Getting the message across and keeping the community informed. That's how Donna Johnston sees her role as Byron Council's newly-appointed media communications officer.
Settling into her surroundings at the council's Mullumbimby HQ, Donna, the mother of three girls 9, 11 and 13, said her job was about 'keeping a two-way interface' between the council and residents.
“It's to ensure the community receives up-to-date information on key council initiatives and decisions,” she said.
Donna comes to the council with a degree in journalism from Queensland University and after a number of years in marketing, including the previous 12 months as marketing manager at Lismore Shopping Square.
She said she was 'immersing herself' in council issues and getting to know fellow workers. “This is such a supportive team and there is such a wealth of knowledge here,” she said.
“They are a really hard-working bunch and really happy to share any information.”
Donna, the first media communications officer appointed by the council, said she was certainly looking forward to the challenges involved. And meeting challenges is something she is used to.
From 2004, she spent two years in a jungle in Ghana in west Africa where her gold mining industry executive husband was involved in setting up a new mine and where she had to home-school her daughters - and protect them against malaria.
Donna said Ghana was a poor country where, despite the fact they had so little, the people 'just beamed'. “They are just so happy and so grateful for what they do have,” she said.
Before settling down at Knockrow, the family spent 12 months in Lima, Peru, where Donna's husband was involved in another gold mining project.
Immersing herself in the local culture, she said the family's time in Peru was 'fantastic'. “South America is so underestimated in regards to tourism,” she said.
“The people are very embracing - they are just wonderful. I would certainly go back again.”
That's for the future. Right now, Donna's number one aim is getting Byron Council's message across to the community.
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