Under the Hood with ReGen's Jennifer Dowdeswell

Jennifer Dowdeswell

When it comes to communications, Jennifer Dowdeswell believes it is important not to forget that people are at the heart of the work.

This attitude has served her well throughout her career, with Jen taking on challenges nationally and internationally in public relations, strategic communication, and transformational change.

“It’s not about just the numbers and what the corporate key message is about, these are people and it’s their lives,” Jen says.

“You need to manage that in the best possible way you can because while you might not be able to change what’s happening, you can change the experience for someone.”

Temporarily based in Calgary, Canada, Jen supports ReGen Strategic in the position of associate director, community and stakeholder engagement.

Having grown up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Jen showed an early aptitude for communications with English being her best subject in high school. 

This talent prompted her to initially study journalism at university with a minor in public relations. However, after writing a few stories for the university newspaper, she decided journalism wasn’t for her and switched her major to public relations.

When Jen entered her final year of studying, she completed some work experience at a small marketing business, which led her to her first job in public relations.

“Looking back in hindsight, starting out at a small place like that meant that I got a lot of experience very quickly,” she explains.

“At a smaller company, you get to work on all sorts of areas of communications. It’s a great way to start because you get thrown into the deep end. For me, that meant a lot of events organising, writing all sorts of content and lots of proactive media.”

From this initial experience, Jen then moved on to bigger companies, taking on a role at Linc Integrated Marketing and Communication before moving to London.

While Jen had initially planned to stay in London for only six months, she ended up living in the city for five years, holding senior communications roles within the National Health Service (NHS) and London Communications Agency.

While overseas, Jen worked with a range of prominent clients, including the Metropolitan Police, Mace Construction Group, Tesco Woolwich and several exciting regeneration projects in the heart of London.

One of Jen’s favourite things about working in the UK was the value people placed on strategic communication, and how ego-free the leadership style was.

 “People know what they're good at and what they're not. They're not pretending to be good at everything and they're very happy to bring in expertise,” she says.

“I worked with some brilliant people at the top of their field and they had no ego at all. They were very happy to say when there was something they didn't know, or they were being faced with a challenge they weren’t familiar with.”

Jen says the biggest moments of her career have been when she could see the impact of her work on someone else’s life. This particularly came to fruition for her when she was working with a corporation that had funded an education and employment initiative in a low socioeconomic area.

“We had a graduation ceremony for the first round of people who came through this course, it was fantastic to see everyone all dressed up and happy and excited about what they’d achieved,” she says.

“The event itself had been quite complicated to organise with a lot of things going wrong but once we got to the day everything went well and I could see the amazing impact this program was having on a huge group of people. It’s so important to remember what the end result is. I guess in a way, part of our job is to be that filter between the audience and the work going on behind-the-scenes.” 

After five years in the UK, Jen continued to pursue her travel ambitions and spent about a year travelling through Central and South America.

She then returned to Australia where she took on communication positions at Bankwest and then BHP.

When Jen came to CGM Communications (now ReGen Strategic), she was eager to continue making a difference for people through her work. She says it was a former colleague who put her name forward for the position. 

“I wanted to work with good people who were doing things that matter,” she says.

“I remember Daniel talking about the type of clients they didn’t take on and I thought that was quite an interesting conversation that I didn’t often hear when speaking with other agencies or companies.” 

Looking back on her career so far, Jen often draws inspiration from some of the people she has met along the way.

“The more I work, the more I realise that the best leaders and the most inspiring people are just good humans.”

“It’s not necessarily about what level of work they’ve achieved or the position they hold. There’s something about people who are good at what they do, they really care about it, and they work very hard, but they also treat other people well.”


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