Zoe Walsh is the Senior Communications Manager at Crown Resorts, one of Australia’s largest entertainment groups.
In addition to her role at Crown, Zoe also volunteers as a PR & Brand Specialist for Yes Queen, a resource for employers and employees to understand bullying, culture and wellness in the workplace.
Balance the Grind spoke to Zoe about her PR and comms career, her role at Crown Resorts, typical day in the life, getting up early to maximise her day and more.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I started my career over eight years ago as an Advertising Coordinator at WIN NBN which was essentially a very admin-heavy role in the TV sales space that was going to allow me to save to travel the following year, rather than being a role I saw as a career.
However, it introduced me to the wonderful world of media. It also led me into my next role as Publicity Assistant at Channel Nine, as the companies were based in the same building (on the same floor).
So after spending my weekends working at Community events to get my foot in the door with the Publicity and Marketing team, a full-time role eventually came up which I jumped on.
It was a great start in the Public Relations industry, and even though my role was quite junior, it was multi-faceted spanning across publicity, event management and talent management.
Through this, I developed an understanding of the industry and forged great relationships with journalists, editors and producers, which have been extremely valuable throughout my career.
As I was quite ambitious, I reached a point where I wanted to be challenged and to become a more strategic communications professional and as such I moved into an Account Manager role at Bastion Effect.
This role really cemented my passion for consumer PR and brand storytelling, working with the likes of Lavazza, Melbourne Central and Blundstone to name a few.
It was through this role that I got the opportunity to move to Sydney to help build the PR team and business in a new market alongside the General Manager which taught me so much about resilience and what it takes to essentially start a new business.
Following this, I took a maternity cover role as Senior Publicist at Nova Entertainment working closely with the National Publicity Director across every area of the business, ensuring we delivered a seamless communications experience externally and internally to raise the public profile of the business. I led the publicity for both the Nova and smoothfm brands in Sydney.
After a rewarding two years in Sydney, I decided to move back home to Melbourne and get back into agency land, working for both Eleven and opr Agency as an Account Director.
Over this period I worked on campaigns for Netflix Australia and New Zealand, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Melbourne Fashion Week, Schweppes, NAB and AstraZeneca.
At both agencies, I also worked with Crown Resorts – a business I wanted to work with since I was at a Publicity Assistant at Channel Nine – and as such, I took a leap over to client side when an internal role came up in the business which brings me to where I am now.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
I am currently the Senior Communications Manager for Crown Resorts Sydney.
I started my role very recently so it is still evolving but in essence it is to support the launch of Crown Sydney which is under construction (to open early-2021) from a Communications perspective.
It is a hugely exciting project that will see Sydney’s first six-star luxury hotel resort come to life, complete with luxury apartments, signature restaurants, bars, luxury retail outlets, pool and spa facilities, conference rooms and VIP gaming facilities. So I feel very lucky to be involved in bringing it to life.
Key to my role, will be working with my Group General Manager of PR and Partnerships and an agency partner to:
- develop communications strategies
- successfully promote relevant business units via traditional and digital media
- work closely with stakeholders to develop cross business unit media strategies
- budget tracking and evaluating campaigns against objectives to asses success
- provide learnings and recommendations for future campaigns.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
No two days are the same, which I love.
At the moment my days are filled with meetings to get to know key people across the business, regular internal meetings with my team to ensure we are on track with various campaigns and actions, brainstorms to get our creative juices flowing and developing media plans and strategies for Crown Sydney, whilst supporting the Melbourne team where needed.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?
I am a big believer in the to-do list. Every morning I map out my key priorities for the day and then list out the specific actions and tasks I need to complete in order of importance.
There is nothing more gratifying than crossing things off the list!
However, in the industry I work in (and probably most I’m sure) things can evolve or change very quickly, so the need to always remain agile and able to change course or jump onto something urgent if and when it arises needs to be there.
So I think being organised ensures you are prepared to tackle these instances head on when they happen.
5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
I am really big on work life balance as I know I will bring my best to work when I am adequately rested, healthy and content in my personal life. And let’s face it, in PR sometimes that isn’t possible, especially in the lead up to a big campaign launch or event, so it’s about taking advantage and making time to incorporate balance into your life when you can.
During the week, I try to get up at 5.45am to go to the gym (this is a new practice for me) and then each night, I listen to a meditation before bed to help switch my mind off. I will also leave work on time if I have completed everything I need to for the day and if no one else in the team needs support.
These days, we are contactable 24/7 with our mobile in our hand constantly and by having emails on our phone so I try not to feel guilty if I am out the door at 5.30pm.
6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
Spending time with my partner James is my favourite thing to do to recharge. Whether it is chilling out on the couch and watching Netflix or going for a big walk around our local park and having a coffee or brunch somewhere.
I also love spending time at my parent’s holiday house in the Yarra Valley. It is my favourite place to unwind and switch off, and I love spending time with my Mum and Dad.
7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Getting up early. There really is nothing better to maximise your day and to achieve balance.
I am guilty of going through phases (especially when the mornings are cold!) of opting to snooze my alarm and staying in bed, but when I do get up on that first alarm, I am choosing to put myself first and making time to get my body moving and starting the day with a clear mind.
It then allows me to get to work early and start the day without any rush or angst.
Meditation is also something I have really taken to over the past couple of years. Whether it is a guided meditation or a sleep story (I am obsessed with falling asleep to Matthew McConaughey or Stephen Fry’s dulcet tones on the Calm app), it calms my busy mind and leads me into a deep, restful sleep.
8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?
I am a big reader but I must admit when I read, I do so for escapism and to unwind, which sees me reading crime and thriller type novels most of the time!
However, I did read How to Get Sh*t Done by Erin Falconer which is aimed specifically at women and I really enjoyed it because it is written in a really engaging and personable way and is around how to do less so you can achieve more.
9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
For me it is getting to work 30 minutes to an hour early each day, as it gives me time to ease into my day in a really calm and productive way.
I set my intention for the day, make myself a tea or coffee and sort out my emails before devising my daily to-do list.
It also gives me time to read the paper and catch up on any breaking news and the headlines of the day which is so important to my role and in the PR industry but is always the first thing we cut out when we are busy.
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