Daniela Penno, PRFriday, February 10, 2017
Taste of Sydney
For The Herald
Lives: Sydney, Australia
Born: Santa Fe city
Education: Degree in Communications from Universidad Católica de Santa Fe
Occupation: Founder of Latin PR and Artisan Malbec
Currently reading: A book
Last seen: Breaking Bad
Favourite gadget: my screenshot function
Keen to gain some experience working abroad, PR Daniela Penno and her husband obtained working visas for Australia with the intention of staying for a couple of years. A decade on, the couple lives in Sydney and Daniela runs her own PR firm.
Daniela says: “My husband Germán and I wanted to have an experience living in a foreign country for a few years. I wanted to improve my English and work in a different culture. He’s an engineer while I work in public relations so we had opportunities to work in both industries in Australia. We undertook all the visa part in advance and came with permanent residencies. And we are still here 10 years later!”
Choosing Sydney as their base, a decade on the couple still live in the dynamic city. Daniela says: “We came to Sydney and have lived here the whole time. It has everything in terms of a metropolitan city with good job opportunities teamed with a very decent quality of life in terms of life and outdoor activities. There are some beautiful beaches here, so you can work until 5pm then go to the beach.
“Australians are very kind and welcoming to immigrants and I really appreciated that in the beginning. They are very keen to socialise, open-minded and keen to get to know other cultures, though their background comes from the English, which can be too polite for us Argentines! We are very passionate and work with a lot of initiative and Australians can be more distant in the way they relate to people. But because they are close to the beach and so many outdoor activities, there’s a healthy social life here so it’s a good combination.”
While she started out working for agencies, food and wine expert Daniela took the plunge to open her own agency four years ago. “In the early days I simply wanted to gain some experience here. After a few years, I realised there was a big interest in Latin American culture in Australia, not only from a wine point of view but also food and lifestyle. I set up Latin PR four years ago, recruiting Australians as well as other Latin Americans. I also import Argentine wines under Artisan Malbec with a focus on Malbec, which not many people know about in Australia, and run a wine club that stretches over to New Zealand.”
The couple recently bought a property and live in the Lane Cove district. She adds: “Our apartment is brand-new and has a nice backyard: my husband's only request was to have an Argentine-style barbecue. He built his own authentic, brick barbecue on our small patio.
“Sydney is one of the most expensive cities to buy in. We live close to a national reserve and bush so we're surrounded by birds and greenery. I’m 15 minutes from the Harbour bridge; it isn’t so common to live in a nice area and be close to the city, while I also get to enjoy nature. It’s a privilege to live in this area.”
The food and drinks fan is in her element in this melting-pot of a city, sampling and tasting when she can. Daniela adds: “I love trying different food so we go out every week, for example, yesterday we went to a Chinese market – so I try to discover new things. I also love trying wine and travel to nearby wine regions every two months. Summer is long in Sydney so from November to April, we try to go to the beach twice a week. My husband kite-surfs while I try to surf, though it’s a bit difficult. I keep trying, though!”
As for friends, that melting-pot continues. “Immigration is huge in this part of the world. It’s nice to work with so many nationalities all the time. I have a mixture of friends. Thanks to work, I have a lot of Latin American friends and my circles are people from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peruvians and Brazilians and I met most of my Australian friends through work.”
The Santa Fe transplant has visited all the main cities in Australia, though she says there’s no place like her adopted home. “I travel a lot for work to the main cities and Melbourne, for example, is great for foodies. I enjoy shopping and going to restaurants there. It's a more European city, very glamorous with good nightlife, and it's nice to go in winter as it’s too hot in summer. The Gold Coast is amazing too, while further north you can find the Sunshine Coast.
“And I’ll never forget the Great Barrier Reef. You can’t believe what you are seeing: so many colourful fish and you’re in the middle of the ocean. You can snorkel or dive. It’s amazing, a really beautiful experience. But every time I come home to Sydney I always find it has a little piece of everything – it’s cosmopolitan, the mixture of people, nature – so I am still very happy with the city I chose to live in.”
Besides her friends and family, night owl Daniela misses Argentina's late hours. “I still miss Argentina nightlife – Australia could do with more of it! The latest you can order in a restaurant is 10pm. Australia is a morning culture, and people get up and do sports before going to work. I’m a night person, though, and I still miss it!”
As for her most Australian characteristic, the PR is more open-minded. She adds: “You live together with so many different races and that gives you more knowledge. I enjoy that so I’m more open-minded towards learning about new cultures. There are so many problems around the world and I appreciate living in a place where you can express your background – it’s very welcoming.”