From touring Australia with Oprah Winfrey to helping Malaysia Airlines recover from tragedy, Deakin alumnus Anthony Cohen’s career has taken him far and wide. Anthony sees his most recent venture ProjectDisplaced as a way to assist the industries and people that he loves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about Anthony
Workers in industries like aviation, the arts and hospitality have been some of the hardest hit by job losses as a result of COVID-19, and Anthony Cohen was shocked to see the impact it has had on his former colleagues and the wider community.
'I thought, is there a way to help these people in some sort of organised way?' said Anthony.
After some discussion and a flurry of positive feedback on LinkedIn and Facebook, Anthony has created an online database of displaced airline, arts, tourism, and hospitality workers looking for new roles, enabling recruiters and businesses to match with people looking for work. As well as the practical function of helping these people to find jobs, he hopes the website will serve as a hub – providing helpful links, CV templates and other advice to empower job seekers who may not have had to go through this process for some time.
'This is also about creating a sense of community within specific industries affected, and giving them one central place to visit'.
'I’d like to think we come out of this more aware of our humanity, vulnerability, our need to upskill and having learned new ways to work. Hopefully also with clearer understandings of ourselves and our loved ones,' said Anthony.
Anthony brings significant experience and networks to this initiative, having enjoyed a wide-ranging career across a number of industries. He worked with Qantas for over sixteen years in customer service and marketing roles, rising to Head of Brand Design & Marketing Programs, with a highlight being his work on Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Ultimate Australian Adventure’ tour.
'That tour was an incredible experience. I remember that Oprah’s Chief Marketing Officer was adamant that while Oprah is the world’s greatest living brand, the most important focus was looking after her as a human being,' said Anthony.
It was during his time with Qantas that Anthony completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management at Deakin.
'I’ve always loved the arts and management, so the course was a perfect fit for me. Getting to know the amazing people in that community as part of the program was fantastic, and returning to study online was great. The academic team were down to earth, welcoming and available, and you didn’t feel that you were distanced despite online learning,' said Anthony.
He moved on from Qantas to work in consulting, working with Malaysia Airlines following the disappearance of MH370 and the MH17 accident. He then worked in executive roles with NBN Australia and the Star Entertainment Group before founding TakeOnBoard, a network of passionate independent leadership consultants, creatives, brand strategists, public relations, and talent agents. Anthony credits his ability to succeed in a range of fields to his openness to embrace new challenges and opportunities and his trust in his mentors, support network and the experience he has gained.
When asked if he would give any advice to graduates wanting to pursue work in similar fields, Anthony said, 'Be open to exploring every opportunity that comes your way, don’t be defined by your pre-conceived ideas of what you want to be doing and where you want to be going. By all means, have ambition and vision, but keep your mind open as things come up.'
Reflecting on how the world might change as a result of this crisis, Anthony encourages people to 'look after yourself, this will end, the world will be different, but there will be other opportunities and new ways of engaging with the world. I hope this project helps to give people optimism and helps them feel like all is not lost. This is a big glitch, but it will also create some new opportunities along the way.'
Deakin alumni can also explore Deakin’s own award-winning careers hub DeakinTALENT, which is an anytime-anywhere careers and employment service for Deakin students and alumni. The DeakinTALENT website provides an extensive suite of digital resources including CV templates, online workshops, a 24/7 employer expo and much more.
Deakin’s arts and cultural management program is one of Australia’s longest running post graduate professional development programs for arts managers and people working in the creative industries. The demand for the Deakin program has risen in line with the increasing need for graduates in the arts and creative industries sectors to have business and management skills. This program is delivered entirely online which makes it ideal for students, like Anthony, who are balancing study with their busy careers and work commitments.