Rosemary Halablian on always following her gut

“I’d rather have done something and have regret than be overcome with fear and doubt and not do it at all.”

Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While it might look like smooth sailing, there’s no doubt been a heck of a lot of hard work involved in getting there.

So what lessons have been learned and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?

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welcome to How I Got Herewhere we talk to people who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week we speak to Rosemary Halablian, Marketing Communications Coordinator at Sydney-based independent jewelery practice, SARAH & SEBASTIAN. Working across content production, collaborations, and communications, Rosemary’s job involves juggling scheduling, admin, creative projects, and all the other elements involved with maintaining and conveying a business’ brand.

Her career journey has been far from straightforward and often involved throwing herself into something to see if it was right. Through various internships and gut-instinct decisions, she’s learned a wide range of skills that make her ready for whatever creative curveballs come her way. Here’s what she’s learned along the way.

What do you do and what’s your official job title?

My official job title is Marketing Communications Coordinator at SARAH & SEBASTIAN. This involves everything from marketing, securing press, facilitating loans and collaborations to event planning, setting influencer strategies, content scheduling and production, copywriting and much more.

Take us back to when you were first starting out. Did you study to get into your chosen field, or did you start out with an internship/entry-level role and climb the ladder? Tell us the story.

I’ve always had a creative itch, but never really understood how to channel it (sometimes, I still don’t). My favorite subject at school was Visual Art — aside from English, which I loved equally, but could never admit. When I was younger I decided fashion was it, but I wasn’t convinced that completing a fashion degree would fulfill me creatively and decided to complete a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication.

At the time, I felt this would expose me to a general understanding of design, and through this, I could determine where my passion really lay. It’s safe to say, while I learn a lot, it didn’t really do that. Instead, it helped me recognize that I didn’t want to pursue anything in particular but that I wouldn’t really know what I was truly passionate about until I did.

As a way to indulge my interest in fashion, during my studies, I interned at various fashion publications including OK! and COSMOPOLITAN and even worked as a Fashion Assistant for Myer and Westfield Magazine during university breaks. Towards the end of my degree, as if things weren’t intense enough, I was working and studying full-time; I have always been someone who is uncomfortable with too much free time.

After graduating I worked as a freelance designer for a few months, before realizing I was craving stability — my inner Capricorn rejoiced at the realisation. To get a ‘foot in the door’, I started working at Dinosaur Designs, a brand that I felt encompassed some of my interests, art and design. At first, I worked as a Wholesale Assistant for a few months before there was an opening for Marketing Assistant. I applied instantly, recognizing the opportunity I was being presented by the universe.

After a few years as a Marketing Assistant, where I learned and grew immensely, I found I was in need of more of a challenge. Again, the universe presented an opportunity, when a friend forwarded me the advertisement for Marketing Communications Coordinator at SARAH & SEBASTIAN — and the rest is history.

What challenges/hurdles have you faced getting to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular?

As a child of immigrants, there was pressure to know what you wanted to do, or at least to pick something and stick with it. As a way to combat that pressure, because I wasn’t always sure, I knew that just trying or doing anything to get me close would help — giving me a sense of purpose while also relieving myself of that pressure. Never letting doubt creep in, I’ve found my ability to be impulsive has served me well. I’d rather have done something and have regret than be overcome with fear and doubt and not do it at all.

Finding my voice in a corporate setting took me a while. It can sometimes still be challenging to balance creativity and career, especially when the world was forced to reset values ​​during the COVID-19 lockdowns, impacting interaction and communication.

Communication is of the utmost importance in a role like mine, where I’m faced with daily interactions and conversations with multiple people in multiple disciplines. A large part of my job requires me to be social, approachable, and articulate (both verbally and in writing). It’s important to be able to understand people, but to also present myself as understandable — pleasantries are important, but people respond to personality. I’ve had to work on finding the balance between being myself and my ability and skill to communicate effectively, especially as a woman, without feeling accountable for offending others with who I am.

What do you want people to know about your industry/your role?

There’s a lot of admin, planning and scheduling, but even so, no amount of planning can prepare you for the creative curveballs. Working in a creative role and industry means sometimes I must work reactively, the real challenge is managing this.

Working as part of an in-house branding team often requires me to work collaboratively — sometimes this means doing a bit of everything. An integral aspect of my role is being able to work with other people to achieve the same goal; sharing the same passion for accomplishment and success.

Whilst it’s important to be passionate about what you do, we’re all living under the same pressures of capitalism and it’s equally important to secure the bag. Establish balance and find the middle ground between doing what keeps your heart and stomach full. Some days you live for what you do and some, you do it to live.

What’s the best part about your role?

I enjoy being able to observe and be a part of the creative process — from inspiration, concept, design, photoshoot, content, marketing, etc. I’m someone who values ​​information and works better when I understand something in its entirety.

Working for the right company and people is important to me, and something I value at my current job. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to work for people and a brand who are passionate about the environment and ocean conservation — having personal values ​​that align really motivates me and makes me proud.

What would surprise people about your role?

It’s not all long lunches, meetings, and events. I spend most days at my desk behind my screen. So much hard and strategic work goes into what translates to Instagram moments of what you may understand a job in communications to be. Behind the scenes is more than just raw photos at a photo shoot, it’s hours, months and years of planning, scheduling, marketing and writing. While the Instagram moments are worth it, being hyper-organized is an essential skill.

What skills have served you well in your industry?

Throwing myself into the deep end and immersing myself in part of the brand and business that don’t necessarily have a direct benefit to my role has given me the opportunity to rise to many challenges. Don’t assume the only worthwhile value comes from people who are directly in line with what you want or see for yourself.

I, like many other first-generation Australians, had resilience instilled in me from a very young age. Being raised in a household where my parents and grandparents left their homes due to genocide and civil war to come to Australia, I’ve always felt a profound sense of gratitude and purpose — that I had to make the most of the abundance of opportunities.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a role like yours one day?

Working in a creative industry is like any other, you must work your way from the bottom — steam that dress, get that coffee, take notes, etc. – you are not above any job. Find the gaps and fill them, be useful and never be afraid to ask questions — attitude and willingness go a long way, and a strong work ethic never goes unnoticed.

The smallest of tasks have helped me learn where I can add value and grow to feel comfortable communicating my opinions. Never leading me astray, I’ve always trusted my gut and followed my instincts.

Over the years I’ve learned to not turn every single passion into a side hustle; not all interests need to be monetised. While it may seem like every opportunity is THE opportunity, pay attention and always trust your gut. No one knows what’s best for you better than you.

What about a practical tip?

Build a strong network. Not all people in creative industries are as mean as you imagine or think. Having the right people around you, whether you work with them directly or within the same industry, makes a huge difference in your motivation and ultimately your success.

As well as networking in real life, there is added value in using digital tools to connect. LinkedIn isn’t just for businesses and boomers. Build an online presence, follow people and brands, like and comment on posts, and turn internet friends into real-life ones.


Read the rest of the How I Got Here series here

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