At Commtract, our community of experts are the lifeblood of our business. One initiative we are taking on is featuring more of our experts to showcase their unique talent, ready to be engaged on our marketplace! We interviewed senior communications strategist and media trainer, Amber Daines – keep on reading to find out all about her!
1. What are you famous for? Media training and presentation skills coaching mixed with crisis communications. If it’s high pressure and high stakes communications, that is my caper.
2. What interesting skills and experience do you bring to the table as a contractor? I began my career 22 years ago as a daily newspaper and broadcast TV journalist working in Australia, then Hong Kong, London and Paris. I moved into PR after four years overseas and have pretty much experienced every type of media relations and corporate communications you can do ever since. My sweet spot of helping leaders become master communicators. You can’t lead well unless you can get these skills right.
3. What have been your favourite projects/engagements/roles/clients I learned a lot working on Banking Royal Commission from inside AMP – I do enjoy crisis communications for all its challenges and deadlines. Likewise, I relish working with the smartest people in their sector, so partners in clients like Deloitte and Finity are greatly rewarding to work with too.
4. Any wise observations for clients who are considering engaging contractors? Make new contractors feel welcome in the early days, and always take time to understand the value and expertise they bring to your team. Untapped potential is everywhere.
5. You were a journalist for some big names – Sky News, Institutional Investor and the Financial Times where you were both on and off the camera. What were a few of the valuable learning experiences, and how did this kick off the illustrious career you have had so far? Practice makes perfect, but mistakes make for the most important lessons. I started my career in the mid-90s, right after the worst recession Australia had ever had since the Great Depression, so nobody was hiring fast. I was a cadet at Fairfax in Sydney for months, where I had very entry-level pay (and I had rent to service), so I did other jobs like working at AMP Tower as a casual tour guide as well as being a newspaper cadet, after three years at uni. It taught me self-discipline and focus that is for sure. I try to still say ‘yes’ to amazing opportunities even if they are not the easiest option at the time.
6. You have consulted for a wide range of organisations across all industries – do you have a favourite industry to work in and why? I really like the areas of engineering and demography – that is the world of complex built structures and the changing lifestyles of people, in a nutshell.
7. You have self-published two books – an incredible achievement. What was your motivation behind doing so, and why did you choose to write about business-related topics? I love the process of writing but I also wanted to share my thought leadership ideas and experiences with others after many years in the communications game. I like to help people become better at understanding how to achieve successful PR and get better at speaking in public. Books are like an expensive business card! Clients always like to get a book after my workshops.