Events and Programs Manager
Megan loves her role at Global Citizen and she’s successful at it, but she never had a lightbulb moment about her career. Instead, she took small steady steps forward and gave her best in every job she had.
What work do you do?
I’m the events and programs manager in the Australian office of a non-profit organisation called Global Citizen. We are an international advocacy organisation committed to ending extreme poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We have a community of millions of global citizens around the world that use our platform to act on issues like ending hunger, disease, illiteracy, gender inequality and environmental challenges. I am responsible for activating our global citizens and expanding our network of business leaders by delivering engaging events and experiences around Australia. I also manage partnerships with the music, entertainment and sporting industry through Global Citizen’s Rewards program.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you were at school?
Not a clue. My main guiding light at that time was the subjects I enjoyed the most, or, hated the least. I chose my university degree on the same basis, which is mortifying to admit now. I was always envious of people who knew exactly what they wanted to ‘do’ in life, and wish I had the same focus at many times in my working life. Almost 10 years after I finished Uni, I can say I am doing something I love but there was never one lightbulb moment in that time. I’ve navigated a path incrementally over my working life, and think many people end up doing that too.
How did you get to where you are now?
It’s been a long and winding road. I started working when I was 15 at Marks & Spencer’s, a department store in England. The pride I had putting on my uniform and going to work outshone any academic achievement up to that point. Like many people, I had several jobs during Uni, including retail, hospitality, swimming and water polo coaching, receptionist, administration and netball refereeing – sometimes all at once! I loved the independence and networks that working provided. Since then I’ve worked in the federal public service and been a personal staffer to two high profile politicians at Parliament House, each time building my skills and experience needed for the next thing. I loved working more than studying and I knew that would get me further in life than higher grades ever would. I haven’t applied for a job cold since I was 17 – all the jobs I’ve had including my current role have come about thanks to networks and contacts. I have always applied and interviewed and had to earn the job, but I would not have heard about any of the roles I’ve had if someone else hadn’t encouraged me to go for it.
What makes you feel strong?
My colleagues. We’re a small team here in Australia and we all wear many hats every day. The challenges we face are unique to our office and location, and we tackle them together. I would have given up many times without their support. They make me feel powerful.
Did you have any failures along the way?
More a recurring fail – underestimating and doubting myself. That feeling doesn’t go away, you just get better at not letting it hold you back.
What are you most proud of?
The day I graduated from the Australian National University with Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts was better than any birthday. I made Uni much harder for myself and longer than it needed to be as I struggled with focus and why I was there. But I wouldn’t have my current job without it and almost 10 years later I am still proud of it. I learned so much about my strengths and weaknesses in the process of persevering.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
My closest friends are some of the smartest and most talented people I know. Along with my family, they have helped me discover what I am capable of over time. Exam meltdowns, interview nerves, career and confidence crises – they have helped me navigate it all. You can’t do it alone.
What do you see in the future for your industry?
Social media and technology have accelerated Global Citizen’s mission exponentially since our founders created the organisation 10 years ago. Today, a global citizen in any country around the world can send the same tweet at the same time as a pop star like Rihanna, asking the President of France to commit millions of dollars to ensure that no child goes without an education – and it achieves impact. Technology has democratised activism.
Would you do anything differently?
I came to the events industry later in my career. But, if I was to build a career in this industry from the ground up today, I would prioritise work experience across hospitality and working at live events. The only certainty in events is that something will go wrong. The best way to grow is to experience as wide an array of challenges as quickly as possible and learn from them.
In your wildest dreams, what you would love to do and get paid for it?
I can honestly say it would be something quite similar to what I am doing now – perhaps just with more resources and a bit more travel to exotic destinations along the way!
Industry: Not for Profit
Job: Events and Programs Manager