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 communications strategist and journalist, Liz Armitage – keep on reading to find out all about her.
1. What are you famous for? A colleague once told me I had a talent for coming up with ideas and making other people think of the ideas as their own.
2. What interesting skills and experience do you bring to the table as a contractor? Writing, which is my first love, but also the ability to “read the room” and navigate organisational dynamics, gained through my experience as a journalist and working in government. The discipline of journalism in my 20s put me in good stead for the rest of my career, particularly fire emergency and crisis communications. I learnt how to think clearly and critically under pressure, and work well with different stakeholders. Another area of expertise is around strategy development.
3. I got into communications because… My first communications role was in the Victorian Premier’s office in 2005. I had recently returned from London and journalism jobs in Australia were few and far between. I was working as a sub-editor but my heart wasn’t really in it. A friend of mine in government encouraged me to join “the dark side”. I loved it from the start. I particularly enjoyed the common purpose and the teamwork.
4. What have been your favourite projects/engagements/roles/clients I’m currently working on a project documenting the careers of women paramedics. It’s an incredible project because being a paramedic is an incredible job; challenging, rewarding and very difficult. Each woman I have interviewed is an inspiration, and I feel privileged to be able to help tell their stories.
5. Any wise words to share with other professionals in contracting? Others will be far more experienced in contracting than me. However, there are three things that are working for me in my first year: 1) Back yourself and don’t fret about the quiet weeks – you never know what next week will bring and soon enough you’ll be busy again. 2) Plan your time well so you’re not “at work” all the time. Take the time to do non-work things that make your heart sing. 3) Set clear goals, for example which clients you want to work with, and work towards those goals every day. Because time is precious in business, I am always asking myself: “Is what I’m doing right now helping me achieve my goals”?
6.Who is/has been a great mentor to you and why? I’ve worked with some brilliant people throughout my career and I’ve learned different things from different people along the way. There are two pieces of advice that stand out for me. One of my first managers in government told me to never come to her with a problem without bringing a solution as well. This is something I’ve always carried with me, particularly when working with people in very senior roles. I think there can be a tendency in organisations to push problems and issues up the chain, and the people at the top don’t always have the time or the headspace to come up with solutions all the time.
Another manager told me, in relation to team leadership: “Every interaction matters”. I think that’s very true and I try to be mindful of it every day.
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