Few may know the dedication Susan Redden Makatoa, group managing director, corporate at Ogilvy PR, has to her 80s music and RM William boots, and yet she bares all to be a part of the B&T Industry Profiles.
If you could be Prime Minister for a week, what would you do?
With my Chair of Executive Women Australia hat on, this one’s easy. Appoint more women to Cabinet. Set quotas for government executive positions and boards. Create education programs for females school leavers so they are better equipped to negotiate salaries, start saving for themselves from the start, and show them that female leadership is needed and wanted in this country. Restore funding to domestic violence services. Increase flexible work arrangements for mothers AND fathers. Remove the means test for childcare rebates and expand it to cover preschools and nannies. Wait, can I have another week?
What’s piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Take feedback as it’s intended – to improve your performance. Stop spending so much time coming up with reasons why the messenger is wrong and must be out to get you. Oh, and the Poppy matt lipsticks are not for you.
What’s your proudest career moment to date?
It’s a toss-up between my team winning a swag of awards for the Evocities program (which encouraged people to relocate to seven regional cities, including Wagga) and this year my colleagues winning an award for their work campaigning for Peter Greste’s release.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Running a bookshop serving tea on mismatched crockery and spending too much time discussing novels with customers to make much of a profit.
What makes good leadership?
Deep listening and involving people in decision making and giving them room to have ideas. I still don’t always get this right, but trust me, I’m trying.
What’s been your most challenging career moment?
Taking on this role (group managing director, corporate). Everything’s much bigger – the scale of the projects, the size of the team, the names of the clients. It’s been quite the ride and I’ve learned so much. The highlight would have to be my team, who are just quietly much smarter than me.
What would you change about the industry?
I’d love to see the industry get together and do some advocacy. PR’s reputation needs a polish in some quarters and I’m wondering why we’re not all “physician, heal thyself”.
What’s your quirkiest attribute?
My husband laughed nervously and refused to answer this question when I lobbed it at him. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t I twitch my nose in an adorable, bunny-like way.
Tea or coffee?
Tea, Orange Pekoe. By the gallon.