Janine Pittaway Shares Her Story

Tell us what you’ve been up to since leaving Santa Maria

I’ll try to be succinct in covering 35 years – I can’t get my head around how much time that is! 

Straight after finishing school, I did a year’s Rotary Exchange to a small town in Minnesota, USA. It was like living in a 1980s teenage movie! I had a ball, and the experience gave me the confidence to take on new challenges. 

On coming home, I studied at Curtin. I did a BA in Journalism and Public Relations. My first year of uni was the first year of paid university education. During uni, I worked at Miss Mauds in Fremantle and as a tour guide in the Swan Brewery! I’ve had a number of PR roles in consultancies and in government, working for Tourism Western Australia in the Events division and for the Perth Mint, where I coordinated their centenary celebrations and PR for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Coin Program. 

I worked my way to General Manager at Professional Public Relations. I managed major accounts, including Emirates, Landcorp, Bunnings, McDonalds, Midland Brick and the Johnnie Walker Classic Golf Tournament. Fourteen years ago, I set up Bright Communications and lived in Fremantle until moving to Yallingup almost 10 years ago with my partner of 20 years, Stew. We love living on a rural property surrounded by trees, birds and wildlife. It gives me perspective and keeps me grounded and calm – most of the time! We have two fur babies – a 17-year-old Bengal cat and a one-year-old Lagotto pooch. Travel has been a big part of our lives, trying to get to the UK most years to catch up with Stew’s family and visiting Italy, Greece, Croatia or Spain on the side. I’m an avid reader and take Flamenco dance classes. 

Tell us a bit about your business Bright Communications

I started Bright Communications to get back into client work rather than staff and business management; it was far more appealing to me. I work mainly in the tourism industry, building and growing awareness of several different accommodation and tourism businesses. I have worked on major events, including Margaret River Gourmet Escape, V8 Supercars, Perth International Golf and the National Ballooning Championships in Northam. I work closely with media and manage communications for clients ranging from marketing strategies to issues and crisis communications, media releases, website copywriting, travel stories and social media posts. More recently, I have been working with aged care client Capecare, a different industry for me and really rewarding. I work solo most of the time but bring in specialists and support when appropriate and work between home and a share office in Dunsborough when I seek some company.  

Why did you decide to start your own business?

So that I could get my hands in again to work on client communications solutions and for clients I could choose and am passionate about.

Janine and Marie Delane (Head Girl) in Year 12

What’s your favourite memory of school?

It’s tricky to think of a single memory. Still, I can say all of my happy memories include schoolmates and plenty of laughter. We had a great group of girls in our year, and I know many are still best mates with their Santa Maria friends today. I remember teasing each other over dissecting fish in biology, creating havoc in school drama productions, school camps, and lunchtimes spent lolling about on the front lawn on a warm day. Oh, and being taught sex education by nuns! Poor Sister Gregory and Sister Aileen had their work cut out for them.  

Favourite subject

English Literature – a great intro to a world of classics.  

Were there any staff or programs that inspired your career journey?

I must have been encouraged in English classes to pursue writing. We were fortunate to have Rosa Speranza teach us in her first year as a teacher. She was relatable and only a few years older than us. She was a caring and passionate teacher. Hopefully, we didn’t give her too much trouble in her first year! 

Renee McQueen (Quaglia), Janine and Lucy Harreus (Suriano) in Year 11

Do you have a favourite quote or statement that you live by?

Sister Sheila, our principal, drove into us, “If it is to be, it is up to me”, but I think my go is “don’t sweat the small stuff”. 

Who inspires you and why?

People who stand up for what they believe in even when it may put them at risk. 

Who would you invite if you could have a dinner party and invite anyone?

Maggie Beer to help me in the kitchen, she wouldn’t intimidate me, but I think she might pop up, give me a hand, and even make dessert! Sandy Totsvig has a wealth of stories about unsung women in history. She could keep us intrigued all night with them, comedian Bob Mortimer for his hilarious anecdotes and Idris Elba for his DJ skills, of course! 

Janine (L) in Year 11 with Danielle Low (Calginari)
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