#PRIAConf15 Speaker Teaser: Melainie Irons, Researcher, presenter, hea

Tue, Oct 06 2015

19 days and counting until our national conference 'Huge Transformations' from 25-27 October, in Hobart, Tasmania.

PRIA National Conference 2015 Speaker Q&A 

Today we will hear from Melainie Irons, Researcher, presenter, health & fitness coach, and get an insight into some of the things she will be discussing at this years National Conference.

How does this year’s theme ‘huge transformations’ relate to you in your work?

This year's theme is a great one for me. My life direction changed completely in 2013 when I set up a Facebook page on a whim in order to try to do my bit to help those who had been impacted by the devastating Tasmanian bush fires in early January that year. I think the word 'huge' doesn't necessarily have to be there though... just about anyone can face or handle or create a transformation in their life - and most of the time, those transformations are subtle and take some time. People don't need to hope for or wait for 'huge' transformations. Taking regular tiny steps can ensure that even the biggest change can be made over time. 

What buzzword of 2015 annoys you the most?

Ha! Good question! There are lots of buzzwords aren't there? I'm hearing a lot of the word resilience and disruptive at the moment. Which is fine because while they are both buzzwords, yes, they are important ones. What is critical however is working out how buzzwords can leave the domain of the ideological, the intangible, the idealistic, and become more pragmatical and practical. That was one of the focuses of my PhD. How to not just say 'we want more resilience in emergency management!'... but how to actually get it. Action, not rhetoric. I also really hate the phrase 'key stakeholders'. Hahaha! 

How important are social and digital in your day-to-day?

It depends on the day. Digital sabbaticals are a very good idea! I always notice on flights how much work I get done... it's because my train of thought is not being constantly interrupted by incoming emails, texts and phone calls (or other distractions available on the web or social media). But in general, social media and digital technology are critical to every single thing that I do - whether that's research, running my coaching/group exercise business, keeping up with the news or keeping up to date with friends and family. 


Any uh-oh moments so far in your career? How did you fix the situation?

Anyone doing anything worth doing is going to have uh-oh moments almost everyday! If you aren't having uh-oh moments you are playing it too safe. The trick is to have high enough confidence and self-efficacy that the uh-oh moments don't eat away at you until you no longer exist! 


How do you manage the work life balance? What does your daily routine look like?

This is a challenge for absolutely everyone. I was thinking about this just yesterday. Other self-employed people would know that there is no such thing as a set timetable, and there's no one helping you work out what are appropriate hours to work and rest. You constantly second guess yourself as to if you are working too hard or not enough. I think you then just have to get very tough on yourself and create some sort of routine out of the mess. Variety is absolutely the spice of life but our brains also needs some repetition, some regular routine. There's a lot of meaning in regular routines too. So I don't do the best job of having good work life balance (or as it should be called, just balance) but I am pretty stern with my clients about having plenty of time for proper physical and mental recovery, so I would say I certainly do continue to prioritise improving myself in this area. 

If you had to leave your house in a rush, what is the one thing you could not leave without or leave without doing?

Hmmmmmmm. I leave the house in a rush everyday, don't you?! But let's say it was an EMERGENCY.... I would take my dog and my laptop! 

Can you tease us with what you might be talking about at the conference in October?

I will be telling you a story of courage, determination, goodwill, community spirit and resilience. It's not really my story. It's the story of the Tasmanian community. I'm looking forward to it! 

If you want to catch Melanie in action, book your ticket today for the PRIA National Conference, 25-27 October in Hobart, Tasmania, before standard rates closes on 15 September 2015.

Author: Neil O'Sullivan, National Marketing and Communication Manager, PRIA.

Tweet us at @PRIANational #PRIAConf15.

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