We have recently caught up with Leesa Ronald (Hamilton), a former Andrew’s woman, fresher in 2006. She has since achieved great success in her chosen field of Communications and is currently PR & Communications Manager at Australian Rugby Union.
When were you at St Andrew’s?
It’s my ten year reunion this year; I was a St Andrew’s fresher in 2006 and stayed until 2008.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Panuara on a farm near Orange in Central West NSW.
Why did you choose St Andrew’s?
There were a few older friends from school in the years above who’d gone to Andrews, so I applied based on their recommendations. Coming from a country town, I knew I wouldn’t really know anyone in Sydney, so I liked the idea of living with new people and making a bunch of new friends.
What did you study at University?
My degree was BA (Media and Communications) at Sydney University.
Would you say St Andrew’s helped build your life experiences and business career?
The collaborative environment is a really positive aspect of College life. I made so many connections at College and ultimately lifelong friends. I recently got married and my best friends from College were all there. Through the Intercol network you really do mix with a wide variety of people – I loved it.
I always tried to be involved in every aspect of College life. I tried out for nearly every sport in my first year and didn’t make any team, so then I just became a supporter! You could say that was character building.
In my first year I was nominated Fresher Rep, and then went on to become Alumni Liaison and then Secretary in my third year. I learnt a great deal from being on House Committee and meeting with the Council, which still helps me in my career now.
What have you been up to since College?
When I left college, I went on exchange to England and did a semester there. I then returned to Sydney and lived in Redfern with some friends and I got my first job as a writer/journalist. After three years working for magazines, I took a break and went travelling for a while. When I came back to Sydney, I began working in communications and now I’ve ended up working at Australian Rugby, in a really fun and challenging role.
What advice would you give to our Drew Freshers?
You really do get out what you put in. If put yourself out there, you’ll make plenty of lifelong friends and connections. My best friends now are all college friends.
I remember my O-Week Mentor (who is still a great friend of mine) said something really valuable on our first day of O-Week. He said: “No one cares where you come from, or what school you went to. It doesn’t matter here, as we’re all Drews men and women.” As a young girl from a country town and not knowing anyone, it was good to know that everyone was on an equal playing field and everyone would be accepted regardless of their background
As a girl in college, it’s important to be confident in your abilities and voice your opinions. Sometimes the boys are louder (and other times the girls are louder!) but it’s important that everyone gets heard.