WiBRD Women in Focus. Lizzie McKinnon

In our effort to recognise and celebrate women doing amazing things in our community, this month we are interviewing Liz McKinnon,Manager, Communications & Economic Development at Glenelg Shire Council and Board Member of the RDA Limestone Coast.

1/ Who is Lizzie?
I grew up in Dartmoor and went to school at Tenison Woods College. I’ve worked largely in the Green Triangle region, in addition to stints in Melbourne and North Queensland. I relocated back to Mt Gambier last year and have enjoyed rekindling old school/sporting connections in the south east. When I’m not at work you’ll find me running with my spoilt border collie Banjo, or supporting the North Gambier FC.

2/ What are your main professional areas/jobs you have worked in over the years?
Much of my working life has been in the media industry working as a journalist, editor and media advisor. I started my career as a cadet journalist at the Hamilton Spectator 17 years ago direct out of year 12. I went on to senior positions with Fairfax and News Limited, plus a short stint in radio, before crossing to the ‘dark side’ and becoming a media advisor. I worked for former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine over four years until his retirement from politics in 2015, a period of significant personal growth which invigorated my love of politics. Following his retirement I returned home to work with the Glenelg Shire. I am currently the shire’s economic development and communications manager, focused on business/tourism development, government advocacy and strategic communication plans for the shire. I am particularly interested in strengthening cross border relationships, growing the profile of the Green Triangle region. This has been supported by my role as a board member with the Limestone Coast RDA.

3/ What is the biggest challenge you have faced professionally or personally?
Moving to North Queensland to work with News Limited was one of the most challenging and rewarding moves in my career. I was 23-years-old had no contacts and had to start from scratch. I’d previously been spoilt reporting in local Western Victorian markets but Queensland was a new challenge and complete culture shock, understanding the community and its priorities, building relationship with governments, working huge hours to cover the massive geographic area whilst competing with major TV networks. The hard work paid off as I was given opportunity to work as chief of staff within six months, mentored by a visionary editor who is now managing the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity which created some amazing memories and great contacts.

4/ What is your favourite place to visit in the Limestone Coast & Western Victoria area?
I love the outdoors and my favourite place to visit is Cape Bridgewater – Australia’s best beach!! I also have a soft spot for the Junction at Dartmoor, a swimming hole on the Glenelg River where thousands of hours were spent as a kid.

5/ What is your recommendation for our members to focus on/ take away?
I think it’s important in life to have a mentor, assisting and guiding you on the best steps to make in your career and personal adventures.

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