Interview with Jessica Conway, Media Liaison
Jessica has always been a serious animal lover and welfare advocate, with pets playing a significant part in her upbringing. She initially started her career in journalism, gaining experience in print, online and radio platforms. However, with her passion for animals, she put her media skills to good use and now works with RCSPCA New South Wales as a Media Liaison Officer.
Jessica is responsible for fielding all press enquiries and is dedicated to spreading messages about the RSPCA’s shelters, education and veterinary issues. The aim of these messages is to help defend the dignity of animals, promote an end to animal cruelty and ultimately try to make a difference to the lives of many animals across New South Wales.
Today, Jessica has a three year old RSPCA cat called Jeremy, which she shares with her partner in Sydney after moving from Canberra last year. Open Colleges was fortunate enough to grab Jessica in between media meetings to tell us what it’s like working in the animal welfare industry.
“Our jobs at the RSPCA are all about giving animals better lives, but I think they also better our lives too.”
1 What advice would you offer students looking to get into the animal care industry, specifically with the RSPCA?
There is a role for every type of skill-set in the RSPCA. The first step is to decide what you want to do, from driving ambulances, being an animal attendant, working in the admin side of things, being a vet or veterinary nurse, to being a foster carer or a volunteer coordinator. You should then get in touch with the RSPCA near you. You could volunteer to see what this amazing charity is all about.
2 How has the animal care industry changed over the years?
I believe social media has played a key role in putting shelter animals on people’s radars and getting over the old stigma that they were dirty, unwanted dogs and cats. With social media, people can see that they are beautiful, amazing and adorable animals in need of a loving home.
3 Can you tell us about your role working with the RSPCA?
My role within the RSPCA involves getting our cause, along with our message, out to a much wider audience via the media. This means that I need to see our work the way journalists need to see theirs; to appeal to our audiences.
4 What has been the most challenging part of your job and how did you overcome it?
The RSPCA is a huge organisation, with many different elements. When I started working there, I initially felt lost and overwhelmed. There are our inspectors who investigate cases of animal cruelty, the legal team who prosecute, the education department who go to schools and educate the wider community about animal welfare, the fundraising teams, events teams, veterinary staff… the list goes on! My strategy was to make a list of “go-to” people who could tell me who’s who in the zoo.
5 What's your favourite thing about working with animals?
Animals make me happy. I’m happy every time I’m around them. Not many people can say that about their workplace and so I feel incredibly lucky. Our jobs at the RSPCA are all about giving animals better lives, but I think they also better our lives too.
See the live article here.