How’d You Get The Job: Caroline Farrer, Director of Innovation

How’d You Get The Job: Caroline Farrer, Director of Innovation

How’d You Get The Job is FYA’s latest series where you get to meet the team behind FYA and find out, well, how they got their job!

At FYA we love talking about jobs, careers and the skills you need to get from one job to another. We know that a young person today is likely to have 17 jobs across 5 different industries. It’s no longer about the linear career path! We don’t have to look much further than our very own team to find out just what that non-linear path might look like in action.

Once you’ve found out all you can about Caroline, head over here to meet YLab Director Dhakshy, and here to meet Digital Coordinator Sam Danby, here to meet $20 Boss Program Manager Annie Buckeridge, take a virtual wander here to meet General Manager of Programs & Events Molly Whelan, then stop by here to find out about Enterprise & Changemaking Manager Rita Khayat.

Next up is Caroline Farrer— FYA’s Director of Innovation.

What’s your title, what does it mean and what do you do?

Director of Innovation. I look at new ways that FYA can create value through our work. This might be through a new partnership, or product or the way we do things online. I also get to work with the whole FYA team on how we can all drive ideas and new ways of doing things. It isn’t my job to come up with all the ideas (thankfully!), instead I ensure anyone and everyone in the organisation is supported to do so.

What were you doing before FYA?

I was the Marketing Director at Warner Bros Australia, leading the team who was marketing their film and TV product. I was there for a long time working my way up from product manager. Working for such a big multinational company I learnt so much, was given a lot of opportunities and got to travel to some great places… and I got to watch a lot of TV and movies as part of my job! But then I realised all those things weren’t enough to fulfil me anymore so I jumped ship.

What did you study at uni (if at all)? Is it relevant to your job?

After school, I did an Arts degree. Obviously pretty broad, but still useful because I did lots of reading, writing and arguing for my point of view — all those skills have come in handy in a career of marketing and innovation. I also did a Marketing Certificate as I was already doing marketing as a job but didn’t have any official learning in it. That meant I got to study and then immediately apply what I learnt to my job, which was a great way to learn. And then when I was looking to leave the corporate world and head into the for-purpose world I did a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact —  this made a huge difference for me when talking to people about potential work and really helped me figure out what I was interested in.

How did you get started at FYA?

After leaving Warner Bros, I had no real plan except to talk to as many different people as possible about the area of social impact. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or even what I could do in this space! I spent a few months having lots of coffees with people just to chat. What amazed me was how willing everyone was to help and introduce you to more people (over more coffee!). And as luck would have it, one of those people was Jan, our CEO. She had a vacant program director role and I jumped right in.

Favourite part of your job?

Design workshops and planning sessions. I get to sit with lots of creative and talented people in the room talking about new ideas and planning potential new products and ways of working.

Least favourite part of your job?

The time it takes to see some of your plans get approved and into action.  You want to see if these things will work and the waiting isn’t great for someone as impatient as me.

Is your career going to plan?

The longer I have worked, the more I realise plans are fluid things. When I was at Warner Bros my plan was to keep climbing the career ladder. Now my plan is to do work where I am always learning, being challenged, working with many different and talented people in a way that is always aligned to my values. So yes, you could say my career is going to plan!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I have a kid now which feels super grown up. The grown up me is someone he is proud of and who teaches him how to be a good human.

What is the single most valuable skill in your job?

Being able to collaborate with others. I need to be able to listen well, facilitate conversations so everyone can participate and also ensure that other parts of the organisation are kept involved in my work. Luckily I love a good chat.

What’s been your biggest career challenge?

Starting over in a new sector. After so long working in one area I really knew my stuff. Switching into a new world with my job at FYA meant I was starting from scratch in lots of ways and had to quickly gain the knowledge and confidence I needed to do my job properly.

What’s one piece of advice you can offer to someone who wants a job like yours?

You need to have your eyes wide open. Always be learning! Read often and widely, meet and listen to many different people, do an online course, join a group, volunteer, learn a new skill. You will find inspiration from all sorts of unlikely and interesting places.  

What’s one piece of advice you have for someone who has no clue what they want to do?

Don’t think you need to decide on your career now and stick to that path. Just get moving. Try different things, whether it be through work, volunteering, or talking to people about their work. Each step you take leads you on a path and will open you up to something new if you let it.

Tell us something weird about you.

My comfort food is a tube of condensed milk. Try it. You can thank me later.