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ACT Government

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Rachel Bernabe

Rachel Bernabe studied a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations and Bachelor of Event and Tourism Management at the University of Canberra and is now a Content Marketing Officer, VisitCanberra at ACT Government.

What’s your background?

I am a young communications professional with a desire to understand, to connect and to share, every day. 

Canberra is home – it’s where I grew up and where my family is. I have a strong feeling it will always be home to me, regardless of the chance I end up living halfway across the world in the future. 

After finishing Year 12, I studied a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations and Bachelor of Event and Tourism Management at the University of Canberra (UC). Life at university was spent balancing studies with several jobs such as Student Ambassador for UC, Social Media and Digital Communications Officer for Karinya House, a not-for-profit organisation supporting mothers and babies, and undertaking several internships including with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. After graduating, I completed a graduate program with the ACT Government and landed a permanent job with my first rotation from the program, VisitCanberra.

Career aside, I have always enjoyed being connected to my Filipino heritage through cultural dancing since I was young, to roles such as Vice President of the Filipino Communities Council of Australia, which is the national representative body of Filipinos in Australia. 

What’s your job about?

Working in the marketing team for VisitCanberra, I get to promote Canberra as a tourism destination to domestic and international travellers. In my current role, I am required to understand both the product and the key audiences and be able to tell compelling stories that bring them together. I do this by showcasing Canberra’s experiences and stories to our target markets, as well as tailoring content for our industry and government stakeholders. 

I have the kind of job where you can wear lots of different hats and sometimes all at once. A typical day could consist of writing content for web articles and print publications, brainstorming seasonal campaign ideas, being on the ground at a photo shoot as well as meeting with tourism industry leaders and operators. 

Did you always know you wanted to work in this field?

Since I was little, I have always wanted a job with plenty of interaction and engagement with a variety of people - even if I couldn’t articulate it at a young age. You can imagine there aren’t many kids who say, “when I grow up, I want to be a public relations professional!” - and unsurprisingly I am not an exception. It wasn’t until Year 10 when I was in the process of selecting subjects for Year 11 and 12 that my mum casually mentioned that I would suit a career in communications or marketing. I think she was on to something, as from this day, a seed was planted which would eventually become my first career. 

What is most rewarding about your job?

When every day is different, you’ll never have a boring day on the job. The field of communications is creative, innovative and one that will keep you learning forever. I get to be part of a highly talented, collaborative and supportive team which makes the work a joy to do. 

There are also wonderful opportunities that accompany my job which includes being the first to know of up-and-coming tourism experiences and events as well as getting to connect with passionate tourism operators and brilliant people in the industry. 

Not to get too philosophical, but I am grateful that I have found a job where my skill set, interests and experience piece together seamlessly like a jigsaw puzzle. 

What were some of the challenges you faced in getting to where you are now?

I feel fortunate to say there haven’t been major career setbacks that I’ve had to overcome. I suppose a challenge of this field is the ever-changing landscape and fast-paced nature. To perform my role effectively, I am often required to swiftly gain comprehensive knowledge on a topic that is completely unfamiliar to me. In a field characterised by constant change and new opportunities, it’s the moment I get comfortable in an area and build expertise, that I’m suddenly on to the next one. 

3 pieces of advice for you would give women who want to work in your industry?

  • Be like a sponge and absorb all the new information – because there’s a lot of it. Stay engaged in conversations, ask questions and see what you can share or contribute.
  • Take time to explore the many facets of communications. It’s an entirely broad field so it can take a bit of perseverance to land in an area you feel passionate about.
  • Always lift and empower others. It’s a fundamental part of building relationships, which is essential to the field and most importantly, life. If being a leader isn’t in your job title, be one by supporting your colleagues and embodying the values of a leader such as integrity, resilience and positivity.