During high school/VCE I enjoyed graphics, art, math and at times physics too. So I thought I wanted to study architecture and become a design guru. It seemed like a great career path that would enable me to combine my passions.
Although after an informal architecture internship I realised architecture wasn't for me. Suddenly I had to make selections for university courses but I was no longer clear about the career I wanted to pursue. I felt confused. I spent time 'researching'. I interrogated family and friends about their jobs, I spoke to high school teachers, I went to university open days. I discovered marketing was a good blend of art, math and human 'sciences'. It was strategic yet creative. During my research I also discovered that Monash University had a reputation for being one of the best with the most knowledgeable and industry experienced staff. So it was an easy choice. I lived closer to the Clayton campus at the time, but I decided to travel to Caulfield as I preferred the smaller campus and the fact that there was an Art and Design faculty on site (in case I wanted to dabble in that too).
As it turned out, my course lecturers and tutors at Monash had a huge influence on my career. Their guidance and feedback shaped my thinking in terms of what industry and marketing 'function' I wanted to pursue.
As part of my course at Monash, I undertook an internship at Australian Country Outfitters, a manufacturer and wholesaler of outdoor apparel. It was during my internship that I discovered what career path I wanted to explore further. My role at Australian Country Outfitters was a combination of product development and B2B marketing. One day I was working with factories in Fiji to design a new range of jackets. The next day I was briefing a graphic designer to create a new B2B site and swing tags. I loved being able to put theory into practice and it was during my time here that I came to the realisation that I wanted to pursue a career in high-end luxury apparel. As well as putting theory into practice, the internship gave me an opportunity to work out what I did and did not necessarily enjoy, which proved to be an invaluable lesson.
When I left Monash, I was fortunate to land a full time marketing role at an Australian designer concept store - unbranded at the time (later it became known as Designers’ House). That was a huge learning experience as it involved launching a small business from the ground up. Two years later, I moved to London to get some international experience. My first role was in marketing and PR for Armani and DKNY. I secured this gig through a recruiter (the first and last job I have ever got through a recruiter). I also found a career mentor about this time, and started to express an interest in trying out the corporate world (eek). This relationship resulted in me being offered a role at Barclays (one of the UK’s largest banks) where I eventually worked on partnerships such as the Barclays Premier League, ATP Tennis and The O2 Arena. My biggest highlight was sponsoring and activating Pride in London.
After six glorious years in London, I decided I wanted to return to Melbourne. A year before making the journey home, I was fortunate enough to do the Marketing Society’s Marketing Leaders programme (I highly recommend the course). It not only complemented my study and industry experience, but it gave me the opportunity to meet CMO's/CEO's across the world, hear about their journeys and develop my personal and professional leadership style. The coaches helped me identify what I wanted from my next company and role in Australia. So I started my research to find the right company. That's when I discovered athletic apparel brand lululemon. They had the exact culture, values and people I was looking for – focused on people, happiness, personal development, entrepreneurship and honesty. I contacted them on LinkedIn, spent nine months building a relationship and after many interviews and yoga sessions, I was eventually offered my current role - Brand Communications Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
So, a little bit of advice for all you Monash students about to start your major in marketing... Stay close to what you're passionate about, stay in touch with your tutors, be curious. Find a mentor. Attend (industry) events. Build relationships. Live and work overseas. Give back.