Dana Naomis (2008) Campaigns for Road Safety
Everyday, Dana Naomis (Class of 2008) dedicates herself to advocating for road safety among the younger population. Following a period of personal exploration overseas, she swiftly climbed the corporate ladder and now spearheads the planning and execution of one of the largest events in Western Australia.
Discover Dana’s cherished high school memories, career milestones, and her advice to aspiring students in the blog below:
Can you share your time and experience at Santa Maria. Are there specific staff members or moments that hold a special place in your heart?
I cherished my time at Santa Maria College and my high school experience and always look back at my time there with fondness. Paul Kinsella and the entire music department played a pivotal role in making my College days incredibly memorable. Throughout my high school journey, I immersed myself in the world of music, participating in every choir available, thanks to my mother’s consistent early morning drop offs.
Additionally, the annual music camps at New Norcia remain a source of joy and laughter as my friends and I fondly reminisce about them to this day. Walking through the old building towards music class was definitely my favourite part of the day.
After high school, how did you navigate your post-secondary journey?
Following my graduation, I went straight into pursuing a Bachelor of Communications at Curtin University. However, it didn’t take long for me to realise that I needed a break from studying.
Making the challenging decision to defer my university studies, I embarked on a journey to live and travel abroad. Alongside three of my closest friends, I packed my bags and spent two enriching years in England, Spain, and France. Opting for this hiatus turned out to be the best decision I ever made, and I am immensely grateful to my supportive parents, even if my mum might have had her moments of worry about being separated from her 19 year old daughter for so long.
Upon my return to Australia, I still found myself unsure about what I wanted to pursue. Consequently, I entered the workforce, and over the next couple of years, I gradually climbed the professional ladder, eventually securing a position at RAC. Fast forward a decade, and I now find myself in a dream role, actively contributing to incredible and iconic projects and initiatives throughout Western Australia.
Tell us about your role as a program coordinator for education, campaign and events. Can you walk us through a typical day in your professional life?
My team is responsible for the development and delivery of RAC’s school education programs, spanning from kindergarten to Year 12. Our offerings include a diverse range of free-access resources and events, such as in-class presentations, online learning series, immersive term-long programs, and large-scale road safety events. Additionally, we spearhead key road safety initiatives and campaigns in the community, aligning with RAC’s social impact strategy.
Working in events entails a dynamic environment where each day presents unique challenges. Juggling multiple projects simultaneously is the norm for my team and myself. Establishing an effective system has been crucial in alleviating the constant pressure. On a typical day, I navigate through a to-do list that involves tasks such as engaging and managing stakeholder relationships, crafting communications and marketing materials for our programs, overseeing the coordination of large-scale events, and conducting ongoing reviews of our school education programs.
The lead-up to an event is a different story, demanding adaptability to whatever tasks are essential for successful execution.
Do you have any career milestones you are proud of that you would be happy to share with us?
My biggest career milestone would have to be the annual delivery of WA’s largest road safety event, RAC bstreetsmart. This event is a free road safety event for students from Years 10 – 12 and features a crash scene reenactment attended by the emergency services, just as it would occur at a real crash site. The students also have the opportunity to listen to speakers who have been directly impacted by road trauma and talk with emergency services personnel. The event is held at RAC Arena and for 2024, we have approximately 17,000 students from 146 schools registered to attend over two event days. Being a small team of four, delivery of this event is no easy feat and almost every aspect is coordinated by us in house. We work a year in advance on the preparation and delivery of RAC bstreetsmart, working with our wonderful stakeholders, and with the support of the WA Police Force, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, and St John Ambulance.
In 2021, Western Australia had one of the nation’s highest road fatality rates, standing at 34.2% above the national average and a staggering 60.9% higher than the best performing state, New South Wales. Those aged between 17 – 19 are among the most vulnerable road users – while they account for only 3.4% of the WA population (ABS, June 2021), around 6.1% of those killed and 6.3% of those seriously injured in traffic crashes between 2016 and 2020 were in this age group.
Outside work, how do you prioritise self-care?
Outside work, music remains a significant part in my life. I continue to sing, play guitar, and record music with my fiancé – our music room at home is a sanctuary filled with a collection of instruments we have both collected over our lives. I also love to travel, and you will usually find me planning a trip to Greece every couple of years.
What would your number one piece of advice be for a Santa Maria student who would like to work in the Events & Campaign Coordinator space?
When I first started in my team, one of my leaders said to me “if you dig a hole, fill it with the truth,” meaning that no mistake or problem is too big to fix, but it cannot be fixed if you are not honest with your team or don’t share with them when something goes wrong. Working in events is fast paced, high pressure and requires you to be a master multitasker. It is inevitable that at some point, something will go wrong, you will drop the ball on something, or a curveball is thrown your way, but there is always a solution, and sharing the load with your team always gets you there quicker!
We extend our gratitude to Dana for generously sharing her career journey with us. Her story serves as a powerful testament to the idea that prioritising what is best for oneself can often pave the way for remarkable outcomes.