Destiny Flaherty had an idyllic life in the United States. She grew up in Laguna Hills in California’s Orange County, surrounded by friends she’d had since she was just five years old. Life, by all accounts, was good.
There was just one problem: it was a little too comfortable.
One night, Destiny jumped on Google, found Bond University, and before long, she’d packed up her life and boarded a plane bound for the shores of the Gold Coast.
“I knew that in order to grow, I had to get uncomfortable,” Destiny says.
“Australia represented the uncertainty and excitement of moving across the world where I knew no one and no one knew me.
“It was both frightening and intriguing.”
Destiny studied a Bachelor of Business at Bond, and then went on to complete a Master of Project Management. She embarked on two study tours – to Japan and China – and built her professional and personal networks with classmates and teachers from all parts of the world.
Then, things started to get interesting.
Destiny was a few months into a stint in the construction industry as an assistant project manager when she realised she was gravitating towards the digital parts of her role. When she got home from work one day, she started to immerse herself in the world of digital marketing, learning the basics of website production and search engine optimisation (SEO).
It was time to make a change.
“I became obsessed with SEO, so much that I completely changed my career path,” Destiny says.
“I was offered a role as an associate SEO specialist at a local digital marketing agency where I learned best practice SEO and started to fine tune my expertise, landing a senior role in only two years.
“From there, I developed a passion for ecommerce and the Shopify platform and I moved to a digital agency and co-founded an inclusive beauty company, Sama Nail Polish.”
As an SEO manager, Destiny has lead campaigns for major ecommerce sites. Every day is different, Destiny says, and consists of tasks that range from facilitating client workshops to completing complex technical audits and reporting, and diving deep into algorithm updates and emerging tactics.
“There’s always something new to learn and optimise for,” she says.
“I’ve needed to expand my skill set into copywriting, website development, user experience, conversion rate optimisation, email marketing, social media management, and paid advertising – I’m constantly challenging myself and discovering new topics.”
Destiny’s road to the digital marketing industry certainly wasn’t linear, but her studies played an important role in shaping her career. She says the networks, skills, and knowledge she gained at Bond have been invaluable.
“Completing the Master of Project Management in particular played a pivotal role in my career,” she says.
“I learned how to structure complex projects regarding scope, timelines, budgeting, stakeholder communication and resource management.
“The ability to discuss, challenge, and critically analyse information and opinions has made me a critical thinker and strong communicator, which has benefited me in all of my roles and careers so far.
“I continue to use the project management frameworks I learned at Bond to structure complex digital marketing campaigns and facilitate successful negotiations as an SEO manager and in my small business.”
Destiny isn’t alone in taking an unconventional career path; the modern career trajectory looks very different to the career ladders our parents climbed.
Today, it’s estimated that a young person will have 18 different jobs in their lifetime, and as many as six different careers.
In the last year alone, 1.3 million Australians changed jobs – that’s 9.5 per cent of the workforce. Job mobility is greater than ever, and transferable skills are the most in-demand from employers. In fact, Deloitte Access Economics predicts that soft skill intensive jobs will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030, with the number of soft skill intensive jobs expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in other occupations.
Destiny’s life – personally and professionally – looks very different to the days spent with her childhood friends in California. She couldn’t have predicted where her career would take her, but she doesn’t regret a single step of the journey.
“Allowing myself the opportunity to pursue curiosity and persevere through a transition period eventually led to incredible results,” Destiny says.
“My advice is to listen to your gut instinct, even if it seems uncertain and uncomfortable.
“Take the leap of faith. It could take you somewhere amazing.”