HOW I MAKE IT WORK... Kel­lie Sloane on why she turned her back on TV.

IN 2015, SLOANE LEFT BE­HIND A SUC­CESS­FUL TELE­VI­SION-PRE­SENT­ING CA­REER TO WORK FOR THE NON-PROFIT OR­GAN­I­SA­TION LIFE ED­U­CA­TION. HERE, SHE TALKS ABOUT SHUNNING THE SPOT­LIGHT

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - as told to Al­ley Pascoe

Start­ing out as a young jour­nal­ist, I wanted to be Jana Wendt. So when I moved from Ade­laide to Syd­ney for a role with the Nine Net­work in 1997 and they put me up in a har­bour­side apart­ment, it was beyond my wildest dreams.

One of the most ex­cit­ing times in my ca­reer was co-host­ing To­day with Karl Ste­fanovic in 2007. There’s some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary about three hours of live TV. You can have the Prime Min­is­ter in the stu­dio at the same time as U2. I re­mem­ber be­ing the first jour­nal­ist to have a per­sonal tour of John Tra­volta’s jet, and that story ran all over the world.

Of course, the re­al­ity of morn­ing TV is that it’s hard work. You have to get up at 3.30am and that’s not glam­orous. I didn’t cope well with the early starts.

I made the mis­take many women do and thought I could jug­gle it all. I’d work those early hours and then be a stay-ath­ome mum to three boys, with all of the stress that en­tails. I didn’t sup­port my­self enough and when you do that, things can crum­ble around you. When I col­lapsed live on air in 2007, it was the only time in my life that’s hap­pened. Un­for­tu­nately, when you col­lapse on na­tional TV, it’s a bit hard to for­get…

Tele­vi­sion is one of the most ex­cit­ing and en­joy­able pro­fes­sions and I thought I’d be in that line of work for life. Now I find my­self in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent phase with com­pletely dif­fer­ent am­bi­tions, but I’m just as ex­cited.

Just be­fore I changed ca­reers, I had three job of­fers on the ta­ble, but I knew TV was no longer what I wanted to do. I’d lost the am­bi­tion I once had for it and was forg­ing in­ter­ests off-air. I saw my fu­ture in a dif­fer­ent place. I made the de­ci­sion to say no to the of­fers and fo­cus on a fu­ture in­volv­ing boards and strate­gies. I sur­prised a few peo­ple when I did that, but I felt a sense of re­lief.

I be­came the CEO of Life Ed­u­ca­tion NSW in Au­gust 2015 and it was the most

dra­matic pro­fes­sional change. There was never a mo­ment I thought I couldn’t do it, though. I had been on the board of the char­ity and re­alised I had a pas­sion and a strat­egy for it. I re­ally be­lieve in the work we do and I’m ex­cited that [Life Ed­u­ca­tion’s mas­cot] Healthy Harold will see an ex­tra 30,000 kids in NSW this year.

I do miss get­ting my hair done for live tele­vi­sion, but that’s about it.

Life Ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams run na­tion­wide; lifee­d­u­ca­tion.org.au.

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