Cassie’s Story: Journalist to Company Director

Cassie at the Year 12 Mother Daughter Breakfast

At the recent Year 12 Mother Daughter Breakfast, we had the pleasure of hearing from one of our alumni, Cassie Silver (Class of 2006), who spoke about the importance of authenticity and kindness. In this blog, she shares her inspiring story and the values that have guided her throughout her prominent career as a journalist.

What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism, and did your time at Santa Maria influence this decision?

I was always drawn to subjects that allowed me to express my creativity and curiosity, like drama, English, music, public speaking and politics. My experiences at Santa Maria, especially being involved in Music and Drama, shaped my love for storytelling and performance. Paul Kinsella, my mentor and favourite teacher, played a significant role in inspiring me. Although I initially pursued music at WAAPA, I eventually found my true calling in journalism and broadcasting, areas that combined my passions for writing, learning about the world, public speaking and performing.

Can you share a memorable experience from your time as a journalist?

I would have reported on more than a thousand stories in my time as a journalist. I was lucky enough to travel the world and meet incredible people, from Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future, Ross Kemp, Jimmy Barnes and many more. Another memorable experience was traveling to produce stories, such as going behind the scenes at the Glastonbury music festival or covering the Brexit referendum in London. Jumping on a plane to head to the US to produce a true crime series was a highlight for me. Sitting with interview talent for hours and hours, hearing their stories; for many of these people, we started as strangers and ended as friends. But it was the smaller stories with big impact and stories that made a tangible difference, that made my job truly memorable and rewarding. From young children fighting cancer and their charity event to raise awareness and funds; or reporting on a family in need of a wheelchair ramp for their disabled child, and then seeing our coverage lead to them getting the ramp costs covered was incredibly rewarding.

What motivated you to start your own business, Silver Lining & Co Pty Ltd, and what has been the most rewarding aspect of running your own media and communications agency?

After seven years at Channel 7, I realised that the job was no longer fulfilling for me. I wanted to create something of my own that aligned with my passions for storytelling, media, and production. We work with some of the biggest names in Perth as well as foundations and not-for-profits. Starting Silver Lining & Co Pty Ltd allowed me to have creative control and flexibility. As the company director, a wife, mother of two and a social person, it can be a juggle to fit it all in, but finding balance is important to me. One of the most rewarding aspects has been the ability to meet new people every day and tell their stories in meaningful ways through video, the written word or audio wave, as well as the success of my podcast and the positive impact of my not-for-profit, Fiercely Infertile. Winning this year’s 40under40 Business News Award in the category of social enterprise, community or not-for-profit, was a humble experience and rewarding milestone for me.

Winner of the 2024 40under40 Award

At the recent Year 12 Mother Daughter Breakfast, you emphasised the importance of authenticity and kindness. Can you share a moment in your career where these values made a significant impact?

One significant moment was during my time as a journalist when I realised that the relationship that requires the most work is the one with yourself. Being authentic and kind, not just to others but to myself, helped me navigate the pressures and comparisons in the media industry. This self-awareness and kindness allowed me to produce work that truly resonated with me and my audience, making a significant impact on the stories I covered and the people I worked with. One significant moment in my career where authenticity and kindness made a profound impact was during a challenging story early in my journalism career. I was reporting on a sensitive community issue, and emotions were running high among those involved. Throughout the process, I made it a point to be genuine, empathetic, and respectful towards everyone I interacted with, regardless of their stance on the issue.

Being kind to everyone ensured that those who helped me climb to the peak of my success were also there when I faced challenges. The relationships I built during that coverage, founded on trust and respect, proved invaluable later on. When unforeseen difficulties arose, the same people I had treated with kindness were the first to offer support and assistance. This experience reinforced the importance of living and breathing the person people talk about when you are not in the room. My consistent authenticity and kindness built a reputation that spoke for itself, allowing me to navigate the complexities of the media industry with integrity.

What advice would you give to someone keen to pursue a career in journalism?

Embrace uncertainty and stay curious. The path to a successful journalism career is rarely linear, and it’s okay not to have everything figured out from the start. The ability to navigate the unknown with an open mind and a hunger for learning is a crucial asset. Focus on being a good person, building strong relationships, and staying true to your values. Authenticity and kindness are vital in journalism, as they help build trust with your audience and sources.

Pursue what excites you and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are invaluable learning opportunities that help you grow both personally and professionally. It’s through trial and error that you discover your strengths and areas for improvement. Remember that resilience and adaptability are crucial in journalism, as the industry is constantly evolving with new technologies and shifting societal trends. Stay informed and be willing to adapt to new mediums and platforms.

Additionally, develop a strong ethical foundation. Journalism plays a critical role in society, and it’s important to uphold the principles of truth, fairness, and integrity in your reporting. Build a network of mentors and peers who can provide guidance, support, and constructive feedback throughout your career. Seek out internships and real-world experiences that can give you a taste of what it’s like to work in the field.

Finally, maintain a healthy work-life balance. The demands of journalism can be intense, with long hours and tight deadlines, so it’s important to take care of your mental and physical wellbeing. Find time for activities that rejuvenate you and make it a priority to disconnect from work regularly to recharge. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges of the profession and sustain a long, fulfilling career in journalism.

At a Sisterhood Series event in 2023, you mentioned the need for resilience and confidence in the pursuit of a career in journalism. How did you develop these qualities, and how have they helped you overcome challenges in your career?

Resilience and confidence were qualities I developed through a combination of professional experiences and personal growth. Facing and overcoming challenges has been integral to my journey. Early in my career, I encountered numerous setbacks and obstacles that tested my resolve. Instead of being discouraged, I viewed these challenges as opportunities to learn and improve. Each difficult assignment, critical feedback, or tight deadline became a stepping stone towards building my resilience.

My journey through various career paths, dealing with self-esteem issues, and striving for perfection also played a significant role. I learned that perfection is unattainable and that striving for it often leads to unnecessary stress. Accepting that mistakes are part of the learning process allowed me to be kinder to myself and more adaptable in my approach to work. This mindset shift was crucial in developing my confidence.

Furthermore, support from mentors, colleagues, and loved ones has been invaluable. They provided not only guidance and advice but also encouragement during tough times. Engaging in continuous learning and professional development also contributed to my confidence.

These qualities have been indispensable in navigating the demanding nature of the media industry. The 24/7 work environment, high-pressure situations, and the need to balance professional and personal life require a resilient mindset. Confidence in my abilities has enabled me to take on ambitious projects, pitch bold ideas, and handle criticism constructively. Resilience has helped me bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive outlook, even during the most challenging times.

How do you like to unwind and spend your free time?

In my free time, I find immense joy in contributing to others and spending quality time with my family. I started a podcast and a social enterprise to support those going through infertility, turning my personal challenges into a purpose called Fiercely Infertile. Through these platforms, I aim to provide a voice and support system for those facing similar struggles, helping them feel less isolated and more empowered. Outside of work, I treasure moments with my husband and kids. Practicing gratitude is a daily ritual for me. Taking time to reflect on the things I’m thankful for helps me stay grounded and appreciative of the little joys in life. I also make it a point to disconnect from technology daily. This intentional break from the digital world allows me to be fully present with my loved ones and to unwind and stay balanced. 

Overall, my free time is a blend of meaningful activities that bring joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose to my life. By giving back to others, cherishing family moments, practicing gratitude, and disconnecting from technology, I create a harmonious balance that sustains my well-being and happiness.

Cassie’s journey from Santa Maria College to her rewarding career in journalism and media is a powerful reminder of the impact of our formative experiences and the mentors who inspire us. Her advice to current students emphasises the importance of staying true to oneself, embracing uncertainty, and continually learning. We are proud to count her among our accomplished alumni and look forward to seeing the positive impact she will continue to make.

the Winter Appeal and Outreach Mass at Santa Maria College.

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