Welcome to the Telum Spotlight, a quick insight into some of the interesting people in the PR and Communications space, as well as freelancers and those launching their own boutique agencies. Today we shine the Telum Spotlight on Sarah Widera in Sydney. Sarah recently launched her own venture, Scoop Communications, following close to a decade working as a comms professional with FIFA and four years in sports journalism.
By way of introduction:
I began my career as a sports journalist at Fox Sports News, but swiftly realised my ambitions stretched further. This journey led me overseas to undertake the FIFA Master programme, a year-long learning adventure that paved the way for a nearly decade-long tenure with FIFA in Zurich, where I worked in various roles, including corporate communications, content production, and campaign management.
My journey has taken me across the globe, allowing me to meet and collaborate with incredible individuals and legends of the game. Among my recent accomplishments, I had the honour of being part of the team that delivered the most successful FIFA Women's World Cup ever, in Australia and New Zealand.
Now, with a wealth of experience and a vast industry network behind me, I've launched Scoop Communications. My passion lies in storytelling and turning ideas into reality. I'm excited to work with diverse clients and organisations and to make real and lasting connections. I’m based in Sydney, but my office is global!
Fox Sports, where I had the unique responsibility of managing the Fox Sports Ticker. If you've ever watched Fox Sports News, you'll know that scrolling "breaking news" text at the bottom of the screen - we were the team behind it! Our mission? To keep that ticker constantly updated with the latest news and, just as importantly, to ensure not a single spelling error slipped through. It was a fast-paced, detail-oriented start to my career in sports media.
One thing you would change about the communications industry:
To promote greater diversity and inclusion, particularly by empowering and supporting more women. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done in ensuring that women are well-represented at all levels of the industry. A more diverse and gender-inclusive industry not only reflects the reality of our global society but also leads to richer, more innovative, and more effective communication strategies. It's about amplifying a wide range of voices to drive positive change.
Most admired person in comms:
Melanie McLaughlin is someone I deeply admire in the world of sports communications. Mel is not only incredibly talented and smart, but she's also passionate about lifting others up and making a positive impact. Throughout her remarkable career, she has consistently stayed true to herself, maintained an unwavering dedication to excellence, and brushed aside any negativity or noise.
Since my return to Australia after nearly a decade abroad, Mel has been an invaluable source of support, both personally and professionally. Her loyalty and unwavering encouragement are constant reminders of my achievements. It's an honour to share her orbit, as she's a true rockstar in her own right, and I'm grateful to call her a friend.
Most admired journalist:
In the Australian context, my admiration goes to Tracey Holmes. She's not only a seasoned sports journalist but also a fearless trailblazer in an industry traditionally dominated by men. Tracey's ability to push the envelope and ask the big questions is truly remarkable. What sets her apart is her incredible fairness and the unique talent to see both sides of the story. Her tenacity and down-to-earth demeanour make her a role model for anyone aspiring to thrive in the world of journalism or sports media more broadly. Tracey embodies the spirit of fearless reporting and genuine curiosity that makes her an exceptional journalist and a wonderful person.
Advice to anyone starting out in comms:
Never stop learning. The industry is dynamic, and staying updated on the latest trends, tools, and technologies is crucial. Build a strong network of mentors and peers who can offer guidance and support. And always remember, effective communication is about listening as much as it is about speaking.
Essential daily reading:
My daily reading is a mix of online sources that keep me informed even with a busy schedule. I turn to The Daily Aus for quick news bites, perfect for my on-the-go lifestyle. When it comes to local insights, I can’t go past the Sydney Morning Herald, especially to see what Vince Rugari is uncovering - his sports reporting is top-notch. For a broader global view, I rely on the BBC for world news. And, of course, I can't go without the trusted ABC in Australia, which covers everything I need to know. Twitter (or X) is also still the best place for real-time insights and banter, too.
I'll be brutally honest, I haven't properly read a book since my four-year-old daughter was born! Life has a way of keeping us busy, right? But I'm definitely open to recommendations, and I'd love to dive into something new. When it comes to reading, I'm all about escapism, so I lean towards light-hearted and enjoyable reads that offer a great distraction from the daily grind. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share!
Two of my absolute favourites are Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Jerry Maguire. Ferris Bueller teaches us to embrace spontaneity, enjoy life's adventures and worry about the repercussions later, while Jerry Maguire reminds us of the value of authenticity and meaningful relationships. These films are my go-to for a good dose of fun, inspiration and nostalgia.
My ideal holiday? A remote tropical island with white sandy beaches, endless sunshine, free-flowing champagne, a peaceful nap, good tunes and a book.
Clickbait fact about you:
Ever organised a media panel featuring Ronaldinho, Maradona, and Carli Lloyd in a shopping centre in Bahrain? Yep, that happened, and I have the photo to prove it. Football has taken me to the most wonderful and unexpected places, working alongside some of the biggest names in football. It's a reminder that the beautiful game can lead to the most extraordinary adventures (and stories!).
In my career, I've lived by this motto from day one: "Chase the dream, not the competition." It's a friendly reminder to stay focused on your own path and goals, without worrying too much about what others are doing. This mantra has not only kept me on track but has also encouraged me to pursue my passions with dedication and a sense of purpose.