How many identities do you have?
1. An adoring mum
2. A devoted wife
3. A passionate and focused executive producer
4. A loving daughter
5. A loyal friend
6. Secret US politics nerd
7. Lazy Sunday lover
Tell us a bit about your story and how you’ve got to where you are now?I think I was born with a bit of gig in my blood. Although I fell into a life of event production by somewhat accident, I’ve always been attracted to environments where music and moments collide. As a cover band vocalist and fresh Film and Television / Public Relations university graduate, I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity of a short-term internship within the Burswood (now Crown) PR/Marketing team. I took every opportunity I was presented with by the horns, and managed to quickly transition the internship into a full time Marketing role. Over the course of the following year, I moved into an Events position within the VIP Gaming Department of Crown Perth and remained there for a number of years.
When I felt that I had learnt the lessons that the Gaming Events world could teach me, I jumped off of the deep end and relocated, site unseen, to North Queensland for a role with an Off Site Events company. Cairns and Port Douglas fed my soul in such a positive way and I’ll ways treasure the experiences and personal and professional growth that the tropical paradise provided. Gala Dinners on the beach, parties in cane paddocks and everything in between – what a ride North Queensland was.Never one to say no to a great opportunity, when the same business offered me the chance to achieve one of my long-term professional goals by moving to China to produce events, I jumped, feet first. A uniquely challenging and diverse 18 months prevailed as I embraced expat life and worked with incredible clients and talent.After an amazing 8 years away, I craved the comfort of Perth and family and sought out the only man who was producing work of a quality I aspired to be a part of. The rest is somewhat history and I’ve spent the last 8.5 years as Executive Producer of DG global. This incredible bunch of event professionals creates some of the best Corporate Event Experiences in the country and I’m so proud to be with them every day.Producing a diverse range of Live Events, I get to spend my day with some of the best creative and technical minds in the business. I am challenged every day and I truly feel like every choice I have made for my career over the past 15 years has lead me to here.And throughout it all, my constants – my incredible husband Nat, who has been a part of my life since before those early Burswood days and now, our precious boys, Archer (5) and Grayson (1). They fill me with a love that I never knew was possible and I’m so grateful for their patience, support and understanding on this crazy ride that we venture on together.
What has been your most challenging moment in life thus far? I thrive in challenging situations and feel like I perform best under pressure – a true gig chick trait! There have been many professional and personal challenges along the way but they have given me the strength and braveness to know that I can tackle anything I put my mind to. My time living and working in China was a huge personal challenge; both physically and emotionally. I struggled to find my happiness there and was constantly on edge in such a high-stakes environment. The physical aspects of the environment in China also greatly affected my energy and I have never been so acutely aware of how much my contentment relies on access to clean fresh air, open spaces and the smell of the ocean. My time there was a lesson for me in making sure that each of my “tanks” needs to be full and that placing 100% priority on career goals alone will lead to a lack of fulfilment and joy. In my personal life, I have struggled with issues around hormone imbalance and fertility for quite a few years. I was diagnosed at just 30 with early onset peri menopause and consider myself incredibly lucky to have been able to conceive two healthy baby boys. It has been a long-term struggle to find a balanced solution to this problem but I am finally, at 36, embracing and finding great success with treatments. I struggled initially, and still do on some days, with the challenge that all working mothers face – how to balance the ever-changing needs of young children with a busy career. How to cope with being split apart by a desire to be perfect at each of those critical roles. The only way I have found to overcome this is to acknowledge early on that I just cannot be all things, to all people, at one time. Being able to say “no”, and knowing which projects and people to wholly embrace, has been a skill that I’ve had to learn over the past few years.
How do you feel stereotypes have affected women in society so far? I like to think that women of my generation and younger are breaking pre-existing stereotypes and assumptions with a vengeance. There is a long way to go in terms of fixing gender inequity but I feel like those paths are laid out for the next generation of women who are willing to take the batten of change and run with it. It’s a certainty that what a stereotypical mum of two looked like 15 years ago is different to what it looks like today and I love watching strong women continue to break those antiquated views and expectations. I am strong but I am feminine. I am kind but I am not weak. I am a mother but I focused on my career. I refuse to let societies stereotypes and other people’s expectations define what my womanhood should look.
What are you doing to affect change? I truly believe that one of the most direct ways in which I can positively influence change is by raising good humans. That has always been the very basic fundamental principal by which my husband and I have parented and I think it’s a very basic yet powerful philosophy for all of us to live by. I also try to create positive environments for learning and development of younger event professionals in the workplace. I’m always open to providing advice and guidance to those wanting to make an impact in the industry and will happily step aside to allow up and coming producers to shine. This year, I’ve tried to try to find more time to support causes close to my heart. Participating in Up All Night for Ronald McDonald House has been an incredible process, walking lots of kilometers each week with close girlfriends in preparation for our December marathon has been challenging, therapeutic and, most importantly, resulted in great money raised for such an important charity.
How have you grown as a person, mentally, emotionally and spiritually since starting your career in events? It’s certainly been a journey! I started my career with absolutely no idea of where it would take me. My career has allowed me to see the world, opened my eyes to some amazing people and places and has provided a richness of experience that I could have never envisaged as a green 21-year-old intern. This career and journey has taught me how to trust my instincts and how to back myself when know I’m on the right path. Ironically, the chaos has taught me calmness and an inherent ability to not sweat the small stuff and provided some context for what’s truly important. At the end of the day, I produce amazing gigs for people – it’s an incredibly rewarding and FUN job, but its not saving lives. Over the years, as I’ve tried to get grow my skills in managing people, I’ve had to learn how to stop placing my very high expectations of myself onto others, especially around productivity. Understanding that we are all on our own journey in our careers and that just because I feel like things should be done at a certain pace and intensity, doesn’t make it right for everyone. I am still learning and growing every day but most of all, when I look back at the last 15 years, this career has provided me with a strength and confidence within myself to know that I am worthy of my success and that I deserve to be where I am. I’ve worked hard, sacrificed along the way and am fortunate to still be totally in love with the career that has given me so much.
What would you say to all the women out there who think it’s impossible to work full-time and have a family? It’s not impossible but it’s bloody hard. First things first – you have to love what you do. It’s an all-consuming battle for balance and if you don’t have a passion for what you do, the sacrifices just might not add up. A support network is also critical. Not just in terms of childcare but finding a group of people in your tribe, who understand your busy world, will provide you with such valuable support, listening ears and the occasional cuddle. The last thing that you need, when trying to balance your life between a busy career and all-consuming motherhood, is needy friends who just don’t get it. Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself. You can have it all, just not all at the same time. You’ll miss assemblies in some weeks and meetings in others, you’ll have to make choices about projects and social events that don’t line up with your absolutely priorities – but that’s OK. It doesn’t always need be perfect. For me, I know I’m a better mum when I’m working. My children see me passionate and engaged and I think that teaches them a valuable lesson about what their career should give to them. Oh – and always have wine in the fridge ;)