Women In Media Series: Joe Pollard, Telstra’s Media & Marketing Boss

Women In Media Series: Joe Pollard, Telstra’s Media & Marketing Boss

In B&T’s latest instalment of fantastic women in media today we talk to the fantastic Joe Pollard. Starting her career as a receptionist, Joe went on to be Nike’s global media director, boss at Ninemsn and now group manager director of media and marketing at Telstra. Now there’s a wide and varied CV…

Niki Waldegrave
Posted by Niki Waldegrave

What’s your back story in a nutshell (the non-LinkedIn one?)
I did not take the traditional degree and internship path in my career. My story is one of experience, hard work and learning on the job. It involved always asking and wanting more opportunities and more challenges. I was also confident to take risks and lateral moves to get experience and broaden my horizons – in fact all my vertical moves came after lateral changes.

Who or what inspired you to go into this industry?
I got into the industry by accident when I landed a job as a receptionist at J Walter Thompson so, in a way, the industry found me.

How do you define leadership?
The most important part of a leader’s success is the power of the people in their team. I never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself. It’s important to know your industry and help your teams understand the commercial spine of the business so they know where they are and how to get to where the business wants to go. Leaders also need to be confident to stick their neck out and take some risks.

What are the pearls of wisdom you know now, that you wish you knew when they were younger – or what advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Above all, be patient. Also, realise that you can have it all, just not all at once – if you find yourself in your mid-30s and feel like you’re the worst mother in the world, know that you’re not.

Proudest career moment/achievement
I’ve been lucky enough to have had three so far. The first was being offered a role as global media director at Nike when I was 30 years old. The next was when I became CEO for the first time at Ninemsn. I’m very proud of my current role – if I could have made up my perfect job, it would be this one. I get the commercial satisfaction to run P&L and drive Telstra’s media business forward in an industry I love; plus I manage a fabulous brand and work horizontally across the organisation nurturing the most respected brand in Australia.

How do you get others on board with your vision?
You need to tell a story rather than sell a vision – giving people context of the past, present and future helps ground the experience and define a way forward. You need to anchor your ambitions in today’s results so you know the gap you’re working to fill. I place a lot of stock in keeping things simple, in language and approach, as it helps to quickly get everyone on the same page and heading in the same direction.

And make sure you enter our Women in Media Awards, or nominate a colleague, here!