Every morning public relations powerhouse Jackie Crossman climbs the steep incline from her house in Sydney’s Potts Point to her office building in a pair of towering high heels.
Crossman has never been one to shy away from a challenge.
Having started her career as a radio cadet, she made a dramatic change into computer programming, where she found herself the only woman – bar the receptionist – in her first job as a coder.
“There weren’t many other women interested in programming at the time,” says Crossman.
Finding she had an affinity with marketing and communications, Crossman switched directions again and got a grounding in public relations with global firm Burson-Marsteller.
She launched her own PR consultancy, Crossman Communications, in 2003 and the company is now worth more than $2 million.
And Crossman certainly lists some high-profile clients.
“We work with Malaysian Airlines,” says Crossman, who is on call 24/7 for the demanding contract to help rebuild trust in the troubled airline.
“There’s no overnight cure, it will take a while to rebuild trust.”
But it’s just another challenge Crossman takes in her stride, as she sits down with SmartCompany to talk about her obsession with monitoring the news, how she keeps fit and finding a work/life balance.
Crossman is up at 6.25am precisely each morning. She makes a cup of tea and sits down with the 6.30am news.
“I’m constantly monitoring the media,” she says, noting that she’s always flicking channels and jumping online to be across every media outlet.
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Fortunately, Crossman only lives a five minute walk from her office, so she can take her time to devour the news.
“I’m very lucky to work five minutes from where I live. It’s a short walk with a high degree of difficult,” says Crossman, referring to the vertical commute.
“The only thing that holds me up is traffic lights,” she laughs.
By about 8.25am Crossman is in the office.
Her day will vary depending on what her clients are up to.
Crossman works with a lot of clients in the stone fruit and nut industries, so her work can be very seasonal and go through exceptionally active periods or slower phases dedicated to planning.
A typical day will see Crossman attend numerous meetings and field plenty of phone calls.
She gets out of the office for lunch, sometimes making the descent back to her house for a quick and healthy meal.
“I like to eat healthy,” says Crossman.
Being the brains behind the long-running Weet-Bix Kids Triathlon and National Vegetarian Week, health is a top priority for Crossman.
She sees her personal trainer twice a week, although it’s not always with enthusiasm.
“He makes me do planks. I hate planks “says Crossman.
Crossman is also very active in her leisure time, regularly playing golf and tennis when she has some time to herself.
But you’ll also find her dining out in Sydney’s best restaurants or cooking up a feast for her friends at home.
“I love to have people over for dinner. I’ll cook a three course meal.”
While Crossman says she’s settled into a good work/life balance in recent years, she says it was a struggle when her daughter was younger.
“When she was little it was very difficult. The hardest thing is balancing everything because you have two jobs when you’re a working parent.”
While Crossman admits the changing nature of the media means she and her team will need to evolve and innovate, the future is pretty simple for Crossman.
“I want to keep working with fantastic clients. For me, I’m just committed to delivering fantastic service and challenging the status quo,” she says.
And after a diverse career with several direction changes, Crossman says she’s finally found her calling with PR.
“I feel absolutely satisfied. I get excited to come to work.”