Women In Media: It’s Deepend’s MD Kath Blackham

Women In Media: It’s Deepend’s MD Kath Blackham

Don’t say we don’t spoil you! Today’s B&T Women in Media profile is none other than Kath Blackham, MD of marketing and communications firm Deepend. Here she talks how she got where she is, how it all fell into place and why 20-year-olds should just sit back and enjoy it…

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

My father has been in marketing my whole life…
And I went to my first business meeting with him when I was three-years-old, so you could say that I was groomed for this industry right from the start. He apparently told me in that first meeting that the first rule of meetings was to keep quiet and listen, which I took so seriously that I sat there and wet myself rather than ask to go to the toilet!

I have been lucky enough to never really experience a glass ceiling of any sort in my career…
And I’ve made it one of my life goals to create that same experience for other women who work with me. Being shortlisted for the B&T Women in Media Awards and being recognised for supporting women in our industry is definitely one of my biggest career achievements to date.

My ultimate career goal has always been…
To start my own successful company, so I guess I’m well on the way to achieving that. I now have two children, so my main focus is balancing that with being the best possible leader.

If I wasn’t in this role I’d be a good talk show host…
Anyone that knows me will tell you I talk a lot, so I would probably be doing another job that lets me to do that everyday.

I’m very passionate about our industry providing staff more flexibility so they can make time for their lives outside of work…
Everyone at Deepend is offered flexibility to work in the way that works for them, whether its part time, shorter days, five days over seven or working from home, and we’ve managed to make it work. I think we often think clients won’t accept speaking to someone while they are at home but we find that they don’t mind at all.

I think as an industry we undervalue ourselves as marketing consultants a lot of the time
The management consultancies, lawyers and accountants have managed to get it right but we, as an industry, have always struggled.

My family is my number one passion at this point…
I love to be as involved as I can be with my children’s education so you can find me in various committee meetings when I’m not at work. At work, I have become obsessed with building the best culture I possibly can and I am constantly trying new initiatives to improve the culture at Deepend. I believe creating an environment where people are happy and invigorated will enable them to produce great work that they are proud of. In the past 12 months alone at Deepend we have introduced free yoga and meditation classes for all of our staff, and a constant supply of organic fresh fruit. Here in the Melbourne office, we also have 3pm daily walks for all staff to stretch and clear their minds and even adopted an office dog Milo, (or Director of Cuddles) on the well published concept that animals in offices can improve morale and team bonding.

I think true leadership is…
Allowing your team to be amazing by themselves whilst being there to support them 100 per cent when things don’t go to plan. Great leadership is about making sure your team feel like they have achieved great things rather than just implementing your plan.

I am a glass half full kind of a girl…
So it’s rare for something to not make me tick! I always see the opportunity and have to be careful that I’m not seeing situations with rose tinted glasses. I’m also incredibly passionate about everything I do and I can be found using words such as ‘fantastic’ or ‘amazing’ in excess.

I don’t ever put together a vision in isolation.
The team are already on board because my vision is actually our vision right from the start. For me, its all about constant consultation with the whole team so everyone feels they are contributing.

I think the most exciting thing that is happening in the digital industry is how influential it is in the health space at the moment…
Traditionally we haven’t worked in an industry that is saving lives every day but I feel like that is changing. Technology has the ability to help millions of people diagnose and manage their illnesses and I’m excited to be part of this. Deepend has always been a very socially conscious agency where much of the work we undertake is driven by our teams’ individual passions and dedication to social justice, building better communities and connecting and empowering people via digital. I am tremendously proud of some of the projects we have taken part in over the past few years, such as the National Stroke Foundation’s enableme, which supports stroke survivors through their post stroke journey. Seeing Deepend’s projects positively impact on people’s lives couldn’t make me happier.

We always look for staff, partners and clients that share our belief structure…
We’re a triple bottom line business so everything we do at Deepend is about making sure it’s good for the company, good for the community and good for the planet. If we find people that share these values then we know we’re onto something.

What five words would your staff use to describe you?
Driven, passionate, intuitive, compassionate and courageous.

The campaign by Always, called ‘Like a Girl’ is my favourite campaign at the moment…
It’s about 12 months old but I think it is as relevant today as it was 12 months ago and I hope the Always brand keeps doing work like this in the years to come.

I think everyone thinks about giving up when times get tough…
When you own and run your own business, however, that isn’t really an option. I absolutely love what I do and hope I’ll be doing this in 10 years time but I’m sure there will be times over that ten year period when I want to give up and I just need to remind myself that good times are ahead!

I would say to my 20-year-old self: ‘I wish I was you!’
Enjoy your 20s because in 15 years you’ll have two children and will be running your own business so you will have next to no time for yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff and take every opportunity that comes your way. You are going to have a ball.

I believe passionately in equality for all so if I was Prime Minister for a week
My seven days would be spent making sure everyone has the right to marry whoever they want, we support Australia’s first people so they have the same opportunity as every other Australian, and ensuring that everything has been done to stamp out any racism that currently exists in Australia.

Kate Vale is my industry hero…
Kate is one of the smartest women I know. She started Google in Australia and New Zealand and then went onto start Spotify in Australia and New Zealand so she knows how to pick a winner. She is a great operator and understands what it takes to build an amazing culture.

Make sure you grab some tickets to the event here! B&T’s proud Women in Media sponsors include…Sponsor-bar3-330x280