Interviews

Celebrant – Rachel Green

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

That’s an easy answer – getting to know people!  I love meeting a new couple and hearing all about the moment they first met and why they decided to get married and what their future holds.  So many people think their love story is average and not very exceptional but once they start talking, the beautiful and juicy details that set their story apart from everyone else’s are soon revealed.

 

If people were considering working as a celebrant what advice would you give them?  

Being a celebrant can sometimes feel like a solitary occupation.  When you are not talking to your couples and planning with them, the rest of the time is spent writing their ceremonies, preparing paperwork and maintaining the small business side of things. Finding a like-minded group of celebrants who value community over competition and enjoy sharing ideas and experience is invaluable, and having a network of celebrant friends to regularly connect with will enrich your professional creativity and inspiration.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a celebrant? 

First you need to do a Cert IV in Celebrancy through a government-approved provider.  Most of these courses can be done intensively over a week, or self paced by correspondence (it must be completed in 12 months).  It took me about 5 months to complete the course.  Once you receive your certification, you need to apply to the Attorney- General for registration.  This application process involves passing an exam, providing personal references, and a criminal history check.  To retain your registration you need to pay an annual registration fee and complete 5 hours of ongoing professional development a year.

No specific experience is necessary but I think being a confident public speaker and relating easily to people is a huge advantage.  As a celebrant, I meet so many different personalities and I need to quickly figure out how to connect with them, and earn their trust so they feel comfortable sharing their story.  Being organised and systematic and having a set process in place so you can keep track of all the people you are working with is also extremely helpful.

 

What path did you take to become a celebrant? 

When my sister-in-law got married five years ago, I remember watching the celebrant and thinking “that would be a perfect job!”  So as soon as I moved back to Australia, I applied for the course.  I chose to do my certificate IV by correspondence at my own pace.  If I had my time again, I probably would pay a little extra and do the intensive course just to complete it faster and meet other aspiring celebrants.  I was extremely fortunate to meet another experienced celebrant while I was studying who mentored me and helped me prepare the business side of things (creating a website, developing client processes) so that as soon as my registration arrived, I just had to hit go!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I finished school not really sure what I wanted to do.  I began a Bachelor of Photography but quickly realised that was not my passion.  I then completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at QUT.  My dream job is still midwifery but I don’t see myself pursuing that anytime soon!

Is this your first career? No, I have had a few different careers since I finished school 21 years ago (eeek!).  I have been a photography school drop out, a primary school teacher, a librarian assistant and a life coach!  I think all the things about those vocations and the skills I developed while working in those jobs are what drew me to celebrancy and why I find it such a satisfying career now.  It ticks all the boxes!

 

Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever? 

Who knows?! Life is unpredictable but I do know that celebrancy is extremely rewarding and I have absolutely no complaints about the work that I do.  Being a celebrant is the perfect job when you have a young family because you can choose your own hours, work on the weekends and choose how many bookings you will take a year.

I would like to also expand into funeral celebrancy so that will be one of my goals for the next 12 months.  I am nerv-ecited (that’s a portmanteau of nervous and excited that my kids coined) to complete a “Deathwalker” training later this year and I am very curious to explore the many different ways we can farewell our loved ones rather than just the traditional ones we are familiar with.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?  

According to the time capsule that was dug up at my primary school two years ago, my 12-year-old self thought I was going to be a teacher, a mum and a writer!!!  It also said I would win the lottery to fund my world travels so I’m still crossing my fingers for that because so far everything else has come true!

 

What are your standard hours?  

Celebrancy is extremely flexible.  I often meet with couples on a Sunday afternoon at my favourite café or Facetime if they are interstate.  I have the freedom to write during the day when the kids are at school or in the evening after they have gone to bed.  The only true standard hours seem to be 3pm on a Saturday, which is the most common time for a wedding in Queensland!

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?  

It can be a riot of fun and creativity.  I make a promise that I will never re-hash an old ceremony for a new couple, so I’m constantly challenging myself to re-tell a couple’s story in new and inventive ways.

Wedding ceremonies do not need to be long snooze fests that you sit through before letting your hair down and party at the reception.  I have had a bride play a practical joke on her father-in-law, I have had mid-ceremony pop quizzes and even sung (very badly) a medley of Kylie Minogue hits (never to be repeated!)  These are of course the exceptions and the majority of ceremonies that I officiate are a balance of humour and sentiment so that everyone can cement their memory of a beautiful day with laughter and tears.

Weaver – Gabi Kis-Warren

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding is definitely the tangible product on one side and the pleased customer on the other.

 

If people were considering working as a weaver what advice would you give them?

Only start doing it if you really have a deep passion for it. Or a slight obsession for yarn 😉

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a weaver?

Not to brag, but I have a masters of German linguistics and literature, a postgraduate degree in EU economy, a diploma in International Business, as well as a diploma as a makeup artist…. so I can confidently say, it does not matter. You just need to want to do this and get going with a fairly simple loom to start with, and learn.

 

What path did you take to become a weaver?

I just bought the loom, did a bunch of online courses and started. There are some weaving clubs which could be handy if you live nearby, or you could be an apprentice I suppose. I took the autodidactic (self-taught) path.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I worked in the 5 star hotel industry for a decade, but I was always unsettled, sort of constantly looking for something… as you can tell by my education history 😉

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No. And Yes 🙂

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Oddly I really wanted to work in a five star hotel. And I did. I also wanted to be a photographer, which I still could be…

 

What are your standard hours?

About 10am-2pm

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

I don’t use any patterns, I mostly improvise and believe it or not, sometimes it’s a surprise even for me what a piece will look like.

Deputy Principal – Elissa Brinckman

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Every day is rewarding. This is my 19th year working in the field of specialist education and no two days are the same. In January 2017, the doors of The Sycamore School opened. I started in December 2016 with a blank slate and in a very short period of time, worked to build the foundations of The Sycamore School Curriculum and staff training programs to ensure that there was consistency across the school. Our then Principal and I also set about to build a culture within the school that I am very proud of. Being a DP is a very busy and demanding role and its I like spinning plates while juggling most of the time, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. In fact, the challenges only make the rewards even greater.

 

If people were considering working as a Deputy Principal in a specialist educational setting what advice would you give them?

Take the time to connect and to build relationships and rapport with the kids, their families and their staff. Without connection, you have no foundation in which to manage and support your community. You must also be organised, flexible and willing to support your community.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a Deputy Principal?

I have a Bachelor of Education and 19 years of experience in the field. I left University and went straight to London for 6 years. The experience gained during those years really set me up. I then returned and have been in ASD specific settings ever since.

 

What path did you take to become a Deputy Principal?

I have been in leadership positions (SENCo, Lead Teacher, Team Leader) for about 15 years. Having various leadership roles, whilst working with great leaders and mentors, helped me build the skills and confidence to take on the role of DP.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

Psychology…but as it turns out, I am partially fulfilling that interest in my role as I work a lot supporting families, young people and staff when they need some counsel.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes, teaching is my first and last career. Well, apart from working at McDonalds when I was 15 and a perfume shop whilst at University. I can’t see myself in any other profession. I absolutely love working with the kids, and their families too. Seeing them build confidence, friendships and independence is the most incredible part of my job.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a teacher. I had a little school set up in my house when I was young and the neighbours were my students.

 

What are your standard hours?

We officially work from 8-4pm, but that never happens!

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Wellbeing is a top priority….you cant pour from an empty cup. As a leader, I always advocate to staff to ensure they balance work with life and family and take care of themselves. We offer 2 circuit sessions per week at the school and encourage staff to leave on time. We also make sure we have a lot of laughs…in fact, one of the items on our daily briefing agenda is ‘something light’. I also like to show the staff a lot of appreciation for their hard work an dedication…this may just be a small note or a token or some encouraging words, but it goes a long way. They truly deserve it!

Photographer – Andrew Jarvie

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

We are very lucky in our jobs as we get to work with such a range of people, all with different stories to tell. In family and wedding photography its creating images that genuinely mean something to the client that you know they will treasure. Often we capture a look or an emotion that stops them in their tracks…. It’s not unusual for our clients to shed a tear when they see their images because of the emotional content we have captured. For example, a look between two people in love or the interaction we caught between them and their children or simply because we have shown them a beauty that they don’t normally stop and see. Seeing this overwhelms them and that is truly a special moment for us as photographers.

We also work in fitness photography, a realm of capturing people on their health journey to a competition or weight loss transformation. Capturing someone during this time is such a special thing. This is most likely a once in a lifetime occurrence where this person’s physique is at its best or they have lost a substantial amount of weight and we are lucky enough to capture this. When the client sees the images, the most common feedback we get is ‘I can’t believe that is me’. We show them what we see, posing them, guiding them and showing off their physiques the best we can to showcase this moment in time of dedication, motivation and their discipline. It is so rewarding knowing the person has enjoyed themselves and we have captured something priceless for them.

In the commercial sector the greatest reward is knowing that not only have you met the client brief but you’ve gone beyond it and given something that has taken and encapsulated all their ideas and then taken it a little further. Across both consumer and commercial sectors one of the great rewards can be simply meeting people, sharing their experiences, listening to their stories and being a small part of their or their brand’s journey. We meet genuinely amazing people and families and have wonderful life experiences in our job. That too can also be the greatest challenge as we have to be able to adapt quickly to interact with people in such a way that enables us to get the images we require.

 

If people were considering working as a photographer what advice would you give them?

Learn all the basics inside and out and know your equipment well. Photoshoots throw you curve balls all the time and you don’t have the time to think through solutions, you just have to act and know your basics well enough that stopping to think what to do is removed from the equation. Learn to be confident without being egotistical or cocky so you can take command of a situation in a non-forceful way. Go and learn about business or hire someone who has…. the photography is the commodity that you sell but if you can’t run a business then your images might be the best in the world but your business will fail. And above all, learn how to interact with people and enjoy that interaction. The way you treat people will always have a major effect on the end images you take.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a photographer?

That’s a hard one and I think you have to take the learning route that suits you…. I have no qualifications but I served years in an apprenticeship under press photographers in the UK Newspaper industry and two tremendous photographers (John Paul and Les Parker) shaped my attitude both in my work and how I deal and interact with people. That said though I am useless at learning in an academic situation, I got kicked out at the end of my first year of university. I need to learn on the job.

In contrast, Emily, my business partner, is formally trained to bachelor degree level in New Media Arts, majoring in digital media design and digital imagery. I know some great classically trained photographers and some great self-taught photographers and I also know photographers who I do not class as good who are both self-taught and academically taught. I think you have to find a way of learning that suits you best. Always stay open to the fact that you will never know it all, and every person you meet in the industry can teach you something whether it is how to or how not to do something. You must be willing to constantly learn. That said beyond the basics of photography and your own personal style is something you have to develop over time as it differentiates you in the market place…. be inspired but don’t copy others always put your own twist on something. If you keep that attitude then you will constantly improve and satisfy your client’s needs. The second you think you know it all you will fail. Working in any art form is a lifelong learning curve.

 

What path did you take to become a photographer?

I have a varied background, I started out as a photo-journalist in the UK Press working on weeklies then daily newspapers. Photography has always been part of my work but I have also strayed into other areas, working in public relations for a UK Government Agency, being an associate director and director of what was at the time, the UK’s largest independent PR Agency, working in everything from crises management for a nuclear power station to brand awareness for a whisky company, and indeed head of PR in the UK for what was at the time one of the largest alcohol distributors in the world. Every day I draw on all of that experience for my work be it in dealing with nervous subjects or understanding how to protect, demonstrate and enhance brand values through imagery.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I actually had planned to do a double degree in Archaeology and social anthropology and actually got accepted into a couple of universities for that, but then I saw UK TV Reporter Michael Burke breaking news of the Ethiopian Famine and his stories having such a global impact that they were the inspiration for Live Aid and all that followed. That planted a seed in me which grew to the point that when it came time to go to university the only thing I wanted to be was a photo-journalist during a time when news values were still very strong across the whole industry.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

It’s funny that photography was my first career, I dabbled in other areas and then came back to it. The industry is rapidly changing these days but photography sits at the very heart of my identity so in some shape or form it will always be what I do both to earn a living and simply to enjoy life.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Astronaut, explorer, eco-warrior, adventurer, fighter pilot, Indiana Jones, Robert Capa, Archaeologist, Journalist, Photographer….. funnily through my photography over the years I’ve had a taste of most of the careers I wanted to do as a child…. though I still have to nail the astronaut position LOL

 

What are your standard hours?

When you own and run a business, your hours can be flexible, non-stop, or whatever you want them to be…. We have zero hour working days and we have 48 hour days with no sleep. We work when the jobs and clients dictate as well as running the business full time such as marketing, social, financials and business planning.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

I love my job for the images I create, but for me the reason I go back day-after-day is for the people I meet and the experiences they bring along the way. I’m a lad from Scotland who has had little direction in his life and is academically very average but over my career I have hung out of army helicopters searching for mountain accident survivors, water bombed forest fires, met and photographed world leaders and movie stars, talked to normal people who have the most amazing and inspirational stories from a human shield from the first gulf war to people who have overcome the most horrific or challenging experiences and come through the other side… I even experienced a little boys dream of the biggest Tonka Toy in the world when I turned up to a job and had an M1 Abrams battle tank and crew handed to me and asked “what would you like to do with it?”. My cameras have taken me to every one of these experiences and it has been meeting, talking and sharing with these amazing people that has made my job so great and also made me understand that in life it doesn’t matter who someone is, every person rich or poor, famous or “normal” has an amazing story to tell. If you just listen long enough you will be lucky enough to hear it.

Life Portraits

Tel: 0415562045
info@lifeportraits.photography
www.lifeportraits.photography

 

Sheree Gedge – EVS Operator

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part is being part of a large production that’s live and beaming to TV’s across the world. As part of my job I also get to travel the country and globe!

The most challenging part is that you can’t make a mistake. If you do the whole world or country will see, so the amount of pressure is pretty huge each time you work on a job. The other challenging part is rewinding to what the producer and director want to see instantaneously. Communication on the job is paramount.

 

If people were considering working as EVS operator what advice would you give them?

There are fewer jobs these days for an EVS operator as we go more digital and stream more HD. But if that was no deterrent I would say to go and study Television Production or get an apprenticeship at a network station. Build your network of people in the industry, it sometimes is more who you know. You must be able to handle the pressure from the start, it really is a sink or swim job. Do well and they will ask you back, make too many mistakes and they won’t.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become an EVS operator?

Study television or screen production, doesn’t have to be at university. You need to get hands on experience, observe how an EVS operator works. Build your network.

 

 What path did you take to become an EVS operator?

I was video editing in Sydney in a post-production house working on motorsports and wanted to get into more live sports. I looked up where there was a lack of people in the industry and at the time it was camera operators and EVS operators. I found a few short courses I could do (unfortunately these don’t exist anymore) as well as paying for a couple of days with EVS Australia. What I got out of the 2 days was a list of emails and numbers to contact to get my foot in the door. I’m now into my tenth year and loving it.

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I always wanted to join the Navy to be a Combat Systems Operator, but after having knee surgery they wouldn’t take me. Also nursing and IT.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever? 

Firstly, I studied Graphic Design for 3 years, then 1 year of 3D Animation, then worked for a number of years in Advertising. I went back to study Screen Production for 3 years. Worked as a video editor in Sydney for 8 years, where I learnt to be an EVS Operator. Since being an EVS operator I have never managed to make it a full-time role as I could never get enough to sustain a good lifestyle in Sydney. So I moved to Brisbane to go back and Study more 3D animation. (Whilst still working as an EVS operator in Brisbane, where there were less operators and less competition for work.) I didn’t finish the 3D course as I got a job with an animation company as their video editor and then eventually changed roles within the company to work as their production manager.

I’d love to remain as a freelance EVS operator as long as possible but I know that technology will eventually take over and I will be without a job.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An athlete or a V8 Supercar driver.

 

What are your standard hours?

We are generally booked for a minimum 8 hours from most companies. We can be booked for longer though. The longer you are on-air (which depends on the sport) the longer you need to concentrate, listen, focus and be under that pressure. The days can get really long and tough.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

We generally sit outside the venue, or under a stadium in a huge semi-trailer truck which is decked out with the latest high-tech equipment. I will wear long sleeves and jumper in summer, in Brisbane, as the trucks are mostly set to 19 degrees and it can get cold. The equipment needs to stay cool whilst we use it. We can be on a 6am flight to another city, taxi straight to the venue, setup, start work, finish the game, shutdown, taxi back to the airport and fly home all in a day. Most of the time we don’t get time out to see the city, friends or family. I can go home with the job done and don’t need to take work home or think about it.

 

 

Fiona Haywood – Primary School Teacher

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Rewarding – Seeing that growth in the Prep students from the start of the year to the end – there’s no other grade where you see quite the same level of change.

Challenging – Making sure you’re meeting all the diverse needs of the students: they’re all so different! Learning needs, emotional needs, physical needs etc.

 

If people were considering working as a teacher what advice would you give them?

Don’t become a teacher unless it’s what you really want to do. You have to genuinely like children and enjoy working with them.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a teacher?

Degree, then lots of on-the-job learning! After 20 years I’m still learning all the time.

 

What path did you take to become a teacher?

I went to uni straight from high school and did a BA Dip Ed degree.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I’d always thought I wanted to be a teacher, but then I did really well in Economics at high school and actually started an Economics degree.  I realised pretty quickly it wasn’t for me! I changed to teaching in my second year of uni.

 

Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I can’t really imagine doing anything else long term, although I haven’t tried anything else so who knows? I’d be happy to keep teaching until I start getting too grumpy. I never want to be that grouchy old teacher who doesn’t enjoy the kids. Then it’ll be time to retire.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

A teacher! I was given a blackboard for my sixth birthday and I could play schools for hours! Unfortunately, my two sisters were both older so I usually had to be a student.

 

What are your standard hours?

8.30 until three with the students. Then there is morning set-up, planning, lesson prep, meetings, admin etc. We do get fantastic holidays, but a good portion of it is dedicated to preparing for next term. It saves your sanity to be on top of things when the kids come back into the classroom.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

The level of emotional attachment you have with the kids you teach. You’re not just their teacher, especially with the younger ones. Sometimes they need you to be a surrogate parent. And if you care about them, they will love you back!

Business Owner of a Construction Company – Beau Small

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Client satisfaction and working with the team I have around me is the most rewarding. It can be challenging operating with integrity when others are not. Not everyone operates the same way, but it’s a non-negotiable when working within my brand.

 

If people were considering working as a construction business owner what advice would you give?

Make sure it’s your passion, be informed about all of your obligations, and try to have a positive effect in the industry.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a construction business owner?

An understanding of construction principles, whether from a trade back ground or from study.

Having the ability to communicate is a must. Being diligent in your approach.

 

What path did you take to become a construction business owner?

I completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter, was a sole trader as a carpenter, a builder on the tools, and then a business owner overseeing all facets of the business.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I always thought being in the police force would be good.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I completed 18 months as an apprentice chef, I learnt time management whilst in that role.

I’m open to all opportunities, however I will always be involved in construction in some capacity.

I like watching spaces transform and creating spaces people want to spend time in.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Successful, more than anything else. The definition of successful has evolved over time.

I had a vision of working with a team where we all get along and enjoy working as unit. Professionally this is my greatest success to date.

 

What are your standard hours?

Being a business owner I don’t believe there are standard hours, I was working on a task until 2 in the morning last Saturday night.

When motivation hits you, you ride the wave. Being passionate about what you do nullifies the clock in and clock out attitude.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

In a construction business, I believe the building component is approximately 30% of everything you need to do to run a successful business. The rest is communication and managing expectations.

Frustration comes about when expectations are not met. Understanding everyone’s expectations and delivering upon those expectations for an agreed financial amount can be difficult to manage at times.

 

Dr Harry Markwell – Vet (Specialist in Equine Surgery)

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job is resolving problems that a client never thought could be fixed, seeing such a variety of cases and, watching how happy horses are sometimes to go home after a long battle with illness.

 

If people were considering becoming a vet what advice would you give them?

You must take the first step, apply. Give it a go! No one was ever born to be a vet, they learn, they train, and they practice. Don’t be afraid to follow you nose and take the opportunities that comes your way because life is an adventure.

 

What experience or qualifications are required to become an equine surgeon?

I undertook a 1.5 year-long internship in the USA right after vet school in a private equine hospital. While there, I applied for a surgery residency in the USA and was lucky enough to get the position. After three years of my residency, I then completed my specialty board exams in equine surgery.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut, but I thought I’d be too tall to become a fighter pilot first.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I never wanted to be a vet until right at the end of school. I wanted to work in extensive agriculture and beef cattle production. I had to improve my grades in my first year of uni to make the change to vet school.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes and yes. But I see myself finding some serious hobbies sometime soon that hopefully I can make into a second career.

 

What are your standard hours?

Probably 60-80 hours a week but it can easily reach 100 during the busy time in the Spring.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

The most challenging part of the job is making connections with clients who own and love the horses. This part of the job is tough but we work every day to do a better job of it.

Kristy Cummins – Vet Nurse

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

 the most rewarding part is when a clients pet gets to go home happy and healthy.

 

If people were considering becoming a vet nurse what advice would you give them?

 I would suggest trying work experience first as this job is not for everybody. and then finding a course at uni or tafe.

 

What experience or qualifications are required to become a vet nurse?

 you need to have a tafe certificate or veterinary technology degree.  

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 I didn’t know what I wanted to, but I did know that I wanted to work with horses.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

 No.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I started working at WestVETS when I was 18 and I am still enjoy working with the horses and being a vet nurse.

 

What are your standard hours?

 I can work anywhere from 38 to 50 hours a week.

Dance Therapist – Yumi Schaefer

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part is having great fun with my students.

The biggest challenge is meeting everyone’s needs.

 

If people were considering becoming a dance therapist what advice would you give them?

Get yourself knowledgeable and spread your network.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a dance therapist?

Certificate course and graduate diploma, and experience accumulation.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

PE teacher

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

Flight attendant and conference organiser.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes, for a life time!

 

What are your standard hours?

During the day. One to two hours a day.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Infinite possibility.

General Manager of Non-profit – Nicole Hard

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is watching how individuals change over the period they are with us. It’s great to really see people’s attitude and confidence change and to watch them develop personally and professionally. I love it when they tell me “I’ve leaving because I have a job”.

The most challenging part of the job is raising funds. I need to raise over $350k each year to keep the doors open.

 

If people were considering working in a non-profit organisation what advice would you give them?

Go for it, everyone has a skill they can share and that skill can really impact and change the course of someone’s life.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a general manager of a non-profit organisation?

I don’t think there are any set rules. I’ve found in my experience having senior management experience in large business has really helped me strategically plan. Having a strong vision and the confidence to take risks has enabled me to position Suited to Success for the future. It also helps having solid financial skills. I’m a big fan of constantly learning new skills, challenging myself and expanding my thought concepts.

 

What path did you take to become a general manager of a non-profit?

I worked for a not for profit statutory authority for 8 years where I gained management experience working in many different department. I was fortunate enough to then go on to consult to large multi site not for profits and commercial businesses nationally.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No, I started in the mail room part time at WorkCover Queensland when I was studying at University.

I was very ambitous and wanted to work in every department and learn as much as I could.

I was initially attracted to the people management side of the business but I then became a bit of an expert in complex forecasting calculations and auditing.

I moved into roles where I was consulting to large employers in complex environment and worked on some multi-million dollar projects all over Queensland.

I always had an underlying want to give back to the community so in 2013 I quit my professional career to do some volunteer work while I figured out my next step. After volunteering I realised that I had so many skills that could be applied to further benefit the community and I loved it so much that I stayed.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A policewoman

 

What are your standard hours?

38hrs per week. I strongly believe in a work life balance. I make sure that my health and wellbeing are looked after first and foremost, that way I’m much more mentally switched on, efficient and effective in my role.

 

Taxidermist – Ali Douglas

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

It is most rewarding when you’ve worked away at a challenging animal and you manage to pull it altogether into something that looks animated and lifelike again. Some animals are very difficult because they come to us in such poor condition. Sometimes they’re very rare & you know you may never get another. That’s pretty nerve wracking & challenging. It’s also rewarding to know that I am contributing to science & a greater understanding of the environment. Seeing children & families interacting with my specimens on the display floors is a real highlight.

 

If people were considering becoming a taxidermist what advice would you give them?

Taxidermy in Australia is not an easy profession and a particularly niche market. There are very limited taxidermy jobs available within museums with only a handful of practitioners still working within our major institutions. This has been because of shifting priorities, out sourcing of exhibitions & a decline in demand. Commercial taxidermists are limited to working with feral species & pets because of our strict environmental laws that make native animals off limits. This is a great surprise to most people. Within the museum I have all the permits and permissions for Australian fauna.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a taxidermist?

Taxidermy is essentially a learn in the job profession. I learnt many years ago from volunteering with the taxidermist at the Qld museum. In America & Europe there are courses you can do to learn. In Australia, there are a couple of people offering short workshops but no formal school or qualification. Some commercial taxidermists may take on assistants.

 

What path did you take to become a taxidermist?

I should say that I’m not just a taxidermist. That’s just one of the many things I do as part of the exhibitions team at the Queensland Museum. From school I went to art college at QUT and did a bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Sculpture and painting. I volunteered at the museum before finding work with a public art company. I worked as a sculptor, moulder & caster, mosaicist foundry assistant and sometimes designer. In my early 20s I went to England and for 6 years worked as a prop maker & later set designer for theatre companies. In 2000 I returned to Australia & finally got a job at the museum on the strength of my painting and Sculptural skills and the fact that I could do Taxidermy. I have been there ever since! I have also continued to work as a visual artist exhibiting my paintings and ceramics.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a guide dog trainer!

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

This is not my first career. I have worked as a mosaicist, prop maker, set designer, artist and most importantly as a mother of 2 wonderful children! I’m sure I will be with the museum for a long time to come but who knows what the future holds. I’m hoping to again have more time in the future for my art but feel very lucky to have always been able to work at something I love.

 

Hostel Manager – Ali Boyd

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part is seeing backpackers enjoy the most of Australia and seeing that they are having the time of their life. When I came backpacking it was the staff that made the experience amazing and in return I wanted

 

If people were considering becoming a hostel manager what advice would you give them?

Go for it! You definitely won’t be bored. The main thing to remember is the customer experience and if you make them happy then your hostel will automatically have return customers.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a hostel manager?

I have no qualifications that relate to this industry however I have a  background in all aspects of the company as I started in housekeeping, moved to bar, travel and then the hostel side of things in general. If you continue to learn in each department it is a great industry to work your way up in.

 

What path did you take to become a hostel manager?

I started in housekeeping, moved on to activities, travel, reception and then Bar Manager. From here I put myself forward to learn the hostel and it went from there.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

On the West End stage in a musical.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I have a degree in Musical Theatre and this is something that I will probably persue when I get older on the side.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

I have learnt a lot in the last two years and it has given me the experience I need to work my way up in any business. I am enjoying this line of work and feel that I am still learning so I hope I will be in this line of work for at least another couple of years.

 

What are your standard hours?

Monday to Friday and 9-5 however I probably have too much fun and go over a little!

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Probably some of the events that can happen here with guests. It can be hilarious some of the stories you hear or have to deal with. Naked people stuck outside their rooms is a fun one! Haha

Firefighter – Randall Appleby

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most challenging part of being a firefighter is not knowing what the next incident maybe but you have to be ready for it. The job can place you under extreme amounts of physical and psychological pressure.

Most rewarding, anytime you help somebody.

If people were considering becoming a firefighter what advice would you give them?

Make sure you are ready because it takes full commitment. In my opinion the best firefighters are people who have had a lot of life experiences and often worked in many different industries.

What qualifications or experience is required to become a firefighter?

These can often be subject to change. To ensure you have the correct information go to the website www.fire.qld.gov.au at look under the recruit tab.

What path did you take to become a firefighter?

Jack of all trades master of none. I played professional sport for many years and that teamwork environment has helped dramatically. Following my sporting career I worked in a number of areas e.g. Sales, Logistics, Hospitality, Landscaping Supplies.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Police Officer.

Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

Yes

What are your standard hours?

We work a rotating shift of 2 days (10 hrs) 2 nights (14 hrs) followed by 4 days off. The flexibility is good but the trade of is you often end up working Christmas, New Years, Grand Finals etc.

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Firefighters attend any and every incident you could possible imagine.

Radio Producer – Rob Minshull

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

a) To let local people tell their stories. The privilege of being allowed into people’s homes every weekend, being an intimate part of listeners’ lives.

b) Finding the time to tell all the stories as well as we’d like to.  Working an incredibly long six-hour shift on air on a weekend when almost everyone else is enjoying a day off!

 

If people were considering becoming a radio producer what advice would you give them?

See the story in everything and everyone. Be interested in life and lives around you.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a radio producer?

The ability to listen and persuade people to talk. Able to multitask and write in clear, precise and interesting language; to be able to paint a picture with words.  Important to be up-to-date with new and emerging technology.

 

What path did you take to become a radio producer?

Cadet reporter on local newspaper, radio news broadcast journalist, newspaper reporter in South America, foreign correspondent for BBC radio, SBS Radio manager, ABC Radio manager … and then a parent!

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Police officer

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

Police, politics, civil servant in foreign affairs.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

More-or-less always in radio after starting out in political advisory work.  In the 21st century, I’m not sure any of us have the right or desire to continue in one line of work forever!

 

What are your standard hours?

Normal office hours during weekdays and 5am-1pm on weekends.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

It isn’t well-paid!

 

Property Stylist – Jackie Folan-Murphy

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

For me the most rewarding part of the of the job would definitely be when my client walks in and sees the property for the first time after it’s been styled and say, “I don’t want to sell,” or “the place has never looked so good!”

The most challenging part is sometimes the availability of stock. I always want to give my clients the best results and that includes having the best furniture for their home. Sometimes during the busy periods it’s just not available.

 

If people were considering becoming a property stylist what advice would you give them?

I would say it’s a great job! It’s competitive, it’s hard work, but it can also be very rewarding. Also if you’re good at what you do the work will follow. Agents who love what you do will use you often. Repeat clients and also referrals are a great way to let you know you’re doing a great job.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a property stylist?

Anyone can become a Property Stylist, there is no course or qualification to become one. But I do believe you need to have a natural ability. It’s not something that is taught but something you know, feel and can visualise.

What path did you take to become a property stylist?

I didn’t know what a Property Stylist was until a real estate agent came through my home and said to me, “You should be a home stager!” I had no idea what that was. So when the agent  left I googled, saw a course was being held in 3 weeks and I was on it. The course was focussed more around running the business and informing us on how the Brisbane market worked. It was a fantastic experience and without having done this course I wouldn’t be here doing something that I love everyday.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

To be honest I wanted to be a mum, but I did always loved interiors.

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I wanted to do nursing, but things just didn’t happen as intended and I went straight from school to banking.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No it wasn’t my first career I’ve tried several different jobs but this is certainly the most rewarding job second to being a mum. I have flexibility, I can work when I want, I don’t report to anyone and I make the decisions regarding every decision relating to the business. I will definitely be remaining in this job as I love what I do.

 

What are your standard hours?

Mainly 9-5 Monday to Friday and sometimes on a Saturday for those people who work during the week. But truthfully, when you have your own business it’s all the time, particularly when you doing everything yourself.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

I definitely think people underestimate the time taken for every job and just how physically demanding the job is. It’s not just a case of fluffing a few cushions, it’s way more involved. From coming up with the concept and plan of what you will do in every room of a home, then for the big jobs it’s spending an entire day in the warehouse selecting every piece of furniture, artwork, linen and accessory for the home. You then Install the property and you can do anywhere up to 20,000 steps on a job. I certainly enjoy a wine after those days – well earnt I say!

 

Fundraising Whisperer l Publisher l Entrepreneur – Mandy Weidmann

 

Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers. Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun).

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Hands down, the most rewarding part of my job is the thrill of helping people. It never gets old. Our work helps school and club fundraising volunteers in a very practical and real way. Every single person on my team is driven by that.

The most challenging part for me is the whole ‘running a business’ thing. I’d much rather forget about the realities of revenue and forecasting (so dull!) and concentrate on providing smart resources so volunteers don’t have to reinvent the wheel all of the time. Fortunately, the core of my advertiser base has been with me for a long time and are really supportive of my work, so, for the most part, I can get on with the important stuff that gets me out of bed each day.

 

If people were considering becoming a publisher what advice would you give them?

We started out as a print publication and, while we continue to publish that every year, more of our work is now in the ‘influencer’ online space. If we were starting today, we’d probably skip the print publication and simply try to build an audience online. Having said that, our annual Fundraising Directory is much loved and we’ll continue to ‘fight the good fight’ with advertisers who continue to move more of their budgets online and we’ll publish it for as long as there is support for it.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a publisher?

As long as you have an engaged audience and passion for your field, you can be a successful publisher. Being prepared to evolve and innovate is a must in a fast-moving environment, but the fundamentals stay the same – if your advertisers find work through you, you can continue to have a business.

 

What path did you take to become the Fundraising Whisperer?

I began working life as a lawyer and I loved every minute of it. I loved studying it (except constitutional law!) and I loved the work. I worked in litigation, though, which is difficult with young children. I went back to work part time after my first two kids, and when I had my third, decided to ‘time out’ for a while.

At around this time, my parents were distributing an eco-friendly laundry detergent and I came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea that it would make a great fundraiser as it operated on a refill system that could provide ongoing revenue to schools. I was wrong (!) but the process of setting it all up showed me that there was nothing out there that did a great job of connecting school and club fundraisers with the suppliers who serviced them.

I met Helen Creswick who ran a hobby website called Fundraising Ideas – she lived locally so we met for a coffee and became soulmates straight away. In the same breath, we both described what was needed – a publication full of supplier information that was sent to schools and clubs, supported by a comprehensive website that supported volunteers. Within two weeks of meeting, we had each put in $500 and started the Fundraising Directory! It was a success from the start and although it was the ‘blind leading the blind’, we had an absolute ball!

Two years later, in 2008, Helen was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and passed away shortly after. It was truly devastating and took me a long while to recover and get my ‘mojo’ back.

When I reflect on what I’ve achieved, I know she’d be very proud of me. I still miss her – I’m pretty sure we’d still be kicking butt and having a lot of laughs together!

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I still don’t know!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

See above 🙂

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No, this is my second wind. I have no active plans to ‘retire’ as the Fundraising Whisperer, but forever is a long time…

 

What are your standard hours?

Standard hours? What are they? hahaha.

On my weekends, you’ll often see me heading off to a school fete to interview the organiser and discover cool new tips and tricks to share. I’m also happy to tinker away on projects at night.

During the week, anything is possible. I do a fair bit of running around after my five kids so I really value the flexibility that I have. I have a small but kickass team to support me too.

It’s totally true, though, that if you’re doing something that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life … I am lucky enough to feel like that on most days.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

I have been recognised in public a couple of times and asked for a selfie once, which has completely thrown me!

Click here to learn more about school and club fundraising ideas in Australia and join the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook community here.

Florist – Katherine Eldred

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Making something beautiful every day is really rewarding.

Also creating weddings along with a bride/groom (a lot of grooms are more involved) and bringing their inspiration and ideas together. And then seeing the oohs and ahhhs of something that I did – put together with my hands.

The most challenging would be trying to tell people nicely that their ideas or wants are terrible and I don’t want to put my name to it!

 

If people were considering becoming a florist what advice would you give them?

Try it first because it’s not just playing with flowers all day, it’s really hard physical work, lots of lifting, smelly stuff that you don’t even know what it was to begin with!!!

You will never have smooth/nice hands again being a florist.

 

What qualifications, qualities or experience is required to become a florist?

Each state offers a TAFE Cert 3 in Floristry. But you have to have IT!!!

IT is hard to put into words, but definitely a creative flair with colour, texture and shape and an understanding of style and elements of design.

 

What path did you take to become a florist?

I started when I was 14 as a school holiday job. My boss at the time suggested I do the Floristry course that went for 3 years at night. So, at the end of Year 12 I was a qualified florist. And it just went from there. One of the other students owned her own shop and asked me to work for her when I had finished school, and then years later, after a bit of career diversion I went back and bought the shop off her.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Florist!! And a Millionaire!!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

I did want to be a Graphic Designer.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

This was my first career could possibly be my last. I can see myself as some crazy old lady stealing greenery from people’s gardens and creating arrangements in the Brookfield Show.

 

What are your standard hours?

Hours change depending what work is on but usually 2 days week.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Its more physical than everyone thinks. And doesn’t always smell wonderful, and March is funeral season, for some reason more people die in March.

 

Furniture Upcycler – Danielle McDonald

 

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

I love that I have the freedom to work from home first and foremost. Being able to do the school drop offs and pickups is wonderful and I don’t for one minute take that for granted. I am able to work from home, within the hours that I choose, and be there for my kids whenever they need me. What more could you ask for?

As for my work, I love that I can take a piece of furniture that was old, unloved and ugly and make it beautiful again and ready to be re-loved. It goes back into a new home as opposed to going into landfill where they are more often than not headed.

There aren’t too many challenges, but I guess that the biggest one is that I don’t have a guaranteed income from the security of a “normal” job. If I don’t work, then I simply don’t get paid. It’s easy to slack off when you work from home, so you always have to be on the ball.

 

If people were considering becoming a furniture upcycler what advice would you give them?

You really have to love what you do. You have to be passionate about this job, and if you’re not and your heart isn’t in it, it really does show through your work. Then you must master your craft and use the right tools to make the way you work more efficient. Since using the Annie Sloan range of paint and product, my job has become so much easier and far more enjoyable. I’m taking less time to complete each project which means that I can do a lot more in my allocated work day.

 

What qualifications, qualities or experience is required to become a furniture upcycler?

 I really have just taught myself how to do this job, but I have always been into woodwork and have a real passion for what I do and am always keen to learn different techniques.  I’ve done some painting classes and training and just asked questions when I didn’t know what I was doing. When you have a passion for what you do, the learning is the easy part.

 

What path did you take to become a furniture upcyler?

 I kind of just fell into this job. I painted my first piece when I had been suffering from a severe depression and I needed something to take my mind off the harsh realities of what I was dealing with at that time. I found the painting and the whole upcycling process quite therapeutic and it really played a huge part in my recovery. It turned out that I had a passion for this kind of thing, and I was good at what I did, so I decided at that stage to take a punt and try to make a living out of it. Since then I have shared my journey with my customers and followers and try to raise awareness of depression and anxiety and break the stigmas that these illnesses hold in our society. With my illness, I managed to turn something so horrible into something so beautiful and that’s the exact process I think about when upcycling each piece of furniture.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect. Since I was a little girl I wanted to design grand homes, but I never made it that far. Instead I’ll create pretty things to go into lovely homes, and that’s good enough for me!

 

Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?

When I left school, I didn’t go to university and therefore had no real qualifications, so I just looked for work, any kind of work, like most kids did. I started working in the steel industry when I was just 18 and stayed there for the next ten or so years until I left that security of a “real” job to go and have my first baby. Since then, I’ve never ever gone back into the conventional workforce and have just worked from home.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No, this isn’t my first career and yes, I could definitely do see myself in this line of work, forever!

 

What are your standard hours?

As soon as I wake up, I’m usually on social media – my Facebook page – answering questions from my customers. I then would usually drop the kids to school and work until I pick them up again. If I have a heavy work load, I can then continue on after I have picked the kids up, and have also been known to be painting well after midnight if necessary.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

 It’s just so much fun, but I guess you probably could expect that!

 

 

Real Estate Agent – Kym Saunders

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Feeling like you make a difference to peoples lives assisting them to move on to the next phase of their life

 

If people were considering becoming a real estate agent what advice would you give them?

The first few years are very tough.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become a real estate agent?

Real estate agents come from all walks of life.  You just need to be very, very dedicated and understand what you are doing has a massive impact on your clients lives.  It is a 24/7 job.

 

What path did you take to become a real estate agent?

Banking for 15 years prior to real estate –  I was a mobile lender for 5 of these years.

 

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to play basketball for Australia and be a teacher.

 

What are your standard hours?

Generally 6 days a week including nights – I do try to have Sundays off but will work if it is necessary.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

It is very different to what people think it is.

 

Director of Australian Wild Camel Corporation – Paul Martin

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

Connecting people with good quality food and skin care products. Helping them to understand the benefits of camel milk and why we’ve put it in various products. That’s the key element to camels. It’s the milk, what it does, the probiotic in it, and you’re offering a product that is different to anything else. It’s fairly fun.

Creating opportunities for younger people to get involved in the agriculture industry, where they get to see a product sold. If you’re just selling a commodity like cattle, you’re so far removed from the person that’s eating the steak, there’s no link to your market for what you’re actually selling. There’s been a slight shift in people with money starting to have a bit more choice in where the products they eat are coming from. It’s rewarding educating the consumer on where they can source their products from.

The challenge right now is getting a plumber. I didn’t think it was going to be the biggest challenge of the whole project, but getting tradesmen to come out here is really difficult.

I suppose the challenge is building a project where you haven’t got all the money at the front end to do it. It’s one of the most challenging things but it’s been very positive for this project, because not having the money at the front has meant we’ve been very creative with how we have had to go forward with it. It’s made us think harder and challenge ourselves more. If we’d had what we wanted on day one to do the full project we’d be out at Alice Springs doing it, but we didn’t. So we’ve brought it back to here and done it differently. We linked it to the uni who are doing more development with the actual qualities of the milk. We’re building the brand, and that’s allowed us to start slowly and build numbers.

 

If people were considering a career in agriculture what advice would you give them?

Australia is one of the hardest places to do agriculture in the world. We’re the only first world country that doesn’t get massive subsidies. The flipside is why Australian farmers are so innovative. Problems are the point of opportunity. We’ve been built to be scared of problems, but really you should want to take problems on. If having zero problems means you’re in the Toowong Cemetery you’d say well let’s have the flipside being the more problems you’ve got the more opportunity you’re getting thrown at you. It’s about having that attitude. The more problems I’ve got the more alive I am, compared to the person with none. Be a problem solver. Food and food science, or anything to do with food, is going forward with population growth. So if you’re producing the high-quality stuff, or value adding something along the way, or putting a packet on it there is so much opportunity in this spectrum.

 

What qualifications or experience would be required to work on your farm?

Doing an integrated project like we’re doing means there’s a job for everyone. The guy who drives the tractor, you need people involved with smart ag GPS tracking, recording of daily water use etc. So it’s not just the person who wants to lift things and weld things with their hands, it’s the delicate touches of creating a cheese, pasteurising and dealing with the milk, and taking the milk to a skincare product where you’re looking at elements of science and physiology and human health.

To do this business, we have people catching wild camels and people training them. We have a system of training people, but people with animal experience that can pick up on cues from the animals and understand the feedback animals are giving saves us time. If you’re getting kicked you’ve completely missed about 20 different signals. So, it’s about picking up the signals.

Dairy side – having a few people understanding the machinery of dairy. Coordination of putting cups on and dealing with the animals.

Food safety area –  having respect for food safety documents, and because you’re dealing with food products you need to be conscious of your hygiene, what you do, and make sure it’s repeatable. As you’re moving down the chain you’ve got the café and tourism.

There’s multiple positions here for people with different skill sets but the main thing is to be keen to work, be part of a team, and be happy to do whatever needs doing, especially in a start-up. Take initiative in seeing what needs to be done.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I was always going to do something in agriculture. There was a lot of pressure for me to get home during the dry, and I suppose I would’ve spent a bit more time overseas doing a bit of sport. There were some pretty nifty things happening with dairy construction and things like that overseas that were tickling my fancy when I was at college. There was an opportunity for some graduates to go over and be a part of that but I was needed at home as there was a lack of labour that happens with farms. Probably if I was passionate enough about it I would’ve done it. You’re always questioning yourself after the event but looking back, what I did and got involved in put me where I am today so it always happens the way it’s meant to.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?

Most of the stuff we do here people are shocked by! It’s a hard one for me to answer because we come up with problems every day that you solve because they’re there, and you explain that to other people and they fall off their chair. You’ve got to be constantly problem solving. That’s certainly the case with camels. There is enough difference in them that every animal treatment, every ailment you treat is different just slightly to other animals. Because of their digestive tract they don’t give the same feedback as other ruminant or ruminant-style animals. There’s all this stuff that no one has done before and that’s where the team helps. Drawing on a lifetime of agriculture to solve these problems is interesting. This was a challenge within our team’s expertise and capability. You need to be open to challenge everything people think.

 

 

 

Author – Ally Blake

What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

As mum to three young kids I am well aware how lucky I am that I can fit my writing around my family time.

With a full-time job I can still attend every school concert, I can help out in class, I can hot glue on craft days with the best of them.  To be able to do both is extremely rewarding.

The biggest challenge is fitting my writing around family time 😊.

Parents out there will know how precious those moments are when you finally get a moment to sit down and have a cuppa and take a breath. Using those moments to work requires willpower, of which I have very little. (Stick an unopened packet of Tim Tams in front of me and I’ll prove it.)  Thankfully I love writing to bits, so the incentive to work is the work itself.  I’ve written in the car at school pick-up.  Late into the night after the kids are asleep.  Editing on the couch while the kids watch a movie snuggled against my side.

So, so lucky.

 

If people were considering becoming an author what advice would you give them?

Read read read.  Write write write.

Reading, a lot, gives you an innate sense of how stories work.  The ebbs and flows. The push and pull. The lifts and falls.  The action and the release.  The layers of conflict required to keep a reader engaged.  To tug on their emotions, to open their minds, to take them away from themselves.

Writing, a lot, is like honing any craft.  The more you do it the better you get.

 

What qualifications or experience is required to become an author?

Not a lot!  To become, and remain, a published author simply requires being able to tell a rollicking good tale.   And then another, and another, and another…

 

What path did you take to become an author?

I wrote.  All the time. From a young age.  Songs, poetry, movie scripts and stories.  I’d write if nobody paid me to do it.

In the writing I hit a point in which I had a story coming together that I thought was actually pretty good.  Blessed with a good dose of blissful naivete, I googled publishers to see how one might go about getting a book published.  Realising my book was shaping up to be a romance, and knowing Harlequin Mills and Boon published such tomes, I started there.  Following the website guidelines I sent in a synopsis and first three chapters.

Many months later I heard they’d like to see more.  At that point it was no longer a fun exercise but an honest to goodness shot, so I buckled down, finished the book, polished it to a shine and sent it away.

Many, many, many months after that, and a couple of sets of suggested revisions later, I got “the call” to say they’d love to buy my book.

Harlequin Mills and Boon receive 20,000 unsolicited manuscripts per year.  From the slush pile they might pick up 10 new authors.  My path was lit by timing, talent, persistence, luck, delight and enthusiasm. And that healthy dose of blissful naivete.

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher who played the flute.  Then an Academy Award winning director.

 

Is this your first career? Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?

No.  And you bet.

 

What are your standard hours?

No such thing in this gig!

Some writing friends do actually write nine to five Monday to Friday, but they are the exception.

I’ve had twelve-hour writing days.  I’ve had weeks when I’ve not written a word. I’ve had days in which I’ve written ten thousand words.  Other days putting together sentences feels like pulling teeth.

It’s a roller coaster of a job.  Of bliss and doubt, of flowing prose and rabid deletion, of the threat of a looming deadlines while trying to ignore the whisper of the beautiful new idea at the edge of your brain.  All fuelled by bucket loads of caffeine.

So long as the job is complete by the deadline the path to get there is up to you.

 

Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?
  • It’s rare to come up with your own book title.  Huge marketing departments have a big say in such things.
  • How much money you make depends entirely on how many books you sell.  That simple.
  • I have never once dictated a story to an assistant while reclining on a chaise lounge and wearing a feather boa. (Though a floral garland worn atop the head is a direct link to the creative muse: fact.)