Under the Hood with ReGen's Yvette Ogilvie

Yvette Ogivlie

Moving to New York in November 2019 may seem like bad timing for some, but it was a challenge Yvette Ogilvie was well suited to overcome.

She now brings her indomitable spirit and good humour to her role as a strategic communications consultant at ReGen Strategic.

Growing up, Yvette spent her early childhood in the Perth Hills surrounded by a menagerie of animals that included dogs, cats, chickens, sheep, goats, a pony and even peacocks, before moving to Mount Lawley when she was eight after her parents divorced.

She describes those early days as being characterised by the freedom to make her own choices.

“You could describe my mum and particularly my dad as free-range parents,” she says.

“It was good because we were taught to set our own boundaries and often I’d think, ‘oh I could do this, but do I actually want to?’, whereas sometimes I think if you’re told not to do something, it makes you want to do it even more.”

Yvette credits this early freedom with giving her the confidence to try new things, which is something she has needed throughout the many turns her life has taken.

Driven by her love of finance, Yvette initially set out to study economics at university, but an introductory course she took in marketing soon saw her change tack. 

Despite describing herself as a natural introvert, Yvette worked in door-to-door sales to fund her way through her university years.

“I was actually really shy in school, but doing door-to-door sales really built my confidence because it forced me out of my comfort zone,” she says.

A six-month stint at Concordia University in Irvine California, and an internship in Vietnam ignited a passion for travel and a desire to live abroad.

Graduating from Curtin University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in marketing, Yvette travelled to Cambodia for a month and then on to start her working life in New York, just as the first cases of coronavirus were being reported out of China, albeit in small stories in the global sections of western newspapers.

“I remember when I heard about COVID and I just knew that as soon as it got to New York it was going to go everywhere because it’s such a condensed place,” she says.

“The job I had secured fell through and I started running out of money, so I knew it was time to come home.

“By then, nobody was flying and on my final day in New York, I remember being in a public bathroom and overhearing two girls talking about being terrified of catching COVID.

“At the time I thought they should calm down as there were only two reported cases in New York, little did I know, I would become one of the first Western Australians to have it.”

What followed was a period of intense isolation as Yvette quarantined alone on her father’s property in Wattle Grove, the same place that had been the setting for those early years of freedom.

“I would say that was one of the darkest moments in my life so far,” she recalls.

“I had come back and seen everyone, only to find out that I had this illness and that was the early days of COVID, so there was no vaccine and no medication to take, and people had panic-bought all the Panadol. It was all over the news and I just thought ‘this is a deadly disease and I’ve possibly killed one of my friends by passing it on to them’, and that was really hard to face.

“Then I got really sick and I just thought, ‘I’m going to die, I’m going to die alone’. Then when I recovered, people were too scared to see me at first, and I was scared to hug anyone in case I still had it because we didn’t know back then how long you were contagious for. Even some doctors wouldn’t see me in person three months after having it.”

The stigma of COVID was so great in WA at that point, that Yvette stopped telling people she’d had it. 

“It was such an isolating time, even coming out of quarantine was isolating because when I went in the whole world was open and everyone I knew was going out partying, but by the time I came out, everything was shut down and it was a big shock,” she says.

With her travel plans on hold for the foreseeable future, Yvette took up a Graduate Diploma of Broadcasting at Edith Cowan University and embarked on a career in journalism.

Fuelled by her early love of economics and finance, Yvette initially became a markets reporter, then a resources journalist.

“It was a natural fit for me,” she says.

“I was really good at economics in school and I love finance. Originally, I was covering ASX-listed companies, but most of them were resources focused, so it made sense to me to expand into resources journalism.

“I worked with some really talented journalists who had been doing the job for a long time and knew a lot about the industry.”

But for Yvette, the call to learn something new and try a new challenge soon took over, coupled with a desire to work towards more equitable workplaces.

“As a woman in resources, it can be really challenging, and sometimes demoralising,” she says.

“Interviewing man after man after man, I could see how they could connect with each other so easily and build the relationships they needed to secure business and to get ahead, but it’s still so much harder for women.

“I’ve been in press conferences where a very large ASX-listed company was asked why they had no women on their board and their answer was that they believed in hiring experienced people, but how are women supposed to get experience if no one gives them a chance?

“Gender equality is really important to me, and that was why it was so exciting to come to ReGen, because of its focus on ESG and sustainability.”

Now, as she looks towards the future, Yvette is eager to continue working on projects that align with her values and give her the freedom to take on and overcome new life challenges.


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