Faces of AWNY: Belinda Jackson, AWNY’s Communications Lead

AWNY’s Communications Lead, Belinda Jackson will be giving a presentation called ‘Working in the USA’ on March 23rd at QBE. Here is some background about her life in NYC.

I moved to New York nine years ago to be with my husband who is a Set Designer and Artist who just loves living here. It took me a while, but I now love living in NYC too. I was brought up in the rural fringe of Sydney near the Hawkesbury Valley and spent most of my adult life living in country towns of New South Wales and Victoria.

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?

We live in Park Slope, Brooklyn just near Prospect Park. Coming from the land in Australia, living near the park is like having lungs for me, i

t’s 600 acres of heaven. My husband has lived in this area since studying at NYU. Back then the area was full of artists, musicians and writers, and there was a murder a week in the park. It’s now quite gentrified. It’s classic Brownstone Brooklyn, low rise, you get more light and space as a result, but we’re only 20 minutes away from downtown Manhattan.

What’s your most/least favorite thing about New York City?

New York is a never-ending treasure trove of constant wonderment. There is always something new to discover both culturally and professionally. This year I have been putting together the ‘What’s On’ blog post for the AWNY newsletter, it never ceases to amaze me what’s on offer in NYC.

My least favorite thing is my Australian friends moving back to Australia.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?

Overhearing in a Pet Shop that the owner didn’t want to take a sweater to try it out for size on her dog “because that would ruin the surprise for his birthday gift.” Only in New York!

Any advice for people moving to NY?

Join AWNY and the AAA, they are both full of friendly Aussies who’ll provide some wonderful advice and make you feel very welcome.

Work out what you want and then choose where to live. If you want good schools you might choose to live on the UWS, Tribeca, Westchester County or New Jersey. If you want nightlife, you might choose one of the Villages or Williamsburg. Prior research will be invaluable.

What do you do?

I’m a business consultant, I have a business called Prosell International. We have three key areas that we focus on:

  • improving organizations profitability results;
  • assisting overseas companies with their US market entry strategy;
  • career coaching, especially helping new arrivals prepare themselves for the US job market.

Any advice for other Professionals working in NYC?

  • Network like crazy.
  • Get up to speed with your profession as quickly as possible. There are many professional organizations that will be remarkably helpful, so join up.
  • Develop an ‘elevator pitch’ and practice using it.
  • Adapt your resume to ‘letter’ size paper and change your spelling and grammar to American English, and get someone local to review your resume before you start the job hunt.
  • It can be a tough city so be prepared. I’m always reminded of Frank Sinatra’s line “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.”

What’s your favorite New York spot?

Here are a few of my favorite spots:

Anything you miss about Australia?

The only thing I don’t miss is my car. I love the New York subway system and I love walking around the city.

Aside from family and friends, specific things I miss depends on the day. Peppermint crisps; Madura tea; Mum’s homemade cumquat jam; good quality journalism; voting day (the fact that everyone votes in Australia, it’s the most communal activity ever); the smell of the bush; the beach; the Australian sky (it’s so high in Australia) and the southern cross. I just love being out in the bush and looking at the sky at night.

What are your top tips for friends visiting NYC?

  • Bring good walking shoes, it’s a walking city.
  • Get the subway map (either the paper one or the MTA app for smartphones) and an unlimited MTA pass.
  • Look up. There is some of the best Beaux Arts architecture on offer here.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a New Yorker, they are surprisingly nice and always happy to help.

Why did you join the AWNY committee?

I joined AWNY soon after I moved here. My mother recommended the group to me, she’d heard about it via her patchwork quilting group. My husband is American, so it was wonderful to meet some Australian women who were so welcoming. Something about being with Aussies makes you feel incredibly normal!

Author: Australian Women in New York

Australian Women in New York (AWNY) sources stories and guides that will help make you win the Big Apple. We also love to profile fabulous Aussie and Kiwi women.

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