Skip to content

Chaanah Crichton (Fr 2006) – 20 Years of Undergraduate Women

Chaanah is a Senior Marketing Manager for Deloitte Global, with a focus on Climate & Sustainability, and Resilience. She has held many different roles in marketing in her time at Edelman and Deloitte which has given her opportunities to work overseas in England and Hong Kong. She shared with us insights on a career in marketing, described her experiences growing up in Hong Kong and shared with us her passion for travel.

Please tell us a bit more about yourself – where are you originally from and where did you grow up?

My dad is Australian and my mum is English – they met while my mum was on holiday in Hong Kong and my dad was working there, which is where they stayed and got married – and where I grew up. Growing up in Hong Kong and going to an international primary school meant that I had an incredibly multi-cultural upbringing and was exposed to different ways of thinking and viewing the world. My parents also insisted that my brother and I learn Cantonese to be more connected to our home, so I was lucky enough to grow up speaking a second language. I came to Australia for boarding school in high school and decided to stay here for university as well.

What were your favourite memories and what parts of College life were you involved in?

The constant events and activities! I loved the social scene of college and the array of different things you could be involved in. I was an O-Week Fresher leader, took part in the jazz band, was in the annual play, started Drewtopia with some fellow students and tried to attend every event on offer! My college friends are still some of my closest, with friendships formed from the many hours hanging out in each other’s’ rooms and having fun together.

Why did you choose to reside at St Andrew’s College?

My older brother decided to go to university in England and as part of that he was able to live in a residential college similar to Drew’s. As I had decided to stay in Australia for university and study at UTS, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to experience the same college life he was loving. However, a school friend of mine at Wesley told me that Drew’s accepted students from other universities, so as soon as I heard this I applied and was able to secure a place.

How did you see the College change for women whilst you were there? And have you noticed any further changes since you left?

Women were very much an equal force at college during the years I was there, with representation across the student council and all aspects of college life. There was still an acknowledgement of Drew’s all-male history, through things such as College anthems, but it felt like a nod to the history of the College opposed to a culture of inequity. I’ve been overseas for most of my life since leaving College, so haven’t been close enough to see too many changes, but I have been inspired by how many women in my cohort have accomplished amazing things and forged incredible careers.

Since leaving College you have held many different roles in communications and marketing. Could you tell us about your career path to date?

After leaving college I wanted another adventure, so moved to London to begin my career there. I secured a graduate role at an international PR agency, Edelman, where I did the PR for companies such as Manchester City Football Club, Diageo and LinkedIn. After a number of years in London I decided it was time for some warmer weather and to be slightly closer to family, so was able to transfer with Edelman and move back to Hong Kong to experience life there as an adult.

During my time in Hong Kong I moved into an Asia Pacific regional marketing and communications role with Deloitte, then eventually moved back to Australia and have remained with Deloitte.

You are currently a Senior Marketing Manager at Deloitte. Could you tell us what is involved in your role?

I’ve recently taken on a global role at Deloitte, where I get to work on a topic that I am passionate about, climate action. I am the Global Marketing Lead aligned to Climate & Sustainability, and Resilience, so I play a central role in shaping the go-to-market strategies and marketing activation programs for Deloitte around these issues, which respond to our clients’ most important business priorities. A highlight since starting this role was being part of our Deloitte presence and events at COP26, and I am now working on campaigns that will launch at WEF’s Davos meeting in May 2022.

You have held several different leadership positions whilst working at Edelman and Deloitte? What are some of the most rewarding aspects and challenges of taking on these types of roles?

I really enjoy leading teams of people and coaching and supporting them in their careers. Early in my career I found it strange when I saw two sides to a person – their “work personality” and “non work personality”. So I’ve always tried to be an authentic leader, bringing my whole self to work, which I think allows you to connect with colleagues better, often resulting in friendships as well. The other side to leadership that I love is strategic planning and thinking. For those of you who knew me at college, you’ll remember my love of organisation and planning! This is a big part of my job, ensuring that everything we do from a brand and marketing perspective aligns to business strategy, is impactful and can be measured. The biggest challenge is never having enough time for everything, but I think that’s a struggle lots of people face!

What do you hope is your next step?

Now that I am in a global role I can work fully remotely, so my husband and I have moved to Byron Bay for a change of scene and another adventure.

What do you like to do outside of your work?

Pre-COVID, travelling! I’m still crossing my fingers that some travel will be back on the cards in 2022. My other big passion is hiking, so I can’t wait to get back into the mountains. Some of my favourite places I’ve hiked include Bhutan, Nepal, Montana, Patagonia and a bit closer to home, the Warrambungles in NSW.

What are you reading/ watching or listening to at the moment that you’d recommend?

I’ve been watching the docu-series Alone, which is bizarrely addictive! I also love podcasts as an easy way to consume news and information while on a walk or pottering around the house, so would highly recommend The Squiz, The Signal, The Daily, The Inquiry and Science VS.

Do you have any advice for young Androvians looking to enter marketing or in general?

Marketing is a numbers game now, where businesses want to know is what return on investment they get from marketing dollars spent. So having a really good understanding of business strategy and how marketing supports it is fundamental. The ability to interpret and leverage data is also an important marketing skill these days, so having some data fluency is key. If you’re thinking about starting out in marketing, I would suggest getting some work experience in both B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) marketing, as they are quite different so it’s good to understand which you enjoy more.

My only other parting piece of advice to Androvians is to do what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to take risks and make changes. I am in my mid-30s and have already had three career breaks, a gap year right after school then two breaks between changing jobs and moving countries. Each time people would say “why are you leaving a good job to travel when you might find it hard to get another job?” and every time it has worked out and made my life richer and more fulfilled. You only get one life so do the exciting things that will make you happy!