Since leaving high school for university at 16, South Australian wunderkind, Alexandra Paxinos, has hit the ground running.
While initially planning to be a journalist, which became a fleeting interest in commerce, Paxinos would eventually find her niche in tourism marketing.
Joining the South Australian Tourism Commission in 2016, Paxinos has since become a results magnet, particularly during the tourism sector’s most challenging period ever.
Not only did she help create SA Tourism’s most visited page, but her marketing work also helped boost SA visitation from key Asia markets by 102 per cent.
Perhaps her biggest contribution has been co-leading SA Tourism’s post-COVID recovery efforts, with a resulting $12 million in economic impact.
Not wanting to put all her energy into a single venture, Paxinos has since branched out into multiple ventures, as a board member for She Creates and Spence Club Inc, as well as co-founder of international education agency, Australian Study Agents. Damn.
Just like finding out the Pope is Catholic, it’s no surprise Paxinos took out a 2021 30 Under 30 award for Marketing.
With early-bird entries set to close this Friday for the 2022 B&T 30 Under 30 awards, we caught Paxinos between her marketing work and making sure her plants were watered to chat about marketing during these bonkers past 12-months, and why it’s so important to tell your own story.
B&T: You won the 30 Under 30 Award for Marketing last year, how has your career changed since winning?
AP: I’ve moved into a different role. Now I work in ‘destination development’. My role there is project manager of product development. I’m working with our tourism industry to help develop new tourism experiences to meet the demands our marketing team drives, to get people to travel around South Australia. My focus is on ‘wellness tourism’ and trying to develop new products in that space as well.
Before COVID, I started an international education business on the side. The intention of that business is to bring international students to study in Australia.
With the impact of COVID we put that on hold and didn’t do much with it. [But] now I’ve started to ramp it up with more talk of international travel starting to resume and students coming back. That’s been a really good experience.
Why is it so important to celebrate young people in this media communications industry?
Because we’ve all been there and done that. We’ve got all this life experience that we’ve learnt on the job or throughout our careers. If you can pass that on to someone else ten-years younger and help save them ten-years of having to learn that the hard way, it’s gonna help propel them and accelerate them.
Young people are our future leaders. They’re gonna be the ones running all the companies in ten or twenty years’ time. It’s about trying to build up and celebrate them, and help them upskill and develop as well.
How do initiatives like B&T’s 30 Under 30 Awards help young people in the industry?
It helps build credibility and validation. Before I applied [to 30 Under 30] I’d noticed a couple of people across both my organisation, and some of the networking groups I’m part of, applying for these awards and winning. I saw the benefits it brought to them. I noticed they would get tapped on the shoulder for different opportunities. I wanted to apply for that reason.
You’re also telling your own story when you apply. When I applied for my job six years ago, I came with a couple years’ experience in a similar role. But I didn’t have all this other extra-curricular experience. These awards provide a platform to actually validate your progress and your career trajectory.
I suffer from imposter syndrome, and quite often I think, ‘Oh no, have I oversold myself? Do they think I’m better than what I really am?’ I started making a list of every time I exceed my KPIs, or I generated a whole bunch of bookings for South Australia. Whatever it might be. That [list] provided the fuel for me to apply for the awards.
Now people across my broader organisation and team have seen my story shared. It also enables me to connect with people outside of my organisation who have reached out and seen the work I’ve been doing. It opens the doors for a lot of new opportunities.
What are you most proud of so far in your career?
It would definitely be the ‘Great State Voucher’ campaign. That was what my [2021 30 Under 30] submission was based on. I went on to manage that project, which generated great results for South Australia.
Our tourism industry is mostly small, family-run businesses. Through COVID and the crisis that came with that, actually being able to see a campaign that’s driving real results for mum and dad businesses that need that support was really rewarding.
What words of wisdom do you have for other under 30s thinking of entering the awards?
It’s really important to be your own best advocate. Nobody else is going to do that for you, because nobody else knows your background, and what you can bring to the table. Put yourself forward and showcase what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved. It’s not about bragging, it’s more about creating a portfolio that helps add to your credibility and your authenticity.
It’s like a credential. You go to uni and get your degree, but if you have these accolades and awards behind you it’s validating what you’ve done and proving your results are actually worth something.
I also wanted to mention – with the B&T 30 Under 30 awards – having the opportunity to connect with different people in the industry you might not otherwise be connected with, and I was lucky enough to be mentored by a couple of them, which has been a really good experience.
However, you MUST be under the age of 30 on the day of the event (Thursday 31 March) to be in the running. So, be sure to include your ID and profile photo with your entry.
Oh, and please save your entry in a Word doc in case so many of you jump onto the awards portal that it crashes. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
The 30 Under 30 Awards, presented by Vevo, are widely regarded as the leading showcase for the brightest young talent working across marketing communications.
Three outstanding individuals will be recognised for their achievements in each of the 10 categories, as well as a Grand Prix award for the most influential individual overall.
You can find all the details on the awards right here and, to avoid disappointment, we highly recommend gathering your crew and securing your spots at the 30 Under 30 Awards night by purchasing early bird tickets (your bank account will thank you later).