Cathy Wagstaff

Cathy Wagstaff
Q. Give us a snapshot of your career to date and an overview of your current role?
I am the CEO and Group Editor at Signature Media, Australia’s largest independent travel publisher. Our titles include Signature Luxury Travel & Style, Vacations & Travel, LATTE Luxury News, Holidays with Kids, Ski & Snowboard with Kids and Caravan & Camping with Kids. We also have a custom publishing arm producing ebooks and print titles for our clients.

Prior to starting Signature Media I worked for leading Australian publishers including roles at ACP, Federal Publishing and Text Media. This gave me the skills, knowledge and experience to found my own media company.
Q. What are you looking for from PRs – what kind of pitch would get an immediate response?
A valid pitch that truly aligns with our titles and is of interest and value to our reader. Please include substance - key facts, quotes and interesting information, as well as high resolution images and video.
Q. How does your team like being pitched to?
An email in the first instance and a follow up phone call a week later, again, only if the pitch truly aligns with our titles.
Q. What do you love about your job?
I love our team. We are all passionate about creating the best travel titles in the industry. We work well together and achieve each and every one of the business goals we set. I love that I’m able to travel to incredible destinations, not just for pleasure but also to pertinent trade shows so that I can keep abreast with the latest travel trends, insights and developments.
Q. What's the downside?
When there are so many positives about working in the travel industry - pleasant people, great industry events, and of course, travel - it can take its toll and sometimes it can be quite exhausting. I dream of days curled up in bed watching movies and reading books or an actual holiday with no work commitments.
Q. What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you during your career?
I was at a gala event as a part of a mega famil with journalists from all of the world. The organisers had separate tables for every country. I was the only journalist from Australia and they sat me at a table by myself, right at the front! I felt so embarrassed as everyone was looking at me sitting by myself. I asked if my driver could come and sit with me but he wasn’t allowed in. Not sure why they didn’t just put me with the Kiwis on their table!
Q. What’s your greatest achievement?
Building a successful media company without external investors, input or management. I built Signature Media from the ground up and we now have an incredible team of some of Australia’s best travel editors and writers as well as our sales, marketing and operations teams.

Our titles are all leaders in their field, if not the only. LATTE Luxury News is the first and only Australian luxury travel trade title. Holidays with Kids was launched in 1999 when the concept of family travel was in its infancy and is now a booming US$500 billion dollar industry.

I launched Signature Luxury Travel & Style mid-GFC and it has withstood the test of time, celebrating its 14th anniversary this year and going from strength to strength. This magazine has also provided inspiration to other publishers.
Q. Describe a typical day?
I start with a walk into Manly for coffee before heading into our Chatswood office. As we publish 14 print titles a year as well as daily digital content and custom client titles you can imagine we’re always busy. Depending on the closest deadline that is most likely what I’m working on. I’ll discuss content with our editorial team, opportunities with our sales team and go over layouts with our graphic designer to ensure each and every print layout is perfect at capturing the reader’s attention and accurately showcasing the destination, property or event.

I am very hands on and would not change a thing. Most days I will also have a PR meeting, client lunch or dinner event to attend. Add into that replying to the 1,000's of emails that land in my inbox each day and that’s as close to a typical day as it gets.
Q. If you weren't doing what you do now… what would you be doing?
I've never wanted to do anything else, this is my passion and I am so grateful every day that this is what I get to do for work.
Q. Your contacts: