Darrel Features Cate in Introduction Series


About Darrel Introduces...

I meet lots of professionals in my line of work, many of whom I've gotten to know, like and trust personally. 'Darrel Introduces' is simply my way of introducing just a handful of these talented individuals to my wider digital community. Why? Because I think you'd benefit from knowing, liking and trusting them, too.

Your comments and questions for the professionals introduced are warmly welcomed.


Darrel Introduces... Cate Rocchi

I was introduced to Cate by Mr Patrick Horneman (cheers again, Patrick!). Cate and I met for a chat over coffee, and we've been friends ever since. I can't recommend her work highly enough, friends - what Cate doesn't know about writing for media campaigns, etc. probably isn't worth knowing!

Over to you, Cate...

Cate, please introduce yourself and what you do

Do you know your best story? Because if your company is only doing one media campaign for 2016, then best to pitch the most interesting one… and I may be able to help identify that.

Hi, I am a writer with international media experience; a genuinely collaborative working style; and am keen to provide global reporters with information and stories about Australian companies, organisations and people. I operate with integrity at all times.

Where were you born?

Subiaco, Perth WA.

What do / did your parents do?

My mother, Elizabeth was a high-level PA / secretary (most notably for more than a decade to former Liberal Premier Richard Court). My father Stuart was a champion footballer (country league) and long-time farmer, running sheep on a station in Shark Bay (Peron), then sheep and grain at Eneabba, and cattle in Guilderton and Yanchep.

How has your upbringing shaped you professionally?

I lived on farms, so often you had to think creatively and make do with what you had. Hard work was also the key to success in the bush. I also don't take anything for granted and like to think I treat everyone I meet the same (from a waitress to a company director), and am always good mannered and as generous as I can be with time and charity. That is a core value of rural WA, you help those in need. There was no TV on the station, so we had to rely on our imagination, books and the odd children's radio program. I do think that shaped me into a resourceful, creative adult.

Also, in the bush, there is always an element of risk. Snakes, accidents, vehicles that break down, adventures, exploring. I think entrepreneurs need to take calculated risks and, as a child, I had the opportunity to learn from taking risks, whereas as many city kids were / are mollycoddled… I don't think being overprotective of children is a good thing.

Later as an adolescent, with mum based at Parliament House in WA for years and working long days, I spent many hours waiting for her after school. Met a lot of politicians and saw first hand the uproar when the then State Labor Government, in the 1980s, made some decisions that were later to be known as WA Inc. It was a stressful but exciting atmosphere. Also got to know a lot of powerful people and politicians. Learnt very young there were good, creepy, noble and bad on both sides of politics, and that is a reflection of life.

How has your education shaped you professionally?

My first school was Shark Bay Primary School, only two other whities in the class. I think that gave me a life-long appreciation for the wonderful indigenous people that live in this country. Their skills, humour, intelligence and kindness. No bullying at Shark Bay Primary in the early 70s, the elder girls organized big, village style games for the whole school to participate in. Over the years as a reporter, I always tried to write news stories and issues, mindful of the indigenous point of view. And not perpetuate unconscious racial bias, that is in newsrooms across the country. In my early 20s, while working on the Kimberley Echo in Kununurra, I actively sought out positive stories on Aboriginal kids. People came into the paper and complained, but I ignored them.

Later at Yanchep Primary, I saw real poverty in the early 80s. Single mums stealing from canteen money because they couldn't make ends meet. Kids without proper kit or lunches, or no money to play in a sporting team (middle classes can’t imagine this). But this still happens everywhere. I sit on the board of Linkwest. Linkwest helps many not-for-profit centres and organisations in areas including governance in WA. It is a wonderful organization and does a great deal behind the scenes supporting community centres. I try to help not-for-profits in this state, and always remember those kids from Yanchep with not much and how important community resource centres and libraries are to families with no money to buy books. Every book a child reads changes their brain. There is a whole underclass here, we shouldn't forget that, no matter how professionally successful you are. At every speaking event, I have a gold coin donation. At an upcoming one for the Parents & Childrens’ Association presentation, all proceeds will go to a Kenyan orphanage, Rafiki Mwema. I believe we should all do small things to help others.

High school was at Methodist Ladies College in Perth. Learnt I was as good as anyone! Ha! I did not have a big house, flash car, or go on European holidays but I saw my intelligence and sporting ability was equal to the state’s most privileged, no excuses. Quite a few feminist teachers at MLC in the 1980s, some were terrific.

Later I went to Edith Cowan University and studied English. Loved it, particularly Australian literature and film, and some units in politics and history. Most of the lecturers were second rate (ones that couldn't make it into UWA or Curtin or sometimes failed reporters teaching journalism, badly in my view) but, in literature, writer Richard Rossiter was excellent and Professor Harry Phillips (a leading political commentator in WA) was also an inspiring lecturer. I found him very encouraging about my future, a very long time ago. I am very grateful to him for a fantastic reference, written more than 20 years ago.

At uni, at about 19 years old, I began work experience, with the Countryman newspaper in Western Australia. Went in once a week, between lectures and part-time jobs, and wrote real estate copy on farms up for sale – that was invaluable training. Also worked as a research intern for the Liberal Party in Western Australia. I cut and photocopied newspaper clippings for former Premier Richard Court (he was then State Opposition leader and his research staff budget was thin on the ground) for two years. It was a volunteer role, but forced me to read a great deal, and evaluate issues in terms of importance.

Looking back, it was a fascinating insight. I was sorting newspaper articles that the future Premier thought was important. Sometimes despair at graduates who don't want to get their hands dirty or give back. Part of the Perth Media internship program includes a mini media campaign for their favourite charity.

If any young people read this piece – no, you are not a finished article just out of uni (even with a Masters degree), you are now on the start of your journey.

Another bit of advice is to focus on each job / task and do your very best.

What was your first job?

Selling hot dogs at Atlantis Marine Park in school holidays from the age of 12. But my first real reporting role was a cadet reporter for The Kalgoorlie Miner in 1993.

How did you enter the field you’re in now?

I sat interviews and exams with the West Australian newspaper group, did ok and was sent to Kalgoorlie. One-time racing commentator and later political staffer, Frank Wright, was very kind during a rough career patch for me, as well as sub-editor Mike Chering. He patiently helped me sharpen up feature writing.

I worked in Kalgoorlie as a reporter there for three years, before a stint on the Kimberley Echo in Kununurra, then a year on Aspermont’s Australia’s Mining Monthly.

Then I headed to London, working for Incisive Media’s International Investment and Hedge Funds Review and later Eurohedge, for Hedge Fund Intelligence. Found the world of banking and hedge funds fascinating. There was good and bad things I reported on, including the impact on the investment industry or 9-11. Many of my colleagues and those I interviewed in London at that time had met people who died in World Trade Centre. And of course some of those were madly shorting stocks and making money out of the disaster.

Later in Hong Kong, became a reporter for Haymarket’s Asian Investor, one of the world’s best financial publications. It was a privilege and, again, I met some amazing people. Many smart investors, at a global level, are very cool and down to earth, and their soft skills are first rate, so they are delightful to interview and report on.

Loved that job too but relocated back to Perth with my young children for family reasons. Soon after returning to WA, I worked briefly for Cannings Purple (then Purple Communications), before setting up Cate Rocchi Communications in 2012 and then rebranding my business to Perth Media last year.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement to date?

The rebrand to Perth Media in 2015 has been unbelievable. New clients are coming through the door everyday, and old clients are returning again and again. Being able to support myself and my family with my own enterprise, and to sub-contract to others and contribute to charities such as Rafiki Mwema in Kenya, World Vision, Linkwest and Farming Champions has been personally very rewarding.

What have you had to learn the hard way professionally?

You can’t solve everyone’s problems. You can do your best with limited time and budget, then it is time to state your case and move on.

Who’s your greatest professional influence and why?

In WA, Mary Nenke (chair of Farming Champions) has been so encouraging and supportive, as well as positive about many of my ideas and work. She has given me a great deal of confidence and I am very grateful.

Patrick Horneman, at Media Super, is someone who couldn't care if you male or female, or from a diverse background. He has been genuinely inclusive and encouraging from the start. He introduced me to you (Darrel) and many others!

I follow Richard Branson, as I think he is a genius, but also many others including US TV star Dr Phil, who is an expert on conflict resolution (I have learnt so much from that show). Most recently, Dr Phil’s father told him wisely: ‘Son, don't ever miss a good chance to shut the hell up.’ Now that is media tip, right there!

Briefly tell us about your current work / role(s) / business(es)?

Anything media, Perth Media can do it! But the focus is high-level, clever content creation: written, visual (film and photography) and audio. Perth Media produces interesting factual information and visuals that reporters want, rather than advertorial nonsense that no one reads. Then Perth Media pitches that information to specific reporters globally, tailoring the right stories with the right reporters. The focus is on efficiency. Very cost-effective for a former reporter to interview a client to produce stories for social media, you can get three products in one – good pics, podcast ready to go and a story from one meeting.

Working on a wonderful series with Leadership WA right now, but cant release those details yet.

There is also a collaborative approach with clients, recognizing media skills vary between organisations. Some clients need basic assistance where others need high-level assistance. Some clients need press releases written from scratch, while others just need a quick edit and assistance distributing a press pack.

Honesty and integrity is key to the way Perth Media conducts business, in both the accurate content provided, attention to detail and maintaining relationships with the media, both in Australia and overseas.

Perth Media services include: editing, press packs, press releases, writing press releases, ghost writing, podcasting, interview training (press, radio and TV), media training, social media, masterclasses in interview techniques, column writing and message delivery, media strategy sessions for companies and organisations, public relations, journalism, reporting, speech writing, media liaison in Australia, UK and Asia. Working with strategic partners, specialists in photography, film making and animation to produce quality media content.

Much of the writing and media work is handled by me, but transcription, video, film making and photography is sub-contracted to a range of professionals.

Who would you like the readers of this post to introduce you to?

Owners / employees of ethical businesses who would like support with the marketing / media / PR in Australia and overseas.

Are you open to connection invitations from readers of this post?


Cate's contact details

M   0428 431 699