Katrina Merican has combined her technical skills in accountancy with her passion for the entertainment industry, forging a dynamic career in a space that people typically view as highly competitive and tough to break into. After completing a Bachelor of Business at RMIT in 2010 she found herself struggling to find a position that piqued her interest, so when the opportunity arose to interview with the globally-renowned Mushroom Group she jumped at it.
Speaking about it now Katrina believes it was her previous experience on stage that ended up scoring her the job. “Being in the finance industry, being in the entertainment industry, you can’t be fazed by lights, showbiz, and the industry in general,” explains Katrina. “I used to perform when I was younger [as a ballerina in Malaysia and Germany] so what I said to them was ‘it’s not going to faze me because I don’t want to be on the stage anymore … but I know what it’s like.’”
Since its inception in 1973 as Mushroom Records and Mushroom Music Publishing, Mushroom has expanded to encompass nearly two dozen specialist brands, including international and domestic touring, booking agencies, record labels, merchandising, music publishing, creative and marketing services, venues, exhibition and events production, and film and television production. Working within the finance department for seven years, Katrina has seen, and been a part of, that incredible growth.
Starting off as a junior accountant, Katrina’s own role has also expanded and evolved over time – shifting from merchandising, to financing music records, to payroll to, now, looking after the touring company and her favourite event, A Day on the Green. “We’re not just a number here … we grow together and you can see that in the way my role has changed over time," says Katrina.
Katrina’s favourite part about her job is being able to see projects through from start to finish, from working with the touring managers to finance something, to actually watching an event unfold and seeing a musician perform. That combination of tangible results and creativity is the unexpected but highly enjoyable reality of what she does. “It’s different,” says Katrina. “You are still capable of doing [everyday accounting] but at the same time you’re in a position that’s so vibrant. I think it comes with industry, [you need to] find the industry that you love.”
We took a tour around the Mushroom Group's offices and asked Katrina some questions. Read her answers below.
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