Q1. What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is turning up at work and being surrounded by my kindred spirits. People who love writing and telling stories. It’s a massive perk that none of them think I’m crazy if I agonise over a misplaced apostrophe or that mixing up “you’re” and “your” is a triggering moment.
I also get a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’m part of a team that is passionate about financial literacy and helping more Australians achieve their financial goals.
Q2. What skills have been the most useful in your work?
The one that moves the needle for me is my conflict resolution skills. Over time, I’ve become better at listening and responding versus assuming and reacting. I’d say I’m still a work-in-progress on this but it’s a great skill to have up your sleeve.
Management skill is another one. When you are trained as a journalist, you’re not necessarily picking up management skills along the way. I did a couple of management courses to help me transition from journalist (where I’m mostly working on my own) to editor (where I spend most of my time in team-based activities).
Finally, I’d throw in podcasting. It’s a running joke that everyone has a podcast these days but there is a big difference between hosting a podcast and running it as a commercial operation.
Q3. Who or what in the media inspires you?
I owe my career to three wonderful people: Ross Greenwood (who was my editor when I was working in London), Narelle Hooper (who was my editor when I was a Rich200 researcher at the now-defunct BRW magazine) and Ali Cromie (who also worked at BRW and took me under her wing when I was just starting out). Without their support when I was just a rookie journalist, I’m not sure where I would be today.
There are many Australian media personalities that I idolise from afar. Too many to mention but I follow them all on social media.
Q4. What’s the most useful advice you’ve had?
It’s sage advice. So good that it’s the title of a famous Disney song: “Let it go”. It’s not exactly news to say that most, if not all, editors are control freaks. COVID gave me a fresh perspective. Some things are just going to be outside your control. Let it go.
Q5. What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the day we understand AI the same way we understand Wi-Fi. The scientists who invented Wi-Fi were told it wasn’t possible for computers to talk to each other without cables and look at where we are. Understanding the real impact of AI and using that knowledge to transform personal finance media is something that is both daunting and exciting to think about.
About Michelle Baltazar
Michelle is an author, finance journalist and editor. She is the executive director - media at Rainmaker Group, which publishes Money Magazine, Industry Moves and Financial Standard (including FS Sustainability).