Meet Our Marketing & PR Winners From B&T 30 Under 30!

Meet Our Marketing & PR Winners From B&T 30 Under 30!

There were a lot of fabulously talented people given some smashing praise for for their work at last Thursday’s B&T 30 Under 30 Awards. And to keep the good times rolling, we’ve been introducing our audience to the young guns from each section of the industry.

Below we have the five creative individuals who nabbed a coveted B&T 30 Under 30 Award for their work in Marketing & PR, posing with awards presenter and national sales manager Richard Lehocz.

So if you were too drunk at the awards to catch the winners, or you want a cool article to send to your nan, we’ve got you covered. You can also catch all the winners here and photos here, as well as the winners of the Media category and the Advertising & Design category on these snazzy links here.

Sophie Richards – Brand campaign manager at Virgin Mobile

If you could choose a co-pilot to save a sinking ship, Sophie is the one you’d want at the helm. At least, that’s the view of her boss at Virgin Mobile Serina Saroian. “Sophie’s forward thinking, super bright, sharp, enthusiastic, trustworthy and relentlessly hard-working – and all this amidst being sensitive to others, calm and caring but super-duper fun.”

This seems to be the general consensus of Sophie and her work style. When she first joined JWT in 2010 she quickly realised enthusiasm and hard work get you a long way, particularly shown by her client’s request to interview her because of her bubbly and switched-on nature.

However, while the wine trolley was always overflowing in agency land, Sophie felt the call to go client side and, from a pool of 400 applications, was chosen as brand marketing executive at Virgin Mobile in 2013.

She’s widely recognised as a star among the Virgin Mobile offices too, having been nominated by the Virgin Mobile CEO to attend a small, intimate breakfast with the big wig of the Virgin Group, Josh Bayliss. Success to Sophie is ‘working with purpose’ – something Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson has said before and was reiterated to Sophie when meeting Josh Bayliss.

With her eventual desire to start a family, the lack of part-time and flexible roles is worrying, she says. “Coupled with the stigma attached with wanting to seek such work, it’s a testing time for mothers looking to re-enter the workforce.”

Still, there’s progress being made, and she hopes companies will actively take a role in addressing flexibility and supporting women who may change up their careers because of other priorities. “If not, we will continue to lose talented, savvy, knowledgeable women and what a shame that is.”

Sophie Richards

Michael Stocks – Associate product marketing manager at Google

Michael is the one you’re jealous of in high school. The one with brilliant grades who graduates with a near perfect ATAR, a full scholarship to study marketing in Sydney and grabbing the Woolworths & GradConnection Prize for Australia’s Top Commerce Graduate out of 2500 people. He then goes on to work for Google.

Envious yet? While studying at uni Michael co-founded a gen Y strategy agency called Young Wisdom where the team developed social campaigns and content for a range of different clients. While the company started out as a hobby, it soon transpired to see Michael leave his part-time job and lend more attention to Young Wisdom. “Knowing when and how to take calculated risks with your career is a key skill that leaders need,” he says.

So when the call of Google came, Michael made the hard decision to leave Young Wisdom and joined one of the most valuable companies in the world as product marketing manager for YouTube, and the editor of Think with Google, the company’s B2B content marketing platform.

His various roles within the industry have enabled Michael to jet all over the world. However he feels having experience in the Asian market is key to future success. So far he’s worked in India, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong.

But his next big adventure is packing up Down Under and moving across the oceans to Google’s US office. Best of luck to him!


Ishtar Schneider – Senior Account Manager at Palin Communications

Talk about a PR extraordinaire! With a number of achievements already stuck to her name, Ishtar is a force to be reckoned with.

She finished her degree in the States and made the permanent leap to Sydney in 2012. After just six weeks she scored a gig at healthcare PR agency Palin Communications where she was tasked with a number of products and campaigns she had to spread the message about. Working her way up the chain Ishtar a senior account manager.

She has been shortlisted for the annual CommsCon award for Best New PR talent twice (2014/2015) and won the PRIA Golden Target Award (both in NSW and nationally) for Emerging PR Practitioner of the Year in 2014. She has developed team leadership skills, highlighted by the recognition her projects have received by numerous industry awards (PRIA, PRIME, CommsCon, SABRE APAC etc).

On top of that she is the current Chair of industry body PRIA’s New Emerging Practitioners Group, helping to drive engagement and education for other up and coming communications professionals across the industry.

However, the need for support of people with a similar level of experience in the PR field is a grating area for her. Nearly every conference Ishtar has attended, the same issue has been raised. Much of the issue comes from stress and burn out, but while the industry recognises there’s a problem, she says not enough is being fixed. “We agree it’s a problem, but nothing is being done.”


Gemma Anderson – Digital Marketing Strategist at Deakin University

After graduating with a bachelor of business (advertising) Gemma scored a gig at the Defence Force Recruiting as a specialist marketing consultant and after 10 months I was promoted to senior digital marketing officer where she was responsible for producing web content, improving user experience and increasing online enquiries.

After the Defence Force she heard the calling of digital strategy agency Isobar and hopped on over there as strategic planner. Here Gemma put her brain to work and strategised for the Defence Alumni Network, recognising members didn’t log back in to the group once they’d signed up. It was time for some member recruitment ideas! She managed to reduce inactive members to 43 per cent, down from 70, in just three months.

At the age of 25, she was offered the opportunity to build a digital services offering from scratch at Communicado. As the head of digital she built a profitable digital client portfolio that lead to the establishment of a four-member team within 12 months and had a new-business success rate of 90 per cent.

But now she’s found her spot as the digital strategist at Deakin University. Here she manages the experience team which covers strategy, marketing automation, digital media and production. Noting the rise of the machines, Gemma has led the introduction of marketing automation and programmatic media in-house.

Still, Gemma stresses marketers need to realise technology is an enabler, and not a replacement for strategy.

“Technology is ultimately invisible to users, what the customer remembers is the content. Marketers should instead be emphasising stronger creative and leveraging data to deliver personalised experiences that drive outcomes,” she says. “Technology helps makes this possible at scale, but becomes a meaningless and often expensive investment without a clear strategy.”

And when asked to describe herself in five words or less: “No-bullshit, passionate and driven.”


Tim Broxup – Digital Account Director at Haystac

Even while he was in uni Tim was thinking outside the box. He founded his own events marketing company called Skooled which targeted students. While it started small, it eventually incorporated big brands such as Red Bull, Nandos and STA Travel. At the peak of operations, Tim said he employed more than 100 students with a partner venue turnover that was at half a million solid British pounds. After a year of success, Tim sold his share for forty-two smackaroos and changed up his career to focus on digital marketing.

He joined Gul Watersports and forced the brand into the digital age. Here he helped develop the company’s digital marketing, PR strategy and launch a retail integrated e-commerce solution.

Using the profits from his business sale he cleared his student debt and funded his journey to Australia. Once he’d made it to our shores Tim joined the Dentsu Aegis network as an account manager for Haystac and worked on a range of projects with Dentsu Mitchell. In 2015 he was tasked with responding to a brief set by mammoth bank ANZ. To say it was successful is an understatement. ANZ called it its “most successful social media campaign to date”.

His up-to-date knowledge of all the technical bibs and bobs make him a great future leader. Too often he’s said he’s seen agencies say something they think is marvellous to a client, only to realise later it’s an out-of-date method.

“I stay up to date with technology updates through digital newsletters and personal research, now I’m putting this knowledge into practice,” he says.

Having recently been promoted to account director, leading a team of six with all his digital knowledge. “In the past year we’ve double in size with zero colleagues depart, for a PR agency in 2016 that’s definitely success.”



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