Home' Border Enterprise : Spring Summer 2010-2011 Contents enterprise
Vol 3. Summer/Autumn
TWO pieces of career advice stand
out to Border Mail deputy editor Di
Thomas in the more than 25 years
since she left school.
"One was my mother telling me
that if I was really serious about wanting to
be a journalist, I should learn to type and take
shorthand,'' she said.
"That way, if the journalism plan fell through,
she surmised, I would still have worthwhile
secretarial skills that could be utilised elsewhere.
"I went to secretarial college full time
following my HSC and graduated with flying
colours; shorthand, typing and prize-winning
bookkeeping skills on board.
"The second piece of advice came from the
former cadet trainer at the Sydney Morning
Herald when I asked what I should do when
I received a job offer on a country NSW
newspaper; at the same time I was waiting
to see if I would get through the first stage of
applications for a cadetship in Sydney.
"He told me I should take the job. After all, plenty
of others would jump at the same opportunity and
return to the city later on, he argued."
She took his advice, completed a cadetship
in Orange at the Central Western Daily and in
the process acquired a partner who would later
become her husband, but also a new passion for
living in the country.
"It wasn't until I began work as a journalist that
I moved to gain further academic qualifications
via a Bachelor of Arts completed externally at
the University of New England, with majors in
journalism and English literature,'' she said
"I found that I really liked studying externally
and a few years ago, after a substantial period
of absence from study, I embarked again on
another degree. This time I'm completing a
Diploma of Law via the Legal Practitioners
Admission Board and Sydney University."
From Orange, she returned to Sydney and a
position as a reporter/sub-editor with the farming
newspaper, The Land.
"What I expected would be a stay of one or
two years extended to 8½ years and upon my
departure I was the newspaper's chief sub-
editor,'' she said
"I spent 12 months as a production editor
with a Sydney-based legal publisher, before
newspapers beckoned once more and I returned
to The Land, this time for what I planned would
be a short stint as production editor and an
opportunity to move back to full-time writing
either at a regional or metropolitan title."
She said when an opportunity came up in the
city of her husband's birth, Albury, it seemed too
good to be true.
"So in 1998, I found myself with a new job at
The Border Mail, editing the former weekly title,
The Twin Cities Post and the daily's Country Mail
liftout,'' she said
"From there came positions as a news reporter
and chief-of-staff with the daily paper, before I
was appointed as deputy editor of The Border
Mail in August 2008.''
She said she didn't believe there had been any
particular issue with being a woman in the media
"From my earliest days in a part-time job in a
flying school in Sydney I had been used to working
in a predominantly male workforce,'' she said
"Journalism in more recent years has
probably tended towards an increasingly female
dominance, although for the most part the
workforce is pretty balanced.
"What I find most rewarding is working within
a newsroom with staff representing a wide range
of views; the wider the better, whether it's age,
gender or different social backgrounds.
"That way I believe we better reflect and grow
our readership if we are able to offer different
opinions and ideas."
Deputy editor at
The Border Mail
THE transition to real estate and
owning her own business seemed
like a natural step for Ray White
Albury principal Sharon Jacka.
Mrs Jacka had spent the
majority of her working life in management
positions including overseeing caravan parks,
hotels and more recently a heating and
cooling business in Albury.
The move also meant she was following
in the footsteps of her late father who was a
stock and station agent and worked in real
"In 2003 the opportunity to work in sales
for Ray White came up, working with Peter
Hamilton,'' she said.
"This provided great experience working
under Peter so when the opportunity came up
to buy the business in 2007 I jumped at it.''
And Mrs Jacka has not looked back since,
having proudly accepted numerous awards
within the industry.
She is now the principal of the Albury,
Howlong and Corowa branches of Ray
"I think as a business person you have to
believe in yourself,'' she said.
"And as a woman in business you have
to back yourself and believe that you can
succeed, that is something I would say about
life in general.
"I actually feel blessed that I am a female in
"If you can provide a service to people and
work with honesty and integrity, then that
goes a long way.''
Mrs Jacka said she prided herself in always
getting the job done.
"I don't leave any job half done.''
Mrs Jacka believes being the parent
of two children who are now adults and
working within her business had helped her
"I think the skill of being a parent also
makes you more organised,'' she said.
"I am now a grandmother and family time
is so precious, so I make sure that I balance
family and work time.''
Principal at Ray White
Albury, Howlong and Cor owa
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