Brisbane’s recent coldest day in 103 years seems like a world away as I prepare to meet with Griffith graduate Brooke Santurini at the Gold Coast Tourism office in the heart of Broadbeach. People wander the busy precinct in casual summer attire, stirring memories of carefree summer holidays with my family. I wonder if you lived and worked on the Gold Coast you’d be able to maintain that relaxed holiday feel.
My questions are soon answered as Brooke reflects on how she ended up at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus as a Bachelor of Business student majoring in Management and Marketing. Growing up in Daylesford in country Victoria, Brooke’s family would often visit the Coast for their holidays and her enjoyment of the lifestyle influenced her decision to accept a rural scholarship to study at Gold Coast campus.
“There was a lot more going on and that really was the experience I wanted, coming from a small town”
“It was definitely the great university environment I always imagined and it was amazing to go to the beach and get into the overall lifestyle of living on the Coast”, Brooke says.
Although Brooke did experience loneliness at first from being away from her family, she says that throwing herself into the university experience helped build her confidence and set her up for life.
“Don’t expect it will come to you, be proactive and get work experience”
A self-confessed organiser and planner, Brooke started to consider early in her degree how she could start taking advantage of university programs to set her up with employment before graduation. Becoming a mentee in the Industry Mentoring Program and enrolling in the Griffith Business Internship elective really marked the beginning of her journey to where she is now as an Executive – Australia Marketing at Gold Coast Tourism.
“I remember being really nervous about meeting my mentor for the first time but it ended up being such a positive experience. “I also met a contact from Gold Coast Tourism, did an internship with them, and although it wasn’t until a few years later, I think it really helped in getting the role I have now.”
“Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you don’t get your dream job straight away. “I started applying for all the graduate jobs in March of my last year and I remember getting to the final four, missing out and being devastated but it ended up working out” Brooke says.
“Be willing not to be too picky in that first role you take”
“Once someone gives you that first opportunity it’s so much easier to get the next role after that. It’s always great to have goals but not to be so set in your ways that this prevents you from taking certain opportunities”.
As part of the Gold Coast Tourism team who manage domestic and leisure travel,, Brooke’s role is focused on increasing visitor demand for her adopted hometown. Brooke thoroughly enjoys the diversity of working on different marketing campaigns – including media and tourism partners ranging from accommodation, attractions and dining products, across various TV, print, cinema, radio, outdoors and digital media channels.
When I ask Brooke about her hobbies, I discover we share a common interest: a serious sweet tooth addiction. Brooke smiles widely when explaining she keeps close count on the increasing number of Max Brenner chocolate restaurants opening up on the Gold Coast.
So, after the vastly different experiences of growing up in a small town with a population of just over 3,000 and studying and working in a bustling coastal tourist destination, where will she end up?
“It’s been five years since leaving university. I feel happy where I am, have learned so much and I am more confident in my skills and what I know now”
“Taking on a management role is something I would love to do, put myself out there for different opportunities that come up, and make sure that I am continually developing my skills”.
When Brooke mentions she is sometimes hard on herself, I am inwardly agreeing as she explains it’s really important to take advice on board and criticism can be a good thing. As students, graduates or even after working for thirty years, we are continually learning and trying new things and we are never going to get everything perfect. And as I drive past the calm Gold Coast beach on a Queensland winter’s day and back to my office in Brisbane, Brooke’s words of advice stay with me, “Don’t pretend to know everything as you are not expected to”. You just have to have an open mind and expect a career of life-long learning.
Top Tips from Brooke
- Take the opportunities you can and put yourself out there
- Don’t expect it will come to you, be proactive and get work experience
- Consider what you can do now that will make you stand out, put in the hard work as it will make it easier for you at the end of the day