Say Hello To One Of Our Amazing B&T Bootcamp Mentors: Katie Rigg-Smith

Say Hello To One Of Our Amazing B&T Bootcamp Mentors: Katie Rigg-Smith
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Have you heard the good news? B&T Bootcamp is back! Following a successful inaugural event last year, one of the best and most educational days on the industry calendar is returning in 2019, presented once again by MediaCom.

B&T Bootcamp is just under six weeks away, so never fear, there’s still time to grab some tix (but don’t dilly dally because tickets go fast!)

In the lead up to this not-to-be-missed event we thought we’d interview some of the amazing mentors you’ll hear from on the day, and their thoughts on all things media, marketing and advertising. We’re kicking things off with Katie Rigg-Smith, CEO of Mindshare Australasia.

Katie Rigg-Smith has been CEO of Mindshare since 2013, and has been with the agency for 20 years. After starting at the agency as an intern, she quickly rose through the ranks and became known as one of the brightest strategist minds in Australia. Prior to being named CEO, Katie was Mindshare’s National Chief Strategy Officer.

Throughout her career Katie has been recognised both nationally and internationally for her work and contribution to the media industry. Accolades include being named in the Top 5 of the Annual B&T Women in Media Power list in 2018, and appearing in the Top 10 every year since 2013. She has also featured in the AdNews Power List for the past three years and was also named as the only media person within the Adnews Top Ten Women to Watch in 2013, Australia’s Top 40 under 40 in 2012.

Check out our interview with her below!

How vital are young people to the media industry? 

We don’t have an industry without them. It’s that simple!

How are young people “disrupting” the media industry?

They bring fresh perspectives particularly to technology and an energy to want to be part of something big. The generation coming up in our industry now, and those young people just starting out, don’t see the distinctions and lines that existed before, and this means they see media and brands as fluid and part of a bigger ecosystem – not siloed channels.

What can the industry do to attract and retain young talent?

Automate the mundane administrative tasks, continue to focus on culture and creating places to work that are inclusive and they want to be part of.  Be realistic about expectations. There is a need to learn the basics first and there needs to be expectations set around what that looks like, as it isn’t always insta-glamourous. That said, there also needs to be ways to bring the young talent into bigger projects so they can observe, contribute in brain storms or ideation sessions and see how the work they are learning today is part of a bigger picture of work the agency is delivering.

What’s the biggest challenge young people face in the media industry?

I think this applies to any age in our industry but it’s keeping perspective on what is important and learning to use technology for good. Harnessed for good, technology allows flexibility in the work place and the ability to be more efficient with work.  Used badly though, and it distracts from a focused task at hand; it means we feel pressure to always be on and connected to our job; it means we can receive and send angry messages at any time of day or night, which all can lead to increased stress and the inability to have clear head-space to get the simple tasks at hand done.


How can young people avoid ‘burn-out’ and create a better work-life balance while working in the industry?

Learning to be in control of their diary, factor in time to actually do the work, not just attend meetings, turn email off after hours and basically communicate what their boundaries and what balance looks like for them to their manager as it is an individual thing for each person.  However, they also need to understand that it is give and take and if balance means going to the gym for a couple of hours to that individual during the day, then the expectation can’t be to also leave work at 5pm.

How important is ‘passion’ in the industry?

I have personally found it to be the bedrock of my career because it is the one thing I come back to even on some of the hardest days. I am incredibly passionate about how media can play a role in driving business growth for our clients, and I am passionate for the ideas and the people I get to work with. Without that, I personally would not be still in the industry 20 years later.

How can the industry work towards creating a more diverse workforce?

Having the discussions, putting in place proper HR processes that ensure diversity is being recognised and there is no unconscious bias, and lastly just celebrating the fact that with diversity comes a wonderful range of ideas and thinking that will only make us all better.

What was your biggest learning as a young ‘adlander’?

There are so many opportunities and areas of the industry to learn about and be part of and it is a case of putting your hand up, putting in the hard work and not being afraid to get out of your comfort zone.

If you could re-do the start of your career, what would you change?

Learn the simple art of controlling my diary to make sure my time was effective and spent doing the things that mattered – like looking to solve a client’s business problem, not just having the meetings about it. It meant that for the longest period of time my work was delegated to after hours and weekends, which is simply not sustainable or healthy.

What wouldn’t you change?

Beyond that I wouldn’t change anything to be honest.  The mistakes I have made, the losses and the times I have felt like I have failed have often taught me so much.  The leaps of faith in the roles I have taken have also been a core part that I look back on and am really proud of. I really value my path through the industry from being an intern, through to investment roles, to strategic roles and right up to leading the agency.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give young people starting out in the industry?

Learn your craft!  Be amazing at each role you are given, focus on the work rather than what other people are doing and build up your credibility and knowledge so there is no doubt when you are ready to take the next step.

B&T Bootcamp takes place on 18th March at the Federation Conference Centre in Surry Hills. Check out the full line-up on the website and grab your tickets today!

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