With an obsession for taking the oh-so-complicated and making it satisfyingly simple, we are pleased to introduce Rachel Abad, our Associate Director of Communications.
Rachel holds over a decade of communications, strategic marketing, and stakeholder engagement experience for some of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects and telecommunication companies. Her dynamic approach to sifting through the jargon and taking a ‘why’-centric approach to communications strategy makes her an indispensable member of the Ellis Jones team.
Sum yourself up in 3 words.
Curious. Passionate. Empathetic.
What were you doing before EJ?
After 6-years working for Telstra in the brand and national marketing environment, I moved to Melbourne to get my hands dirty in the infrastructure sector. I’ve had the honour of leading communications campaigns and strategies for several rail projects, including the Level Crossing Removal Project, Melbourne Airport Rail, and Inland Rail. By listening to, and learning directly from, the community, stakeholders, and passengers, I was able to hone in on innovatively educating people on the changes and benefits that these multi-billion projects bring to Victoria (and Australia).
Where do you see communications and behaviour change making a difference in the transport and infrastructure industry?
In both the Victoria Infrastructure Strategy 2021 – 2051 and the Plan Melbourne 2017 – 2050, infrastructure and sustainability were high up on the priority lists. With Victoria’s Big Build delivering 205 major road and rail projects as we speak, there is no doubt infrastructure delivery is at its high (and will continue to be). But, ensuring that we continue to deliver the $100 billion dollars’ worth of infrastructure over the next 30 years while simultaneously meeting the 2050 low-carbon target is going to be a challenge. Though innovation is imperative to projects and imbedded businesses, it’s important to shift the internal ‘tick-box’ exercise of sustainability towards an integrated business practice where value of these practices is indisputable. Through education and behaviour change approaches, projects can begin to understand, implement, and reap the inherent benefits that social impact and sustainability has to the community in turn creating a more profitable, conscious project.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
You can only meet others as far as they have met themselves.
Self-awareness and empathy are key drivers in the way I work and live. Perspective in understanding people’s limitations and strengths gives me the capability to appreciate the beauty that everyone is human. Capacities change, motivation fluctuate, and sometimes opinions may be stubborn. This was fantastic advice to remind me that everyone is their own unique individual and sometimes we can expect too much from the people around us (and ourselves too).
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Does it make you feel good? By Confidence Man (listen to the CC Disco X DJ Boring remix to add a bit of spice to your life). Nothing like a groovy number to get you moving. And, a nice little reminder to always follow your intuition – make sure it feels right