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Byron Shire
August 20, 2022

Elly redesigns her career

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Elly Waite, living her dream at SAE.

Following stints as a travel consultant and leasing agent, Elly Waite wanted more from her career. After weighing up her options, she pursued her passion for design by studying at SAE Creative Media Institute. 

Three years later, Elly’s living her dream: as a graphic designer at strategic communications advisory organisation, Colony; giving advice as a guest lecturer to SAE’s future creatives; and selling her children’s book, Byron the Dolphin to Hollywood actors.

Having left school in 2010, Elly took some time out to decide what she wanted to do with her career. ‘I spent some time in the travel and real estate industries for a few years, and soon realised that wasn’t where my passions lay. By the time I started studying for my Bachelor of Design at SAE in 2017, I was 25, and I had a very clear idea of what I wanted in my career.

‘Design is something I’m extremely passionate about, so I found it really easy to focus on my studies. I think studying in a small cohort, I didn’t feel like just another number’.

After graduating SAE Byron Bay in 2019, Elly picked up a contract role as a graphic designer at the Uniting Church in Brisbane, before securing a position at strategic communications advisory organisation, Colony.

‘I’ve been at Colony for around 18 months now and we have quite a big team of 15 designers here. Given the nature of the organisation, we work with a range of clients including Colgate and Palmolive Fiji/PNG, Kina Bank, Brian Bell Group and Prime100. It’s a really satisfying environment to work in because every day is varied, whether that’s designing marketing material or packaging.’

One of the positive aspects of studying at SAE was the long-lasting connections Elly built, and has since been invited back as a guest lecturer. ‘I really enjoy talking to students. Maybe I can spark some inspiration for them, and give them the confidence to do freelance projects for themselves, particularly if they’re not creatively satisfied in other areas of their lives. That will ultimately be what helps them grow and learn.’

Reflecting on the start of her career, Elly said that early period was key to where she is today. ‘The advice I’d give anyone is just embrace whatever comes your way, because you don’t know where it will take you.’

SAE Creative Media Institute provides students with the experience, skills, equipment and connections to succeed in the creative industry. 

Find out more about SAE’s Open Day at sae.edu.au.

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