Time in Seafood Industry- 14 Years
After completing an Honours Degree in Zoology and Environmental Biology I discovered that if I became an academic and/or had to work in a laboratory every day I would become a very unhappy person very quickly. As a result, I had to reinvent myself – and fast! This is how I moved into community based communications and education projects in local government which then led me onto the path where I remain today, in the Australian seafood industry.
I’ve been fortunate to have had a very varied career working in communications and education for many different species such as Southern Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Salmon, Australian wild and farmed abalone, Barramundi, wild and farmed prawns, oysters, rocklobster, sea cucumbers and sardines and through strong collaboration with iconic markets such as the Sydney Fish Market. I received such strong experience with all these sectors through management roles within the Cooperative Research Centre framework having worked for the Aquafin CRC and the Australian Seafood CRC for 12 years.
Two years ago, I went into business with two amazing women within the seafood industry and created a consultancy partnership called Honey and Fox Pty Ltd. We work with SMEs and the food industry to deliver services in international trade and marketing strategy, Asian market development, government relations, negotiation, facilitation and international/ domestic event planning and management. Additional services include stakeholder engagement, marketing, PR, media, digital, print and social media solutions and management. We have many Australian seafood industries as clients and I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them on both a domestic and international basis.
When you have worked in the industry as long as I have, you’d like to think you do your job well and that’s why people have kept you around so long! I’m proud to have clocked up many achievements but if I had to choose, my favourite ten are:
- Created and managed a PR event for a seafood client in China. Liaised and managed a celebrity Chinese chef for the event.
- Hosted a large delegation from the China Cuisine Association on an Australian Gourmet Adventure. Managed and implemented a range of interactive food and beverage activities during their stay with a strong seafood focus.
- Delivered 200+ specialist end-user driven projects in education, communication and extension to meet the seafood industry’s capacity building and knowledge transfer needs and produced 200+ publications related for the seafood industry (e.g. product catalogues, case studies, annual reports, manuals, how to guides, seafood industry TV news, e-newsletters, films, videos, websites, TV, radio and print articles, blogs).
- Highly commended by the Department of Industry during the third-year review of the Seafood CRC on the innovation of the education program which was recommended as a model for other CRCs to follow.
- Created and facilitated the national Australian seafood retailer’s network after identifying a lack of support and opportunities for retailers to improve their personal development and to support industry marketing campaigns.
- Developed the online All Access Seafood Training Program which was launched to 250 registered training organisations with the scope to teach commercial cookery, catering and hospitality units of competency.
- Delivered 15 new units of competency and updated 10 existing units in the seafood industry’s training package.
- Managed 110 postgraduate student scholarships from ten universities and gave Honours, Masters and PhD students experiences in the seafood industry beyond the laboratory through interactive student camps and training.
- Secured two high-profile awards which resulted in significant media and financial rewards for Clean Seas and the Seafood CRC.
- Created a sell-out crowd at the 2005 and 2006 Tunarama Festival, Port Lincoln by effective PR, marketing and event management.
What I love about my Seafood Industry
I love that no two days are the same and I really have met and worked with some amazing people – many I consider to be pseudo parents or mentors! Many have truly become lifelong friends. The people have changed me for the better over the course of 14 years. I love the tenacity of the people within the seafood industry, that fighting spirit they have and the passion. It’s contagious and it’s an exciting industry to work in.
Most Interesting Moment
There are so many but I will share the more recent which was the first time I had to run a PR event for a seafood client in Shanghai. It was my first time working internationally and I was quite frankly terrified. I distinctly remember after the event feeling so grateful that a) it went smoothly and without a hitch and b) for the opportunity to work in a different country, with a different language and a complex culture. Opening the curtains up of the hotel room the next morning and looking out at the incredible Shanghai skyline I had an overwhelming sense of achievement. The Australian seafood industry really does gives you this gift of feeling you have made a difference every day.
Thoughts about my Industry
I think during my time in the Australian seafood industry I have seen many sectors embrace a more entrepreneurial and innovative mindset as well as actively investing more in technology, marketing and its workforce. More and more industry groups are out there shouting from the rooftops about their industry’s story and what makes their products special instead of sitting back and just assuming their products will sell.
I have also seen more and more women in the industry bringing new ideas to the table and making things happen – creating positive change. I think women in the industry are starting to have a stronger voice and are readily making sure their opinions are being heard.