Don’t say B&T’s Women In Media doesn’t continue to surprise! Today we probe none other than the fabulous Tara Lordsmith, group general manager at Myer. Here, she talks what drives her, a love of all things fashion and finishing her first triathlon…
What’s your back story in a nutshell (the non-LinkedIn one?)
I moved around a lot as a kid and think it created a love of diversity and variety in the work I do. I went to private schools most of my life (which I didn’t enjoy) and when I turned 17 I graduated and left home. Freedom began. I immediately started a business accounting degree and by the second term I’d quickly shifted my major to marketing and never looked back. Retail work paid the bills then and retail is paying the bills again now.
If you weren’t doing this particular job, what would you be doing?
I’d have my own business. I loved it when I was 100 per cent working in my own consultancy Lordsmith and Co and will one day go back to it.
What’s your ultimate career goal?
Working because I want to, not because I have to.
Who’s your industry hero?
Andy Lark. Always has been since he arrived in Australia and elevated the profession of marketing in this country. Amazing guy who is a major advocate for women.
What are your passions?
I seriously love fashion. I’m aesthetically driven and understand the importance of how fashion makes people feel. It’s highly subjective, self expressive and emotionally engaging. A perfect storm for a marketer like me.
How do you define leadership?
Leadership to me is about inspiring others to achieve great outcomes. To lead by example and not be afraid to get your hands dirty.
What makes you tick and go that extra mile to do what you do?
I want more women to be recognised as change agents and senior leaders in organisations. That’s always been something I’ve been passionate about.
How do you get others onboard with your vision?
Make it easier for them to love their job. We try and make it easier for customers to love our brand, the same applies with our staff.
What are the qualities you seek in people you want to partner with and work with?
Big picture thinking, intuition, initiative and brutal honesty.
What five words would your staff use to describe you?
Energetic, strategic, commercial, encouraging, straight talking.
What’s been your favourite advertising/marketing campaign from the past 12 months?
Seek….and you shall find. Simple and to the point.
Proudest career moment?
Winner of 2008 Marketer of the Year Award.
Proudest personal moment?
Graduating from Australian Institute of Company Directors and joining two boards were a personal achievement I conquered. Oh…and doing a triathlon after my first child was a highlight!
How do you manage the juggling act with family and wanting to be ‘present’ for your children and partner?
I have an amazing husband who has been main carer to our beautiful daughters. He’s enabled me to have the best of both worlds.
What’s the best thing about working in the industry?
What’s the worst thing about working the industry?
As a woman can you ‘have it all’?
If you have a supportive network then yes I think you can.
Do you think the glass ceiling still exists?
Glass can be broken. It comes down to what you want and how hard you want to work for it.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
I really don’t like giving up, but I certainly have chosen to change direction at certain points in my life. Moving into fashion after 20 years in food and beverage was one of those moments.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Keep working hard while you are young, it will be worth it.
What advice would you give a female graduate or a newbie contemplating in the media/advertising/marketing industry?
Work hard but have fun. Be curious, be driven and be opinionated because this is a subjective discipline.