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1982

Jacinta Reddan

inducted 2021 Business

Some career paths move in a straight line, but that of Jacinta Reddan has taken in politics, media, commerce, communications…and a kiss on the cheek from a Rolling Stone. It’s a path that has been full of “sliding door moments” - where small decisions have lasting impacts - starting with St Ann’s English teacher Sally Hughes urging Jacinta to take up work experience at the Warrnambool Standard. This led to an after-school job at the paper as a 15 year old and an entrée to the world of media. Ms Hughes was an early inspiration to Jacinta and nurtured her love of writing and a curiosity about the world – two ideal qualities for journalism.

The Standard went on to offer Jacinta a cadetship after Year 12, but Jacinta turned it down in favour of enrolling at a university in Melbourne. Unfortunately, soon after enrolling, Jacinta found she could not afford to study in Melbourne, so asked the Standard if the prized cadetship was still on offer – it was. The door slid open again and Jacinta stepped onto the first rung of a highly successful career in communications both in Australia and overseas.

After three years at the Standard, Jacinta moved to Melbourne where she worked alongside some of Australia’s best journalists for what is now the Herald Sun, covering courts and crime. Jacinta found the criminal justice system fascinating and urges every student to spend a day in a courtroom to see how quickly a life can change, regardless of who we are.

Such strong journalism experience opened the door to a job in politics, with Jacinta joining the Victorian Government Media Unit under Joan Kirner, despite being only in her early 20s. The newsroom beckoned, however, so Jacinta made a decision to fly to London and find work on Fleet St, then the mecca for print journalists the world over. On the way, she stopped over in Hong Kong to visit some old colleagues …and life took a different trajectory.

“I really fell in love with the place,” she says. “I had some extraordinary experiences and stayed.”

Jacinta started working in Hong Kong with the likes of Cathay Pacific, Marriott Hotels and major Asia conglomerates while working at a PR agency. Jacinta then landed what could be described as a dream job with Tourism Australia in Hong Kong, promoting Australia across Asia and particularly to the Chinese market in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. But promoting her home country stirred pangs of homesickness, so – after almost 10 years away - Jacinta returned to Australia. For the next seven years she worked in a variety of senior communication roles, including with the Victorian Government Media Unit under Premier Steve Bracks, Tourism Victoria, and Aged and Community Services Australia. The pull of Hong Kong, however, remained strong.

In 2007, Jacinta returned to Hong Kong and had to adjust to becoming the single parent of her two young children early on her second tour. Despite the challenges, she continued a successful corporate career, including being appointed Deputy Manager Director of global PR company Golin Harris Hong Kong, and later, Director of Communications for insurance giant, Prudential, Asia. Her career took her frequently across Asia and to London and New York.

Today, Jacinta is a permanent resident of Hong Kong and at the top of her game as CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong – a position she has held for the last four years. She recently stepped down to pursue her own business, with her first client being one of the world’s largest law firms. She also serves on the advisory board of a Perth-based cybersecurity company.

During her time at AustCham, Jacinta guided a complete transformation of what is Australia’s largest international chamber of commerce, turning around its budget and a falling membership and created a global voice for all expat Australians.

All of Jacinta’s skills have come together as she engages with the highest level of government and corporate leaders on critical issues around policy, government relations, trade and major investment and geopolitics.

And what about the Rolling Stones?

Prudential insurance, as it happens, sponsored a Rolling Stones tour of the Asia Pacific and Jacinta got to meet the band – where Keith Richards gave her a kiss on her cheek.

It was, she jokes, the highlight of what has been a truly dynamic career.

Sliding door moments

Jacinta Reddan

Inducted 2021