I’m thrilled to introduce a new monthly feature on the blog- consultant spotlights!
Each month, I will introduce you to a public health consultant and they will share their path to consulting/entrepreneurship and outline key pieces of advice for aspiring business owners.
Today we welcome Rebecca Zosel from Melbourne, Australia!
1. Please share your educational background and business title/name:
Rebecca Zosel, B.App.Sc. (Health Promotion), PostGradCert (Organisational Leadership), Master of Public Health
Director, Zosel Consulting
2. Tell us how you entered the field of public health and what your education and work experience was prior to consulting:
As the daughter of two school principals, I was initially drawn to the education component of health promotion, which was a large part of the field in the 1990s. My undergraduate degree confirmed my early interest in health education, and ignited my passion for improving population health, reducing health inequities, and creating positive social change. Over time I completed further postgraduate studies in Organisational Leadership and Public Health; my next goal is a doctorate which I plan to pursue when the youngest of my three children starts school.
Prior to running my own business I worked for ten years in a number of positions within local government and not-for-profits. Two roles in particular stand out – Primary Health Care Coordinator and Health Campaigns Manager in large cancer charities in Melbourne, Australia and London, United Kingdom respectively. Looking back, these were formative roles where I developed strong content knowledge and skills in team work, health communications and project design, management and evaluation.
3. When did you start consulting and what were your motivations for pursuing self-employment?
I got an initial sense of what it was like to freelance when I moonlighted as Editor of the Australian Health Promotion Association’s national newsletter in 2009. The following year whilst on maternity leave from my 9-5 job in the city, a friend sub-contracted me to fulfil a consultancy contract that she could no longer complete; the arrangement fitted beautifully with my desire to work part-time and have flexibility, so I could be the mother I aspired to be. The experience was very positive and I never returned from maternity leave but instead started my own business which has been operating successfully for almost 10 years now.
4. Who is your ideal client? What services do you offer?
My clients span the not-for-profit, government and corporate sectors. Often clients approach me when they are entering a strategic planning phase or going through periods of change; they are looking for someone with a fresh perspective to help them translate often vast quantities of evidence into policy and practice that makes a difference.
My core offering centres on writing. I develop and author numerous products including strategic plans, communication strategies and policies at the local, jurisdictional and national level. Further, I often work with clients on thought leadership papers, literature reviews, evaluation reports, funding submissions, and resources such as case studies.
5. What is your favorite type of project to work on and why?
I particularly enjoy writing strategic plans, and am thrilled to be the lead author of three national plans in 2018/19 that address asthma, childhood heart disease, and lung conditions. The plans outline Australia’s national response to these conditions and provide a framework for focusing health resources where they are needed most. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of synthesizing large amounts of information, and the art of strategizing and ensuring the plans are not only evidence-based, but accessible, relevant and compelling. The potential of high-level policy documents to make a significant and long-lasting difference to many is extremely motivating and fulfilling. Plus, I get to work with lots of clever people.
6. Many of our readers are considering a career as a self-employed public health consultant. What is your best piece of advice for those considering or just starting out in consulting?
My three top tips:
Give every contract 100% effort; work begets work.
Invest time and energy into networking, both in person and via socials; many consulting opportunities are shared via word-of-mouth and never formally advertised.
Ensure you have adequate savings; a healthy financial buffer will minimise hardship and stress, particularly during quiet times.
7. How can readers connect with you? Please share links to relevant websites and social media accounts: