Tessa Williams

Tessa Williams

Marketing Manager – Australia, Gallagher Security, Gold Coast, Queensland
Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management and Employment Relations & Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations conjoint programmes

She wanted to study at AUT as it was clear that the university was well connected and aligned with the industries it represented, says Tessa Williams who completed Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Communication Studies conjoint programmes.

“At AUT, your studies reflect modern business practices, and the university’s strong connections with businesses make it easy for you to network with industry leaders and meet potential employers. The value AUT places on real-world connections, and practical work experience meant that AUT was a no-brainer for me when I was choosing a university.”

She thoroughly enjoyed being able to gain workplace experience as part of her degrees and says these experiences were what she enjoyed the most about her studies.

“For my Public Relations major, the Outside the Square component – where students work on PR campaigns for not-for-profit organisations – was a clear highpoint. Having the opportunity to apply our learning to support a real-life charity provided to be invaluable.

“I also completed a three-month placement at The Warehouse Group for the workplace experience part of my business degree. Again, through this placement I gained invaluable experience that no classroom environment can teach you, including skills like participating in meetings and managing stakeholder expectations.”

Valuable networking opportunities
For Tessa, one of the highlights of her time at AUT was participating in the Shadow a Leader programme, where students get to spend a day with a business leader in their chosen field.

“I decided to take part in this programme because I wanted to gain valuable experience from spending a day in the professional world, and seeing the skills and attributes it takes to navigate a successful career. I was lucky enough to take part in Shadow a Leader two years in a row, and I gained insights into two different industries: a PR agency and recruitment agency.

“The biggest thing I gained from this experience was a job at the end of my degree. In 2014, I shadowed Strahan Wallis, who was the managing director of Porter Novelli New Zealand at the time. We stayed in touch, and he offered me a job at the end of my university studies. So, I kicked off my PR career at Porter Novelli. Had I not participated in Shadow a Leader and worked with Strahan and the team, I don’t think my career would be where it is today.”

She would highly recommend the Shadow a Leader programme to other students.

“I’d 110% recommend the programme. The leaders you meet and the connections you make will serve you well in the years to come.”

Finding success in Australia
Now based in the sunny Gold Coast and leading Gallagher Security’s marketing activities for Australia, Tessa is proud of how much she has achieved since joining the company.

“In a short two and a half years here, I’ve gone from a 12-month maternity cover contract in our head office’s PR team, to marketing manager for the New Zealand sales team, to marketing manager for the whole of Australia. It’s been an incredible journey, with each new chapter filled with exciting projects, new skills, and wonderful colleagues.”

Her advice for other students is simple: don’t underestimate the power of real-life work experience.

“If I was to have my time at university again, I’d get an internship in my chosen field of study as soon as possible. Interning while you study is the best way to put theory into practice, and the real learning doesn’t start until you’re thrown in the deep end.”