For the third edition of the Canberra Communications Professionals Series, I spoke to Erin Chancellor. Erin is currently a Strategic Communications Advisor at Evoenergy.
I love the story of how I met Erin. A few years ago, Erin called me about a job that I had advertised, we ended up chatting for about 40 minutes. At the end of the call, we agreed to catch up for a coffee once the interview process was over. We have been catching up for coffee and doggy playdates ever since.
Erin has had an amazing career working locally and internationally for globally known brands, and as a result, has had some amazing experience. What I love about our chats is that she continuously pushes me to be a better professional and is an endless wealth of knowledge.
When did you start in this role?
What did you do before you joined the ACT Government?
I’ve had the good fortune of working in a number of organisations in Australia and overseas, and the privilege of leading some amazing communication teams. I was the Head of Corporate Communications at REA Group (parent company of realestate.com.au) managing corporate comms across 11 countries. I also spent a long time at ANZ, where I started my career and left leading communications for the bank’s international business which spanned across 28 countries. I moved to Canberra at the start of 2018 as my partner got his dream role here.
What does a normal day look like for you?
Evoenergy owns and operates the poles, wires & pipes in the ACT. A day in the life of a communications professional working in a 24/7 essential service like electricity and gas supply never looks the same.
In the past month, we’ve had storms, extreme heat, smoke, bushfires and to top it all off a hailstorm on top of our regular communications schedule. So it has been busy!
Our role is to communicate about the reliability and security of our network to the ACT Community, promote energy innovations that our company is working on and closely work with many stakeholders such as Federal and Territory governments and media. Energy and climate change is obviously a hot topic, so we are heavily involved in this conversation.
Can you tell us about one of your career highlights?
I was on a fly-in/fly-out arrangement with ANZ in Papua New Guinea for 12 months. It was incredible to lead the communications team there to build capability. Some of the issues I faced there were incredible and have definitely set me up well for crisis communications for the rest of my career!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
I’d say moving to Canberra, which sounds odd. I had reached a very senior level in the private sector and finding a role in Canberra that suits my skills and experience was really challenging. I still would like to work in Government at some point to expand my experience and continue to learn.
What changes do you think will occur in communications over the next decade?
This isn’t new news, but still one I certainly haven’t nailed, which is how to achieve cut-through in the noisiest environment we’ve ever faced. It’s only going to get noisier as the fragmentation of communication channels grows and how to invest time, money and effort in the right channels.
Who inspires you? Why?
My husband. He is the quiet achiever who works on global agricultural policy and is trying to help the world become a more productive food producer and manage the climate while doing so. I could learn a few lessons from him about quiet perseverance.
What is your favourite book?
The ‘Famous Five’ series by Enid Blyton. This series inspired my passion for reading and I would read these books in the bath, bed, back of the car. Anywhere I could. Having a young child now, I can’t wait to introduce them to her.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
One of the top female executives at ANZ. She is still my mentor on an informal basis. One of the best pieces of advice that she has imparted on me is to measure my career in decades rather than years. So, a blip here or there doesn’t matter, it’s looking at what matters over a much longer period. That’s how I try to measure my achievements now.
If you could share one tip with other communications professionals, what would it be?
Look up. I make it my business to speak with other communication colleagues across different industries, private or government to understand what they’re doing that’s new. We’re all trying really hard to influence our stakeholders and achieve great outcomes, so it’s amazing what new initiatives I’ve been to “borrow” in my roles.
A bit more about Erin…
A senior corporate communications professional with over 15 years experience in ASX-listed Australian and Asia-Pacific digital, financial services and professional services companies. She is passionate about working in diverse and multinational environments. Erin has proven experience as a trusted advisor and is able to build strong and lasting relationships with senior business stakeholders.
Originally from Melbourne, Erin is a highly motivated communications professionals with extensive experience working in media relations, ASX communications, investor relations, internal communications, strategic issues management and government relations. Basically, she is an all-rounder! She is a passionate team leader who has managed small and large multi-disciplinary teams to deliver multiple projects against tight deadlines.
Erin is also mum to a cheeky one year old Anika and an energetic labrador Penny.