I recently sat down with Paula Lazzarini, the Media and Communications Manager for the National Heart Foundation’s Queensland and Northern Territory Division to find out more about her career journey and her tips for future industry professionals. Check out the interview below:
Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got to working for the Heart Foundation?
Initially, I studied a Bachelor of Arts and Media, majoring in film production. Unable to find relevant work, I decided to take up a Graduate Diploma in education that led to a career in teaching for several years. Despite this, I had a strong interest in creative writing and decided to go back and study a Master’s in Business and Public Relations. From there, I worked in Government for about 20 years on behaviour-change public health campaigns.
With a few ups and downs in my career pathway, I eventually found a role as the media and communications officer for the Heart Foundation. When my manager left, I filled her role for several months before adopting the position as Media and Communications Manager for QLD and NT where I have been ever since (and loved it!).
- Who/What influenced you the most in your career?
My first manager was a real mentor for me. She taught me how to have good team culture and have fun while you work.
When I was career-searching, I attended a career development workshop for women that taught me how to identify my strengths and use them to my advantage.
- Did you ever picture yourself in your current field of work?
The Heart Foundation was definitely not in my original plan (as I wanted to work in the film industry), but I always loved writing and this job allows me to tell stories with a purpose.
- What was the biggest challenge you faced getting to where you are today?
I would say, losing my job; not because of my performance but because of the economy at the time was very hard. Also, recognising when a role was not the right fit for me as I reflected on how it affected my mental health was a turning point in my life.
- Do you think your job now is representative of most Media and Communications roles?
Yes in terms of the charity sector, but the nature of work is different for the private sector or public service. My role is dynamic and often bridges on marketing.
- What do you foresee as future trends in the Media and Communications Industry?
Communication has always been about storytelling. With better technology, the capacity to share stories and to engage with social media has definitely emphasised the element of interactivity in media and communications. At the end of the day, it’s still about understanding your audience and knowing how to engage with them emotionally.
- What is the best piece of advice you would give to young professionals and new graduates seeking work within your industry?
A few things I did to shape my career was to network, attend career development events, and read up on career development books like “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard Nelson Bolles.
I would say, don’t be put off by the economy and don’t be afraid of not getting a job out of university, just apply for any opportunity that comes your way.
By Jessica Wong