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Meet the Mentor: Amanda Williams, Founder Yellowpanda PR + Digital

Amanda Williams Yellowpanda

Amanda Williams Yellowpanda

A born entrepreneur, Amanda is driven to succeed by a desire to ensure she can always be proud of herself. Interesting then that her work is all about making others look good and promoting and building their talents.

You cut your teeth doing PR for politicians in Canberra. What was the hardest part of that job?

Politics is certainly a cut-throat industry and, typically, there isn’t as much support for staff as you’ll find in other workplaces. Politics isn’t just a job, it’s a beast!

The concept of Monday to Friday, from 9-5 doesn’t exist, but the long hours – early mornings and late nights and travelling between the Gold Coast and Canberra for almost half of the year – is something that prepared me well for the demands of running my own business. 

It’s a bustling environment full of some of the most influential and powerful people in our country, and the lessons I learnt and the connections I have formed have been extremely valuable to my business today.

What was the catalyst for you starting your own agency?

The chance to create something of my own, where I have total control over the work I do and who I work with was really appealing to me. There were too many limitations in terms of how creative and risky I could be in conservative politics. 

By moving away from politics, I was able to unleash my creative side and work with people who I typically find to be both inspiring and deserving of being put on a pedestal.

When did you get introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship?

I was born into a family that owned and operated small businesses within construction, development, childcare and tourism. Growing up, my family had a holiday park on the Tweed River, and I would have been around 9-years-old when I first became involved in assisting in the reception office.

Some kids grow up playing with dolls or video games but I was more interested in sitting at the adult table and learning about business and the world. I’ve always had that hard-working, go getter personality that you see in entrepreneurs. I always want to learn new things and challenge myself. 

Who has helped you most on your business journey? What did they teach you?

The people who have helped me get to where I am the most, haven’t necessarily been the people who supported me, but more so the people who have challenged me, the ones who said I couldn’t do something. I have an incredible drive to prove others wrong, and the person I want to be the most proud of me is me, because I have to live with myself. 

What do you enjoy most about the PR world?

Everyday is different. There’s always something new to learn and I love staying across the latest industry trends. Being able to be in a forward facing position, where I can be out there meeting with clients and the media is also a part of the job I love.

How did your business evolve in 2020?

In 2020 we expanded our services, going above and beyond what you’d consider your traditional ‘public relations’ services. When the lockdown first hit we really hit hard, and took an active approach to make sure we were there to help our clients in any way possible. 

We’ve been able to witness a lot of growth and success doing this and it’s something we’ll continue to do in the year ahead. 

How have your clients’ needs evolved in response to COVID?

During Covid it became even more important to have a visible and active online presence – one that allowed people to feel as if they knew you, even if they couldn’t meet you in person. 

Leadership marketing and opening doors for clients has always been a big part of what I do, but this became even more important for my clients during Covid.

What advice would you give someone looking to build brand awareness quickly?

My first tip would be to know that really boosting your profile takes time. There are steps you have to go through in order to increase your reach – you can’t hit the hard platforms from the start. In saying that, it’s never too late to start. You need to make sure your online profile is up to scratch, and that it supports the brand you want to portray because first impressions count online.

What has been your favourite campaign to work on so far?

The work that I do in the leadership space is what really fires me up. To think I can have a role in creating the next generation of authentic, relatable business leaders who inspire the next generation really excites me.

What made you decide to become a Rare Birds Mentor?

I’ve always loved being able to help others and share my knowledge. In fact, if I was set for life, I would probably still mentor as much as possible because I enjoy it so much.

I’ve definitely accumulated a variety of skills and insights into all kinds of areas of business during my career so I knew that the chance to use my experiences and learnings to help others would be really beneficial, and also fulfilling for myself.