Where were you raised and did anything lead you into your current job?
I was born and raised in Port Macquarie by my single mother. She always impressed on me the importance of financial freedom, so my independence and goal orientation is ingrained. I was 17 when I completed my HSC and began working full time, which was at a fashion retailer. It was high end and really out of place for our small town, the owner had come from Sydney and a marketing and PR background, which interested me early.
Why did you do a business degree?
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I wanted to do something, I am forever learning and absorbing. A business degree gave me options.
Your first job – and what did you take from it?
My first marketing job was while I was still at university. I was promoted within at a pub I worked for in The Junction, which was great experience. Once I finished I did a range of things – working in fashion PR in Sydney, managing live entertainment venues, in a marketing consultancy and freelancing, all while waiting for the right opportunity to arise.
It just happened naturally, I am a creative person. Marketing, organisational culture and leadership were the subjects that interested me so I majored in marketing and management.
You’ve been the marketing manager at Belmont 16s for the past two years. Describe your average day?
Belmont 16s is a great fit for me. We have 35,000 members and are one of the largest operators in the Hunter, so my role is brilliantly varied. I could be doing anything from developing strategy, executing membership campaigns, collaborating with one of our department managers, planning a photo or video shoot, coordinating graphics and animation, implementing digital marketing strategies, analysing and comparing data sets and working with the media. But what I enjoy most is meeting with our many community and tourism partners and working together to achieve great outcomes for our region.
You are the new president of Hunter Young Professionals (hyp). How did it start?
It began in 1993 as an associate of Hunter Business Chamber and was formerly known as Newcastle & Hunter Junior Chamber. In 2015 it rebranded to Hunter Young Professionals.
What’s the 2018 agenda?
This year our member journey is about discovering how we can have a meaningful contribution as individuals, as leaders and as a community. Our events will explore a different aspect of this concept to understand how we can leave the things we encounter – organisations, people, the world – in a better way than when we found them. Our purpose is to develop and retain young leaders of the Hunter so that they can contribute significantly to the local business community, so we will continue to promote this along with increasing our brand awareness and strengthening community relations.
What are the biggest challenges for hyp?
One of the biggest challenges (and rewards) is the standard that we hold ourselves to. It is an operational organisation that is growing exponentially every year. So hats off to the new board of directors who were up for the challenge this year and are now actively, contributing to the development of their peers and the success of a community not-for-profit organisation.
Business networks can be formal. Is hyp fun?
Absolutely. It has to be to have any relevance to our audience. We want our members to be comfortable to be themselves. It’s not a transactional exchange; it’s about being a part of a community that shares the same values. Networking is just a benefit. Fun starts with our communications, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. hyp’s brand personality is adventurous, intelligent and witty. Our events are an experience and we pride ourselves on the concept of taking our members to new places, to explore new concepts and meet new people.
What real value can hyp give to its members?
The value that hyp provides is primarily intangible but it is invaluable. hyp offers young professionals the opportunity to develop themselves beyond their tertiary education, particularly their soft skills like leadership. It also provides a supportive and social community for young professionals to lean on and learn from, that is otherwise not really available. This year we have also started curating and distributing resources for our members that offer tangible value, such as workflow and productivity documents, podcasts and links to helpful information like industry and salary data.
The value that hyp provides is primarily intangible but it is invaluable.- Lauren Armstrong
What do you hope you will bring to hyp?
A human element. We have a captivated audience of high achievers so while leadership and personal growth are common themes; it is equally important that we promote balance, resilience and care.
One thing not many people know about you?
I am an introvert, which would be at odds with assumptions for the President of an organisation like hyp. All of my opportunities have come about because I always seek to challenge myself and I always remain open to possibilities.
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