THE PERSON

Meet Sarah Reeves

My working life started as a young expat in Jakarta, where I grew up. Unable to work during high school due to visa restrictions, I made money by organising package trips to Bali for my school’s Spring Break and throwing ticketed events in Jakarta. This essentially kickstarted my career in marketing and tourism, which has continued in some form since 1995. 

I was fortunate that my formal career started out in organisations with very small marketing budgets and a lot of pressure. This meant I had to learn how to leverage opportunities between marketing, media, branding and business operations. 

One of these organisation was my own. At the age of 25 I established multiple award winning Zen Interiors in Dubai, focusing on the rapidly expanding hotel and retail markets in the Arabian Gulf. 

A very limited budget meant I had to learn how to design and develop every aspect of a marketing strategy - I simply couldn’t afford to contract it out, as it would have left me without an advertising budget. As my career progressed, it meant I could better negotiate and work closely with creative teams to articulate needs (or do it myself if needed). 

Upon returning to Australia, I found my niche in tourism branding and development, starting out in regional organisations and culminating in driving the rebrand of Tourism NT and the Convention Bureau in 2019. 

In these roles, I took regional areas struggling economically and helped them craft and implement brand strategies that would drive tourism and economic outcomes. There is never a single simple solution to branding a destination, so I learnt to never take a cookie cutter approach. 

Apart from making me completely jaded about politics, a brief stint in federal government as a media advisor honed my craft at creating messages and how to manage the media. 

While I’ve been fortunate to win some decent awards for my work along the way, my biggest professional joy is seeing the projects and brands I crafted continue to blossom, and I adamantly believe that it all starts with getting the brand right, knowing that stakeholders can own it and make it work within their business.