I'm a freelance writer, editor and marcomms consultant. I specialise in writing and editing for business and academia, with design and web development on the side.
My focus and key skill is in converting thoughts into words. And in making sure they communicate effectively with the right people.
And here are my vital statistics to suit the average web attention span: Bachelor of Commerce (Monash), worked in marketing for a variety of industries including tech, publishing, and finance. Have run my own show for the last 10. Experience in the markets of Asia Pacific, UK & Europe.
Now, if like me you enjoy a good story and a deep and meaningful conversation then this version is for you. I can't guarantee depth or meaning, but I can guarantee a story...
For a while I wanted to be an inventor, but then I decided everything was invented. Then I wanted to be a botanist, but I sucked at chemistry. By my final years of high school the practicality bug bit me and I decided I wanted to be an accountant. Given that my least favourite part of running a business is bookkeeping it's appropriate to ask 'WTF'?
It's due to a slight division of personalities. I'm not saying I have split personality disorder. I'm just not all... something. Instead I'm caught somewhere in the middle of practical and creative. Depending on the day this can be a blessing or a curse.
Although I'd like to think of myself as a flamboyant, bohemian, creative light; I am also practical, pragmatic, sometimes lacking in spontaneity and a little too 'fixed' for my own good. So what does one do with these opposing forces? Clearly accounting wasn't going to suit my boho self, but the pragmatist decided there was no point doing an arts degree (despite blitzing English and winning awards) if I wasn't intending to use it for teaching... So I ended up doing a commerce degree, minoring in literary theory.
After way too much partying and a few fails, I finally hitched up my long stripy socks, pulled my finger out and graduated with a piece of paper, lots of fun times and plenty of life experience. But still not much closer to finding my calling.
So what was a pragmatic-creative hybrid to do with a commerce degree? Attend the graduate interviews with the big companies like every other hopeful? Nope, instead my creative side took over and I snubbed all those options in favour of volunteering at Express Media - a youth media arts centre in Fitzroy, Melbourne and had the time of my life: writing, editing, attending fringe festivals and other cool gigs, wearing a press badge; reviewing the obscure, organising literary festivals and rubbing shoulders with some pretty amazingly clever people.
Eventually pragmatic me took the reigns again... I wasn't getting paid anything and I felt the pull to 'get serious about my career'. So sadly I left Express Media and went to work for an employment agency. What the F was I thinking??? That was the day my pragmatic side was just plain dumb.
I'd gone from a vibrant, creative environment, where sure, I wasn't earning money but was surrounded by buckets full of opportunities for experience, networking and future prospects; to a dull, uninspiring, hierarchical corporate environment.
My illustrious career at the employment agency went on to see me write an ‘advice’ letter, on company letterhead to a woman with no qualifications, or intention of acquiring any, a grudge against the world and a desire to become a psychologist. Let's just say the letter contained plenty of advice but not much diplomacy. I look back and cringe at my fiery, opinionated younger self. (Rest assured that my diplomacy and empathy skills have developed markedly since that letter.)
The letter made me feel better, but unfortunately a copy of my (very well written) letter landed on the desk of my manager, his boss, and the industry ombudsmen. Which very nearly resulted in the Company's government contract being pulled. Oops.
I was very nearly fired, but fortunately a lovely, camp guy, who looked a lot like Richie Cunningham from Happy Days was employed as my manager. We hit it off and he fought to keep me. Which was really nice of him, but shortly after that my creative side yelled ENOUGH and I resigned to begin a career in marketing.
I worked for a listed tech company during the boom of the late nineties - SecureNet (back when business and product names using CapitalLettersWithoutSpaces was de rigueur). That was a pretty fun job... I once again got to use my writing skills - this time for good (though I did run out of ways to say "Australia's leading internet security company").
I finally began to feel that I'd hit upon a vocation that suited my split personality... But I was young and the world was waiting... So honestly the best part of that job was cashing in my employee shares at the market high right before the industry crash; and heading off to South America.
After three months exploring Latin America, speaking Spanglish and eating too many churros I moved to the UK. I wish I could call it intrepid and adventurous, but given that London is apparently the biggest electorate of voters outside Australia, I can't quite claim that title.
I did however manage to avoid living in a large, seedy share house with a horde of other Aussies in Earls Court, spending my weekends getting drunk at The Walkabout. Instead, I lived in a small, only a little bit seedy, share house with English friends and drank cheap french wine, chatted a lot, and laughed a lot. Happy times.
After a brief spell of temping for Cazenove Capital Management in central London - full of old money and plummy accents, I landed a wonderful job as a Regional Marketing Communications Specialist (how's that for a snazzy job title), with Silverplatter Information - a company who were pioneers in producing commercial reference databases on CD-ROMs (remember those?!). I had the most awesome boss who I became very good friends with, fun colleagues and exciting work. We handled the marketing communications for the UK, Europe and the Middle East markets. Pretty fun for a young Aussie girl.
I considered being sponsored by the company and staying on in the UK. But alas they were bought out by an American rival company - Ovid, and contractors were the first to go.
So, then it was time for a change of scenery. A friend offered up his barge boat, moored in a little place called Saltford, between Bristol and Bath. The boat had a lounge area, a pot belly stove, a galley kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It was springtime when I was there so the world was covered in jonquils and daffodils.
In Bristol I temped in the marketing department for Allied Domecq - a company that marketed top beer and wine labels... Beefeater, Courvoisier, Makers Mark etc. My job was the marketing communications associated with sponsoring the european Formula One circuit.
Once that contract was finished and with only a few short months of my visa remaining, I was looking for adventure - so obviously I became a gardener... Wait it gets better... In Scotland... Living in a big posh manor house... On the shores of Loch Ness... Yes really!
The house and grounds were incredible. I still pinch myself. It was a two storey monster with about 15 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a butler's kitchen and a drying room in the basement. The study was lined wall to wall with books, a cozy fireplace and a cushion that someone had lovingly embroidered with the words, "It's hard to be humble when you're from Eton".
Then there was the billiards room with a regulation-size table, and the formal lounge housing a grand piano and photos of the family partying with the royals.
My favourite room in the house was the kitchen. It had a huge table in the middle, an Aga that was warm 24 hours a day, and a window over the kitchen sink that looked out over manicured gardens and a forest that stretched down to Loch Ness. On the opposite bank the ruins of Urquhart Castle were visible.
Our job was essentially to mow grass. There was a ride-on for the lawn in the hedge-enclosed formal garden (set apart from the house), a hand mower with a roller to create that perfect lined turf look, and strimmers (whipper snippers) for edges and vast expanses of bluebells that had finished their lilac blooming and withered en masse. We became experts, perhaps it became a bit of an obsession, because when we finished up, we'd drive past stretches of cut grass and guess whether it had been slashed, mowed (with a ride-on or push and on what number) or strimmed.
On weekends we'd throw some food and bedding into the back of a VW postie van and explore Scotland. Sleeping on the side of a country road, bathing in crystal clear, freezing lochs and eating, as I recall, a lot of carrots.
Eventually, with my visa fast coming to an end, it was time to return to London and maximise our earning potential in preparation for more travel...
Safaris in Kenya. Gorilla trekking in Uganda. Kilimanjaro summit and white Zanzibar beaches in Tanzania. Mangoes, games of bao and constant offers of 'chamba' in Malawi. A marathon 30 hour bus ride to Zimbabwe; a near death experience as that same bus rolled down a hill somewhere between Mozambique and Harare; a feeling of gratitude for life and sadness for the woman who lost hers; beautiful people living under a corrupt, oppressive government and ironically half-price movie tickets in the already perversely deflated Zimbabwe Dollar. Sneaky backpacker 'walk-in' rates for luxury camping in the Okavango Delta, Leopards at sunset and quivering chameleons in Botswana. Hitchhiking, stunning deserts, warthogs and delicious apple strudel in Namibia. Beaches, vineyards, mountain ranges and violence in South Africa.
In Copenhagen we ate raw herring for Christmas dinner and had our photos taken sitting on the lap of Hans Christian Andersen's bronze doppleganger.
From chilly Denmark, Bankok's heat and humidity hit us like a ton of pad thai. We spent the next four months meandering through Indochina. Beach bumming it in Thailand; exploring the history of Cambodia from the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat to the chilling Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge; swimming in turquoise waterholes in Laos, and spending days sitting on the slow boat up the Mekong to the top end of Thailand; drinking tea and eating greasy, yummy, spicy roti prata in Malaysia; finishing our journey in sleek and modern Singapore.
It almost feels like blasphemy to say so, but unstructured days that became weeks and months began to feel futile and I started to crave routine, a flushing toilet, coat hangers and a permanent address.
Returning to Australia after three years felt good. Normality returned quickly. Within a month we'd set up home in a rented one bedroom flat in Melbourne and returned to full-time employment. I started a job as a marketing manager in Melbourne's CBD and enjoyed for a while being back in an office, dressing up in a suit and playing the corporate game. What the directors lacked in integrity, the position made up for in latitude. My job description covered everything from writing and customer relations to web, events and graphic design.
After a couple of years the corporate novelty finally wore off and I resigned to set up my own marketing consultancy.
Yoga became a big part of my life. What started as a once a week class for stretching (here's a funny video on that) became a life path that now informs many of my thoughts, actions and intentions.
I don't know where it came from, but I happen to be pretty good at stringing a sentence together and that can be helpful. One of my favourite quotes is by George Bernhard Shaw...
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
And ain't that the truth. Think about your conversations with your intimate partner for example. Ai yai yai.
If you are in business or academia and contributing to making the world a better place please get in touch. I'd love to help you to make a bigger difference through words that connect.
For more information on what I do, check out my SERVICES page
P.S. My most brilliant creations and wildest adventures are my two sons...