The lesson one woman learnt at the Mamamia Mentors event.

Open Colleges
Thanks to our brand partner, Open Colleges

Like many 30-year-olds, Priscilla Mallison has pursued more than one career path in her working life.

After studying film and television production, Mallison found it difficult to find work, and sought a different option.

She’s been retrenched twice, and has struggled to find a smooth career path.  These hurdles have sometimes made Mallison feel like her career is a bit all over the place.

“I feel like I haven’t had much of a career, I studied production in film and television, but never really managed to get into the industry,” she says.

“Other events in my life were happening and I just needed a job, so I picked up a receptionist job. But after three years my role was cut due to funding problems. I managed to get a production assistant role for six months but then was let go again for financial reasons, that is what they said to me.”

Mallison says she feels like she’s had some rotten luck, and the setbacks have made career success seem like a faraway goal.

“I guess being retrenched twice in one year made me feel like I was not worth the time. This obstacle put me back quite a lot, I think I had depression for two years after,” she says.

It was a hard time in Mallison’s life and, keen to put it behind her, she’s now studying with Open Colleges Australia.

Priscilla Mallison with jewellery designer Kate McCoy at the Open Colleges event. Images: supplied.

“I’m a mum, who works part time in a printing house while studying full-time a Certificate IV in Design Photography. I feel like I haven’t really started my career yet, so I am on a journey of starting,” she says.

Open Colleges is a great fit for Mallison, a working mother-of-one, because there are no campuses and a flexible study schedule.  Open Colleges also provides opportunities for students to meet mentors and network in the industries they are trying to get a foothold.

Mallison was one of dozens of women who joined Mamamia Creative Director Mia Freedman for an exclusive Open Colleges mentoring event at Mamamia’s offices in Sydney early this month.

The Mamamia Mentors evening featured Mia, editor in chief Kate de Brito, Mamamia’s head of activations and branded content Michelle Thomas, and Australian jewellery designer Kate McCoy.

advancing your career
“Mallison was one of the women who joined Mia Freedman for an exclusive Open Colleges mentoring event.” Image: supplied.

All four women shared their tips and tricks for getting ahead, and some personal stories from their own careers.  The goal was to bring women seeking advice and inspiration together with women who might be able to share some secrets of success.

“I decided to come to the event because I originally thought it was about ladies talking about work, children and life balance, as that is the stage of life I’m in with my husband and toddler,” Mallison says.

“Little did I know it was also about ladies in their field of industry making their mark and encouraging us to pursue that too. I also wanted to do a little bit of networking, as scared as I was. “

There was plenty of opportunity to get some one-on-one time with the mentors after their speeches and questions, and Mallison, as a design major, managed to get some time with McCoy, who gave her some personalised inspiration.

advancing your career
“There was plenty of opportunity to get some one on one time with the mentors after their speeches and questions.” Image: supplied.

McCoy designs distinct and high-quality engagement, wedding and bespoke fine jewellery for her clients. She studied in Sydney and Mumbai and six months ago she went to France to pursue perfumery.  She will launch her first collection of perfumes this year.

“I was lucky enough to have a chat with Kate McCoy about her business. Her advice to me was to find a market that needs filling. As I would like to be a photographer, she encouraged me to not spread myself thin into all areas of photography, but to become great in a particular area.

McCoy’s other big tip, Mallison says, was to practise, practise, practise.

Mallison said the event had given her a much-needed inspiration boost, and some valuable advice.

“Keep pursuing what you are interested in doing, and always remember it’s OK to ask questions.”

How have you achieved your career goals?

Here are a few more photos from the Open Colleges mentoring event at Mamamia’s offices:

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