major back surgery ten years ago, when I was almost 18. It involved having five of my discs removed and fused with screws and a rod to straighten my spine. It was a pretty harrowing experience, and it was just when I finished Year 12. I spent three months in a brace and about six weeks mostly in bed afterwards. I remember lying in bed at one stage a few weeks post-operation and just thinking everything was dark. I couldn’t see the light or feel anything positive. It was my first experience with depression and I really struggled to make it out of that hole. I believe it was getting through this time that taught me I’m tougher than I thought and could handle more than I realised.
Do you struggle with work/life balance? How do you try and master this?
I really struggle with work/life balance. I’m an emotional person and am always very invested in my work. I find it really hard to detach from work so often find myself stressing about it or putting too much on myself (hello perfectionism!).
I’m getting better at setting boundaries around technology, which I think is an important one in this age where we’re always switched on and contactable. I’ve recently implemented a ‘no checking email between 8pm and 8am rule’ which has really given me the clarity during the off times to allow my brain to have a bit of a rest. I find that yoga is such a gift too during the crazy times. It’s particularly useful straight after work, to bridge that gap between the work day and the evening which belongs to me, not to my work.
What inspirational books have you read that have really made a difference in your life?
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office is one book that has had a huge influence on my life and my career. My first internship supervisor gave it to me when I was 20 years old, and it’s one that I recently re-read. Reading it again, I discovered that I’m picking up on different things that I need to focus on. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
I also love Lean In (of course, didn’t everyone get something from that book?) for its practical advice around making sure you have a ‘seat at the table’ and an inspiring job to come back to after having kids. It’s something I know I hadn’t really considered, but I know that if I’m lucky enough to have kids, I’ll also need a stimulating career to come back to.
I’ve also got Thrive by Arianna Huffington on my ‘next to read’ list, which from all accounts will provide me with more gold.
What you hope to achieve in the next 5-10 years?
I want to continue to stretch myself professionally by always challenging myself with bigger projects that will see me build skills in various areas.
I don’t believe in working a 9-5 life so in the next 5-10 years I’ll set myself up so that I have flexibility around working hours. Ideally this will come from owning my own business, but I do believe that we should be making the most of the technology we have access to by working from and when suits our personalities and lifestyles. Life’s too short to eat lunch at your desk everyday.
What kind of person do you aspire to be?
Kind, passionate, loving and loyal.
Sometimes I struggle with one (or more) of these and can get sucked in by negative, cynical people (can’t we all?) but when my values are being compromised, I’m not at my best and I’m not loving life.
I want to be known as a kind person – someone who has other peoples’ backs. Someone who doesn’t buy into dragging other people down and someone who can always see the best in people.
What message or advice would you want to give people that may read this?
Stop talking about stuff and take action. If you’re not happy with an aspect of your life, do something about it. I get frustrated when people talk about what they are annoyed about, without actually taking any action.
Also, trust the process. There’s a reason you are where you’re at in your life now. It might not be where you want to end up, but ultimately you’ve been put there for a reason. If something doesn’t happen to work, learn from it and move on.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“Kindness: it doesn’t cost a thing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere”.