Annabel Hawkins has the perfect cocktail: a blend of creativity, tenacity and smarts. In her nearly 10 years in PR she has worked across many sectors, from fashion to public affairs. Currently she works as Communications and Media Specialist for Gladstone Ports Corporation. Annabel is an avid reader, coffee lover and fashionista. When she’s not working on media relations, she’s curating ideas or events with her husband Peter and his hospitality venture.
Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?
I’m a marcomms professional with over 10 years of experience in the resources sector, the arts, not-for-profit and government. I also manage the marketing side of my husband’s venues, Lightbox Espresso and Wine Bar and Headricks Lane (currently in construction). I get far too excited by Italian food and correct spelling and grammar.
Tell us about your typical day in communications?
As any comms person knows, there is really no such thing as a typical day, but mine usually start with reviewing media coverage from the previous 24 hours and can go anywhere from there!
When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?
From a very young age, my mother instilled in me a love of the written word. Throughout high school, I always preferred the humanities subjects, particularly English and I knew I wanted writing to be a component of my work. At the time, my sister’s friend was studying PR at university and she suggested I might like it.
Who’s your communication hero/mentor?
My husband studied advertising and though he only worked in the field briefly, throughout his career he has maintained a focus on the client and genuinely listening to people’s needs.
Which tools can’t you live without?
As much as I hate to admit it, my iPhone.
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
Working for a Government-Owned Corporation (GOC), we are required to adhere to some fairly strict processes and protocols, which means that sometimes it is difficult to move things through as quickly as we would like to.
Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?
An education and awareness campaign to promote sustainability and climate change. We worked together with a theatre company to manage environmental offsets for a whole season of one of their major productions.
Which campaign do you most admire?
Qantas’ original and subsequent ‘I still call Australia home’ campaigns. I don’t think there has been another campaign to which I have had such a strong emotional response.
What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
Definitely social media.
If you had to cut/keep something in your communication budget, what would it be?
Cut – Print advertising – there are so many other channels through which you can get your message out now, and these are generally more timely and cost effective.
What quality do you look for in your communication team members?
They have to have a good attitude and initiative. At the start of my career I was told “it’s not fair to waste someone’s time with a question unless you have first tried everything you possibly can to find out the answer for yourself” – I think this was fantastic advice!
What’s your favourite brand?
I like Apple’s brand personality and its values of imagination, innovation and passion, and its focus on removing complexity from people’s lives.
What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?
I think every person should read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. It is such a beautiful story about courage and dignity in the face of injustice.
What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications?
Befriend at least one person in the IT department and you will never have another technology woe again (sort of!)
Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…telling stories.