Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I have two roles, both of which I am incredibly passionate about. The first is as co-host of Channel 7’s The Daily Edition, which is a national news and entertainment program. I get to work with and interview smart, funny and talented people every day. My other role is for swiish.com.au, a lifestyle website which I founded and work on together with my sister, Maha. SWIISH is about living a luxe lifestyle for less. We cover fashion, beauty, health, family and home. I love working with my sister, and bringing SWIISH readers all of the quickest, easiest and most affordable ways to live a fabulous life. Maha and I have also just released a green smoothie recipe e-book, called Super Green Smoothies. We’re getting so much incredible feedback from people who have downloaded the book and started making green smoothies, saying that they have never felt better. It’s an absolute thrill.
How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?
I think I always knew that I wanted to work in television, from when I was at back at school. I wanted to be a newsreader. I was just too afraid to try it as journalism was seen as a risky career choice – the perception was that there were not many jobs available, and no job security. So I went down the safe path and became an accountant instead. Needless to say, I really didn’t enjoy it. So when I was in my late 20’s, I decided it was now or never if I was to pursue my dream of working in television. I left my job in finance and began volunteering anywhere and everywhere I could to get experience. It was a lot of hard work, and still is. But I’m so glad that I made the decision to go for it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
In all kinds of places – from my family, who have supported me through thick and thin; especially my husband Marcus, who has always encouraged me to chase my dreams, no matter how big or small they may be. I live in Bondi, and I draw a lot of inspiration to live a healthy lifestyle from being near the ocean. I’m also inspired by seeing strong female entrepreneurs enjoy great success in their careers – in particular, I find Arianna Huffington, Rachel Zoe, Sophia Amoruso and Kelly Cutrone inspiring.
Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?
I don’t have a mentor, per se. But I do have people who I go to for advice – usually Marcus or my sister. Sometimes I also bounce ideas off Larry Emdur. In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have learned from many of the brightest and the best. Sarah Stinson, our executive producer for The Daily Edition who I also worked with on Today Tonight has been amazing to work with. I basically just adopted the mantra early on that there is something to be learned from everyone. So I made sure I was really present and paid attention – like a sponge soaking up as much knowledge as possible. I also found that because I was up for even the most simple of tasks, such as going to get coffees for the team; that went a long way. People remember team players that have a good attitude.
What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?
Initially the stumbling blocks were finding out how to get work experience in TV. Since then, the challenge has been how to juggle everything with family and work.
How did you overcome these?
I started out by doing a TV presenting course, which was advertised in the newspaper, and then through that tried to make a few contacts who helped me to get (unpaid) work experience on community television (Channel 31). On the juggling front, it’s about accepting that I can’t always do it all, even though I try to! But Annabelle comes first, always.
What are your goals for the future?
On the family front, Marcus and I would love for Annabelle to have a sibling. Maha and I are super-close, so I would love for Annabelle to have a little sister or brother, too. On the work front, I just want more of what I’m doing – I love co-hosting The Daily Edition, and working on SWIISH too. I’m happy.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
Firstly, I would say that you have to be prepared. What I mean by that is, you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to follow your dream. I worked unpaid for many years. I’m not saying it will be the same for everyone, but if that’s what it takes, then you have to be willing to do that. Apply for work experience and internships. Network. Become an invaluable member of the team with a positive attitude. Go the extra mile to get the job done. And be persistent. Don’t give up. There’s a quote by Harrison Ford where he says, “I realised early on that success was tied to not giving up. Most people in this business gave up and went on to other things. If you simply didn’t give up, you would outlast the people who came in on the bus with you.” I really believe that’s true.
Sally will be attending a major event on NBCF’s calendar called An Evening of Gratitude raising funds for breast cancer research, on Monday 17 November in Sydney. For more information visit www.aneveningofgratitude.com