The boss of NOVA Entertainment, Cathy O’Connor, is today’s Women In Media profile. Here, she talks triumphs, perfectionism and an affection for a certain member of the Murdoch clan…
What’s your ultimate career goal?
Leading a media business successfully into the digital future.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
The launch of smoothfm in Sydney and Melbourne comes to mind because, apart from its growth and success in revenue and ratings, to me it is a demonstration of all that I’ve learned through experiences and even mistakes. Great brands are simple ideas, executed well. I think smooth is a demonstration of that and the fact that we created it in a crowded radio market, makes the achievements all the more satisfying. It’s pleasing to have created such a strong media brand and it’s got loads more potential.
What are your passions, both in work and outside of it?
At work, it’s great content in any form and working with talent. Outside of work it’s family, friends, fitness and travel.
What makes you tick?
Competitive spirit, healthy doses of stamina and, I must admit, a touch of perfectionism… although I’ve learned to temper that somewhat.
How do you get others onboard with your vision?
Enthusiasm for the vision you have set is infectious, so staff want to see me, above all, optimistic and driven around the future. That generally involves as much face-to-face communication as is practical. But vision also needs to be supported by compelling data and well thought out reasoning, so planning and preparation are also a really important part. Then it’s the day-to-day work on processes that embed the vision with the next layer of management, as they need to lead it as much as you do.
Who’s your industry hero and why?
Lachlan Murdoch is an amazing leader and has taught me to think big. Paul Thompson for creating a great radio company in the late 80’s – Austereo – and then doing it again in the 2000’s by building a profoundly different company, but equally successful, in the same radio sector – dmg Radio, now Nova Entertainment.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d studied harder at uni/college?
Technology – although no university taught it in media courses when I was a student!
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