Marti Cuatt – Senior Stakeholder Engagement Consultant, Jacobs
1. Tell us about what you do?
I’ve been working as a Senior Stakeholder Engagement Consultant with Jacobs’ Hobart office for just two months. The role is largely centred around strategic stakeholder and community engagement, partnering with clients for large infrastructure upgrades. Much of the work we do at Jacobs has community impacts and it’s great to be supporting these projects with effective engagement. Jacobs works across a range of industry sectors across the globe, so I’m really looking forward to the gamut of opportunities ahead.
Prior to moving back to Hobart I spent more than two years back in Melbourne working contract roles, most recently as part of the fantastic communication team at Metro Trains. At Metro I was predominately focused on internal communication for the Infrastructure team and undertook some work with the Rolling Stock team in the month or so before leaving for Hobart. A really interesting piece of work was the development of a strategic community engagement plan in readiness of upcoming urban station renewal works.
2. When did you join IABC Victoria and why?
I’d been following the IABC for a few years on LinkedIn before joining 12 months ago – and am glad I finally joined. It’s been great for me to start building stronger professional networks through the events and mingles and the exposure to learning and development opportunities is fantastic. Overall, it’s been great meeting like-minded professionals and to feel part of something so much bigger, especially since my recent move back to Tasmania, where networking opportunities aren’t as prevalent.
3. You recently moved from Victoria to Tasmania – how’s the communication scene down south?
Tasmania is an island, and one of the effects of life on an island is that practices don’t tend to be challenged and refreshed as often as larger places. Practitioners here definitely have a high standard of professionalism, but there’s just not the opportunity for having your practice challenged or to grow and develop. That’s definitely not a criticism, but just the result of the insular nature of living on a small island.
I’d love to see an IABC presence down here as I think Tasmanian communication professionals would really benefit from the opportunities the association offers – from social networking, events with speakers to professional development and certification. It would all add to the richness of discovery and opportunity of this island life.
4. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing communication professionals now and into the future?
I still think that in some circles, communication just isn’t taken seriously and there’s a view of the function being all fluff and schmoozing. As we know, it couldn’t be further from the truth and communications is a vital, strategic business function.
The challenge is to keep changing perspectives, so communication is viewed as importantly as the CEO and CIO. It would be great to see CCO (Chief Communication Officer) up there with the rest of the C-Suite.
5. How do you think IABC can help communication professionals overcome these challenges and stay ahead of the game?
The IABC does great work already, but continued provision of accessible resources and tools to quantify both the bottom line and humanity of communication and engagement, along with ensuring the connectedness of members, will go a long way.
I think that continuing to provide opportunities for professional growth, challenging our practice to stay one step ahead and ensuring we network and discuss the profession with other practitioners is a key to the profession’s continued growth.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in our profession?
Find a mentor, learn your own strengths, discover the industry or sector that you are best aligned to and work with it all. At the same time, develop a broad set of skills with a view to building and growing the area you want to specialise in.
I’d also suggest gaining international experience and never stop being curious and learning. And keep it real – you’re never too senior to stuff envelopes if it means getting the job done.
About Marti Cuatt:
Marti is a senior communication and stakeholder engagement professional with more than 20 years’ experience – predominately as a consultant and contractor. She brings a common-sense approach to developing effective strategies and plans that are practical and insightful.
From a strategic perspective, Marti believes that good communication doesn’t have to be rocket science to work, provided it balances an intuitive understanding of what makes stakeholders tick with appropriate tools and tactics to really meet needs.
Her career experience spans internal and external communication in private and public sectors as well as higher education and she considers herself fortunate to have been exposed to a number of work cultures, companies and industries over the years. It’s all added to the richness of learning and growing as a communication professional.
Marti recently relocated home to Tasmania, where she is happily working as a senior community and stakeholder engagement consultant with engineering design firm, Jacobs.