The Mum Network

Inspired By: Ro Markson


Who are you inspired by? There are so many people who inspire us, we admire them for so many reasons. In Australia, we don’t hero those around us as much as we should. If you visit America, there’s very much a culture of support and celebrating the success of your friends and family (ask any taxi driver and they’ll proudly tell you their kids exam results) but we don’t seem to do that as much here. Each week The Mum Network are profiling one person we’re inspired by. You may have heard of some of those profiled and you may learn something about others but we hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us.

 The best way to describe Ro is an entrepreneur.    Ro built her own PR firm, Mark Communications and sold it to a multi-national company.   She recently launched a new business, AC Agency, an Integrated Communications firm and if you mention her to anyone working in media, they know her. Ro is a journalist’s best friend, if they need a story, she’s got one for them. She’s one of those people who has never shied away from hard work and has earned every piece of her success.A night owl who can be reached by email or phone at 1am in the morning,  she’s an incredibly modest person, not a self promoter and above all else, a loyal friend. A phenomenal cook who can make my carnivore husband enjoy vegan food, Ro’s the proud mother of two incredibly successful daughters and we asked her a few Inspired By questions.

What’s your greatest achievement? 

Oh definitely my two amazing daughters who inspire me each and every day.  They have taught me so much, and I continue to learn life lessons from them.  I so admire their approach to life, their integrity, their ethics, their loyalty and their initiative.  They motivate me, keep me sane in this crazy world and inspire me to be the best person I can be.

What is your definition of success?

 Success is finding true happiness within yourself.  Success is about setting goals and actually achieving them. It’s about fulfilling your potential as a human being.  It’s not about making a truckload of money although that is how society tends to measure success.  I judge success on holistic basis.  Success for me is about achieving in all areas in life, whether it’s in business or relationships and Its being able to live a contented life which enables one to flourish as an individual.  That is true success.

What’s been the biggest change to the PR industry over the last 10 years?

 The PR industry has changed immeasurably in the last ten years.  Media has evolved and this has necessitated the PR industry to adapt.  We have a fragmented media audience, we now deal with citizen journalists (bloggers) alongside traditional media, traditional media has gone online, deadlines have changed and the process of influencing influencers is now far more sophisticated.  It’s now about being strategic rather than tactical, and being really smart about representing brands both to consumers and media outlets.

What’s the most difficult part of owning and running your own company? 

The most difficult part by far is taking responsibility for your employees and understanding that every decision you make impacts on them in a real way.  The most important thing in people’s lives is their job.  Their job dictates where they live, their status the partners they attract, the food they eat and the way they view themselves as individuals.  Running your own business can be a lonely endeavour too and the financial implications and responsibilities can weigh heavily.  I am very fortunate in my new company to have a business partner who is not only passionate energetic and enthusiastic, but he is enormously supportive and provides me invaluable advice on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.

What makes a good entrepreneur? 

Vision, imagination, a willingness to take a risk and put yourself out there.  It not only about having a good idea, but having the conviction and courage to fight hard to get the idea to the next level, and the next!

Who inspires you and why? 

I am inspired by so many people….yes by the Richard Branson’s and Steve Jobs’ of the world, but mostly by those ordinary people who overcome enormous setbacks to achieve.  By those mums who have the strength to carry on after their children have been maimed or killed, by those amazing paralympians who overcome physical adversity and whose sheer  mind-strength propels them to achieving great things and those ordinary everyday people who live in abject poverty in places like Africa, who are still kind, caring and compassionate to others.

As a female CEO, do you think sexism in the workplace still exists or are women now on an equal playing field?  

Women in the workforce today face a paradoxical situation.  On the one hand, we have a female Prime Minister, female CEOs like Gail Kelly and a female Governor General, however, the very fact that women are generally the primary carers in their families, produce the children in the first place with all the physical limitations that brings, I would have to say that females need to work harder, try harder and be better to prove themselves in the workplace.  It’s also very difficult to climb the career ladder after the ‘pregnant pause’, maintain a professional demeanour when you have a sick child at home needing attention whilst you are needing to be fully attentive at work. Women also are prone to the gluey chair syndrome. So does sexism exist i.e., do males treat women differently in the workplace?   I would have to say in some cases yes.

If you weren’t working in Public Relations, what would you do? 

I love creating new things and dreaming of new initiatives.  I would probably be embroiled in something I could get intensely passionate about.

What advice would you give to women trying to build a business and raise a family? 

Both building a business and raising a family are time consuming and what tends to happen is that you tend to lose the ‘me’ in all the daily struggle.  My advice is never to give up on yourself, build time in the diary for yourself, find a way to laugh and dance.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself at 21 years old? 

Think about the long term ramifications of decisions you make don’t just think in the now and the near future.

If you were on an island, what 5 things would you take? 

My girls, a pile of great books, a yoga mat (I need to get back to it) and my Blackberry

What’s your favourite meal to cook? 

I love to cook, I love to create with food and I love to cook a variety of things.  I don’t have a favourite meal as it depends who I am cooking for.  I love using the freshest ingredients and often don’t know what I am cooking until I am in the greengrocery.  Favourite things to cook for others include Toberone chocolate mousse, an array of colourful salads (my speciality) and soups with a  twist like hot beetroot and pomegranate or peas and pear.

What’s your idea of an ideal Saturday night?

A gorgeous dinner with interesting, stimulating discussion.

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