B&T 30 Under 30 Finalist Rosemary Ball: From Bed Bound To Landing Dream Job

B&T 30 Under 30 Finalist Rosemary Ball: From Bed Bound To Landing Dream Job

When The Shannon Company’s Rosemary Ball saw her name on the shortlist of the PR category for B&T’s 30 under 30 awards last year, it was a “surreal” moment.

There was a time when having a career, much less being shortlisted for an award, was a distant dream for Ball.

At the age of just 16, she was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease – Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

“I had limited movement, could not communicate, was in constant pain, had limited cognitive function, and was reliant on artificial feeding,” she told B&T.

Rosemary Ball 2013

“I was the girl in the bubble who was unable to go outside for many years”.

Thankfully a medical breakthrough – combined with lots of rehabilitation and determination – meant she was able to return to the “real world”.

“I often say to people that I basically went to sleep at the age of 16 and woke up at 22.”

Whilst starting a career at 22 wasn’t easy, Ball wasn’t going to let anything else get in the way of achieving her dreams.

“I was determined to work in media,” she said.

Rosemary with her newspaper cuttings

She enrolled in a journalism course at Griffith University and began sending stories into the local paper – the Gold Coast Bulletin – every week. Quickly recognising her obvious talent and determination, the Gold Coast Bulletin offered her a cadetship which she completed alongside her studies.

“I was working full time and studying full time for a few years”.

After becoming a fully fledged journalist, Ball turned her ambitions to PR, taking up a job at Promedia Public Relations before eventually joining Dentsu Creative PR.

It was at Dentsu, that her boss encouraged her to apply for the B&T 30 under 30 awards.

“My boss at the time approached me and said ‘I think this is something you should look at and we’d love to support you doing it’. At the time, I was like ‘I don’t see myself like that’”.

Thankfully she entered, and was later shortlisted in her category. Whilst she didn’t win the award, it did help her catch the eye of her now-employer The Shannon Company.

“Within months I was earmarked by a number of big agencies from corporates to places like The Shannon Company. One thing led to another and in January of this year I accepted the role of business director with the intention of opening a Canberra office.

The Shannon Company is a specialist behaviour change communications organisation which combines academic learning and behavioural understanding with an ‘emotional connection’ to create ‘inspired change’.

Focused on only taking on projects that create societal good, The Shannon Company works with the state and federal government and private and non-for profit bodies on issues such as water conservation, mental health and renewable energy.

The role is a “perfect match,” Ball says.

“It doesn’t feel like a job because it just fits in so well with my morals and values. I feel like I’m contributing to changing the world. How good is it to be a publicist and to be able to say that!”

She recommends others enter the awards because “so much can happen from just being on that list”.

After such a difficult start to her working life, what is Ball’s advice for others who might be struggling to find meaning in their job?

“I think at the end of the day, everyone has a story. It’s just a matter of what you do with it. Do you sit in the corner and cry? Or do you think, okay, what can I learn from this experience? How can I contribute and make life better for other people?”

Buy your tickets now for the exclusive B&T 30 Under 30 Awards ceremony which will be taking place on Thursday 14 March at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. You can get your early-bird tickets to the biggest party in the industry HERE.

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