Head of Content / Business Chicks
Success, as we well know, has a myriad of meanings and we all experience it in different ways. Think about it, what does success mean to you?
I know what you are thinking; (because I felt it as well) that success lies at the other end of your ATAR score. To some of you this may be the case, but I am here to reassure you that you are way more than a score. Your success lies within you, and only YOU have the power to measure it.
Take today’s #careerstory as a prime example. Lucy Ormonde is a woman with an armour of creativity, courage and heart. She has built her incredible career from the ground up. Identifying her passion and not stopping until that passion was her reality.
In Year 10 a teacher told her that she would never be able to complete work experience in a major news room, so what did Lucy do? Of course she proved her wrong, landing a job at the Herald Sun in Melbourne.
Lucy is a woman that you want to know about, and her #careerstory is the perfect tale, striking the perfect balance of all the goodness that you need in your life right now. Not only does Lucy tell us about her time at high school and university, but she also speaks about how she got her job at Mamamia (It’s a goodie) and now at Australia’s largest and most influential community for women… Business Chicks.
You know that feeling you get when you discover a hot new band, or read a quote that everyone needs to know about? Well, that is how I feel about Lucy. From the moment I met her, I felt that I was watching a new Netflix series, more gripping then Suits.
Girls, remember the name Lucy Ormonde, and learn from her incredible #careerstory.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in..
Hey Lucy, So excited to share your #careerstory, let’s start at the very beginning. Can you tell us where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in a suburb called Sandringham, which is about 30 minutes south of Melbourne on the beach. I’ve never been one of those people who instinctively knew what they wanted to ‘do’, but I grew up in a family of journalists and Sunday night dinners were always full of robust discussions around whatever was happening in the news. I guess it was just a natural progression to head towards journalism and communications because it made a lot of sense to me.
A family of jounalists? Wow, sounds very interesting! Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to a school called St Leonard’s College in Brighton East. Both my mum and my aunt worked at the school, and my cousins were in the grades above me so it was very much a family affair. Overall, I loved school and was one of those kids that just did a bit of everything and I’m very lucky in that my school friends are still a huge part of my life. I was terribly shy as a teenager, which probably held me back a lot in the early years. It wasn’t until Year 12 that I really found my place and started to feel sure of myself.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I’m not terribly futuristic, so for me, high school was about having a great time and getting the best possible ATAR that I could. I honestly didn’t think much past that point and in hindsight, I probably should have planned a little more! That’s kind of been a theme in my life and career though and so far it’s served me well! I’m very spontaneous and love a challenge, so rather than plan too far ahead, I’d rather say to opportunities as they come up, throw myself in the deep end and hope that I stay afloat. That’s kind of been a theme in my life and career though and so far it’s served me well! I’m very spontaneous and love a challenge, so rather than plan too far ahead, I’d rather say to opportunities as they come up, throw myself in the deep end and hope that I stay afloat.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
In Year 10, one of my teachers told me I’d never be able to do work experience in a major news room and I became desperate to prove her wrong! I reached out to all the TV networks, radio stations, and newspapers and ended up at the Herald Sun. I did a lot more internships at university than during high school. If I had a spare week doing my post-graduate degree, you would find me in some kind of newsroom – I went to The Age, The Herald Sun (again!), WIN News, The Courier Mail, Mamamia, A Current Affair and so many more that I can’t remember now!
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I chose a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Media and Communications and Japanese. In hindsight, this was probably a terrible decision … I rushed into it and didn’t love the whole experience (and probably more committed to travelling and drinking in the early years of uni than I was to studying!) but I also know that the whole experience played a part in getting me to where I am now, so for that I’m grateful. I went back to uni and did a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism at RMIT a few years later and that was probably the best career move I’ve ever made. By that stage, I was much clearer on what I wanted to do and the skills I needed to get there.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
I tried PR for a while after my first degree but it didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to be writing the stories, rather than pitching them. And that’s ultimately why I decided to do a degree in journalism. My first job out of journalism school was at a country newspaper called The Colac Herald. I moved to Colac for the job (it was small town about two hours out of Melbourne) and the experience was invaluable because, as a bunch of 20-somethings with not a lot of experience, we were thrown into the deep end. I think it was my first week that I attended the scene of a fatal car accident and it was a huge reality check on the responsibility that comes with being a journalist and telling someone’s story in a way that’s true and dignified.
I’d been at the newspaper about nine months when an ad for my dream job came up at Mamamia. I’d been a big fan of Mia Freedman for many years and decided then and there that I would do whatever it took to get that role. I made a website called ‘Lucy Wants a Job at Mamamia’ and pretty much harassed the then-editor to read it. I think they probably gave me the role just to stop my emails!
When I started with Mamamia there were probably 10 people working there and by the time I left there were more than 100. That’s not to say I had anything to do with the growth, but I was incredibly lucky in that I was there for the formative years when digital media was developing. I was able to grow with the business and were able to experiment and take risks with the content we produced. It was awesome.
After about five years and some incredible experiences, I left Mamamia without much of a plan as to what was next – I just knew I needed a break from the 24/7 news cycle. It didn’t take me long to find and fall in love with Business Chicks and I’ve been there for just over a year now as their Head of Content.
What I love about Business Chicks is that I’m still storytelling (which has been a real theme in my career) but I can now see the effect of that storytelling. Every day we tell the stories of incredible women through events and content, and in doing so we inspire other women to live bigger and bolder because of what they learn.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
Haha, how much time do you have?! The short story is that when I decided to leave my last job I opened up my contacts book and called everyone I knew and asked I’d they’d have coffee with me – not knowing where each conversation would lead, but hoping something would jump out. One of those contacts was Olivia Ruello, the CEO of Business Chicks, who I’d met at an event a few months earlier. Sometimes you can just tell when something just works and I guess you could say I went into the Business Chicks office for a quick chat and never really left – what started as some consulting on their social media strategy very quickly turned into a full-time role. And I can’t see myself going anywhere for a long long time now because I feel so strongly about the values of the business and the important work that we’re doing.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
I’m living in Sydney and my whole family and most of my friends live in Melbourne so I find that incredibly tough. But I’m really lucky in that I work for what’s probably the most flexible workplace in the country and there is a fair amount of travel in my role. So if I’m in Melbourne for work, I’ll often stay down for a week or two, spend some time with my family and work from the dining room table.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
Every day is completely different in the world of Business Chicks. On a very typical day, I usually try and get into the office early so I can rip through some tasks and the rest of the day is a combination of meetings, emails, and laughs.
The Business Chicks office is unique in that almost feels like it’s an extension of someone’s house – the kettle is always on, there’s music is playing in the background and there’s always good conversations about what’s coming up in our calendar, what’s happening in the world of women and on social media, and what we as an organisation can do to make the world a better place for women.
The Business Chicks office sounds heavingly. Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Oh, I have a different career crush every single week. I’m very drawn to women who take risks and don’t always play by the rules, who work for a greater purpose than money and who take other women along for the ride with them.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Networking isn’t about swapping business cards, it’s about being kind and helpful to everyone you meet. You never know when that person will swing back into your life, or be able to help you out – so be patient and know that if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.
I actually met Mia Freedman for the first time at a Business Chicks lunch many many years and as much as I would have loved at job then and there, the timing wasn’t right for either of us. It was a year or two later that it all fell into place. And it was at that same lunch that I met Emma Isaacs – who is the founder and Global CEO of Business Chicks – for the first time too.
CHECK OUT SOME OF THE GREAT WORK THAT LUCY DOES AT BUSINESS CHICKS HERE:
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
My friends who work in the media are everything to me and each play a different role – they challenge me, they support me and they listen. There is one friend in particular who I talk to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). We work ideas off each other and are completely honest with each other and that’s invaluable.
- Favourite Websites: Women’s Agenda, Mumbrella, Facebook (I use it as a newsfeed), Slate
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: Business Chicks of course! And I also love the daily quotes from @Girlboss
- Favourite Podcast: So many! At the moment I’m loving Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman and when all else fails, I’ll always go back to This American Life.
- Favourite Netflix Series: Suits (#TeamHarvey) and Orange is the New Black
- Favourite all time book/s: Oh The Places You’ll Go (by Dr Seuss!)
- People: The women I work with challenge me, make me laugh and lift me up every single day
- Others: Any TED Talk by Simon Sinek, anything and everything by Brené Brown and Seth Godin’d daily emails.