Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Raelene Knowles, Communications & Member Services Manager at IGEA

August 5, 2019

Raelene Knowles is the Communications & Member Services Manager at Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA).

Working alongside IGEA’s CEO, Ron Curry, Raelene is responsible for the organisation’s communication strategies and providing value and service to the membership.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

I have spent the last 20 years or so working the in the video games sector. When I started working in the industry, I held various marketing roles for publishers and distributors of games in ANZ.

Just under 10 years ago, I made a change and started working in communications for the industry, joining IGEA, the peak industry body representing games in Australia and New Zealand.

Our job is to deliver value for our members and promote, advocate for, and protect the local video games industry.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

My job title is Communication and Member Services Manager. My role involves leading, developing and delivering our communications and advocacy strategies, plus managing services for our members.

These services range from the provision of data, to the creation of networking and industry briefing events. It is a challenging and rewarding role which thankfully allows me to work with lots of clever, interesting and wonderful people in a vibrant and growing entertainment industry.

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Lucky for me, my job entails a lot of variety, so no two days are ever alike. At the moment, my main task is the delivering our major, bi-annual research reports, the Digital Australia and NZ series.

DA20 launches in Australia in July and DNZ20 launches in NZ in September. I work with the author of the report, Jeff Brand of Bond University on many aspects of the report, plus I deliver additional content in the way of videos and graphics.

I work with an external PR company to engage media to support the research, plus I am responsible for organising all of the events. This year we go on tour with events in in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Wellington and Auckland.

As such, today I’ve had some discussions with the author over some of the report content, watched our second draft of videos, organised a briefing with our agency to finalise the media strategy and ensured we have all of our flights and accommodation booked for Australia.

We’ve also commenced work on another piece of research to measure the size of the game development industry in Australia which will kick off in August and deliver in October. I’ve had initial discussions with the survey provider and looked at previous survey instruments.

I’m also working on an event for the women within our membership and have put the final touches on a networking dinner we have planned later this month. There is never a dull moment but to me, the projects are all very exciting so I love it!

4) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

Exercise is non-negotiable for me. I exercise most days, whether it be attending a gym class or running/walking with friends. It makes me feel great both mentally and physically.

I also prioritise eating dinner with my family. I have 2 teenage boys and a husband and I’m pleased to say, we eat dinner together most nights of the week which can be hard managing all of those schedules.

It’s important we spend time together as a family and de-brief on our respective day-to-day activities.

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5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

Again, daily exercise usually very early in the morning, plus I love going on holidays. I don’t care where we go or how long we go for, but I usually have something booked for the family, even if it’s just a weekend away.

6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products that you can’t live without?

My favourite tool for the last couple of years has been my smart watch. I’ve been using Garmin’s for a while now and I love them because they make sure I reach my step goal every day, plus I can tailor it to deliver the notifications I want, and believe me, it isn’t all of them.

Apparently I am getting an Apple Watch for my birthday very soon (teenagers can’t keep secrets) so I am sure that will help carry on the tradition.

I rely heavily on my Outlook calendar for work and personal appointments and meetings, plus I have a family planner on the fridge.

The family planner is old-school, paper style, week at a time, but it shows everyone in my family where they should be, at what time plus what we are cooking for dinner.

It has been a lifesaver on many occasions and ultimately saved us a lot of time and headaches.

7) Do you have any books that you love and would like to recommend?

I love reading but unfortunately, I’m doing it less and less at the moment, turning my attention to podcasts instead.

Having said that, I have just read Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales and I loved it, very thought provoking. Podcast wise I can’t go past ABC’s Conversations plus I love a lot of the true crime stuff, local and international.

I’ve been part of a book club with some friends for many years now, and in fact we’ve just changed it to ‘podcast club’ as we seem to have more time for podcasts as we commute and act as taxi services to our families.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I wake up super early every day. I love the time by myself first thing in the morning and usually have a coffee and a scroll through the news before I exercise. This of course means I have to go to bed pretty early too and I am fine with that.

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