Master of Public Relations & Advertising
Graduation Year: 2012
Current Position: Founder, LEP Digital
Tell me about your current role...
I own and run a fast-paced digital marketing agency called LEP Digital based in Gosford on the Central Coast. I manage an in-house team of three and several contractors to deliver compelling content to our clients locally, nationally and internationally. We offer services including copywriting and editing, website planning, search engine optimisation and search engine marketing, video production and social media marketing.
What does your typical day look like?
Like most millennials, I wake up to my phone at around 7am and check emails in bed. I then respond to social media comments and read the news over a home-made soy latte. I walk to the office around 8:30am. We usually have a quick team meeting to set up our priorities for the day. Often this is interrupted by urgent client requests, trips to the café for meetings or lunch at the local Japanese haunt – where bento boxes are non-negotiable.
What is one thing you love about your job?
I love collaborating with my team and the excitement of not knowing what will happen day-to-day. For example, sometimes I’ll get a phone call to present at a conference, a new client opportunity, or free tickets to a seminar. I believe that you make your own luck, so I’m in the business of chasing opportunity, working hard, and following my gut.
How do you stay focused and inspired in what you do?
I stay focused by getting out of the office every Friday and taking a walk in a nearby nature reserve. Walking outside helps me to access a different part of my brain so I can be more creative, more generous and stay positive. I’m inspired by nature – it’s incredibly resilient, healing and wild. Burnt trees produce new leaves and the seasons go on.
Did you imagine this would be your career? What would a 17-year-old Laura think of what you are doing now?
Not a chance. I was planning to be an actress on the set of Home and Away. I think 17-year-old Laura might find me a little boring and be disappointed that I’m not famous (yet). But, she’d like that I can bring my toy poodle to the office and be proud that I have a company and work with a team of legends.
Why did you decide to do a Master's of Public Relations & Advertising degree at UNSW?
When I was in my mid 20s, I realised that I wanted Elaine from Seinfeld’s job – you know the one where she writes advertising blurbs for the J Peterman catalogues? I was working in a corporate copywriting job at the time, but I yearned to keep studying and end up in advertising. I did some research and, voilà, the UNSW degree was the logical next step.
What was your Master's of Public Relations & Advertising at UNSW like?
Incredibly rewarding, fun and empowering. Strangely, it didn’t feel like I was doing a degree, it was more of an opportunity to meet smart people from around the world who shared the same interests as me, learn from advertising execs (including people who worked at Leo Burnett!) and work on real-world advertising and PR briefs.
What is your best memory of your Master's of Public Relations & Advertising degree?
When our advertising lecturer and her guest speakers from various well known ad agencies joined us after class for drinks at the Roundhouse. I couldn’t believe how cool my teachers were and how I now had contacts in the industry that I could call friends.
Also, when my journalism teacher helped me to get my first feature story published on Upstart – that was a big moment.
How do you feel that your Master's of Public Relations & Advertising degree shaped your career?
It changed the course of my life and my career in so many ways. I moved from my hometown on the Central Coast to Surry Hills to pursue work in the big smoke. I became more confident in what I could offer companies that I worked for (and therefore negotiate my salary). I also had the sense of limitless potential; all of a sudden I was part of a VIP group of talented people making creative lives for themselves.
What is the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?
The inspiring talks from my lecturers, and the sense that they had my back. They were really rooting for our success and treated us all like adults who were experiencing the world from a new and more educated perspective. I felt like it was my job to do something important with the knowledge they passed on.
Where have you worked since graduating?
Senior Web Editor at Local Government NSW (peak industry association for NSW councils), Internal Communications Manager at Bendon (global lingerie company), Content and Communications Manager at Nuix (global software company) and, of course, Director at LEP Digital.
What advice would you give to someone trying to decide if they should sign up for a Master's of Public Relations & Advertising degree?
If you want to study a degree that’s hands-on, allergic to dull, and attracts interesting people, you should do it. Once you do, enjoy every minute because it will go quickly. Get to know your classmates and teachers well because they will become lifelong friends.