In today’s instalment of our Women in Media profiles, we talk balance, motorbikes and passion with the head of mobile at GroupM, Venessa Hunt.
I believe massively in balance. I have been known to take the odd morning call or late night call and I don’t really switch off, so there’s probably a lot of people that have a better work/life balance than I do.
But I really love my job and I really love the industry so to me it’s not like, ‘Oh god I’ve got to go to work’. I want to go to work because I want to change stuff, I want to invent stuff, and I want to create stuff, so for me it doesn’t really have the same connotations.
In my downtime, I ride a motorbike. It depends on how bad my day is, but if I need a bit of adrenalin or distract myself, I just jump on the bike and head out for a night-time ride or head down to the beaches and get a bit of air.
If I need some chill time, if the day’s been a little bit hectic, I poor myself a nice glass of red wine and I paint.
I get more achievement out of helping somebody else achieves something than if I achieve something. So if I can help somebody’s job become a little bit easier, I can make them an expert in something they weren’t before, or if my girlfriends need something fixed – those kinds of things for me, that idea of helping somebody or getting someone else to move ahead – is actually my motivation for the majority of things. It doesn’t matter if it’s for business or my mates.
I always talk about relevance, so imagine you’re sitting around on your 85th birthday and you’re looking around and everyone’s talking about you. What do you want them to say?
They’re never going to care what I did for a job, but they’re going to care about fundamentally who I was. And if that part of who I was reflected in my job, that’s great. If you’re good at what you do and you love what you do, then the career stuff and the money stuff just happens.
My advice for younger women would be to remain passionate. Passion will drive you to do anything, whether you want to run your own wine bar or if you want to be a CEO. If you remain passionate about something and don’t let others affect that passion it will drive you to be what you want to be.
And never give up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told I couldn’t do something, and it only drives me to do it more.
I studied mechanics when I was younger and they told me ‘girls aren’t mechanics’. But I topped the state because I had little hands and it made getting around inside the bonnet one hundred times easier. I think our industry is kind of the same.
If you stop paying attention to what you don’t have and pay attention to the amazing abilities that you do have, then you won’t be held back.
So if you can change your mindset around negativity at any point and actually use it to influence your passion, you can never go wrong. Trust me, if I look back on myself 11 years ago when I was convincing people that mobile was two per cent of website traffic and how important it was, and I look at it now. I stuck to my guns then, I was really passionate about it then, and it’s done me a world of good now.
I know I might have to work twice as long or twice as hard as a guy to do the same job, but I don’t care. I’m going to do it because I want the same outcome. I’m not a guy and if the same rules don’t apply to me, while that might frustrate me, I still want the same outcome.
Yeah, sometimes men do get more senior jobs and if I go for a CEO role that conversation will change but for right now, there are so many things that I bring to a job that a guy just can’t.
If you don’t allow yourself to be held back, you won’t be held back. If you want it bad enough you’ll make it work for you, and you’ll prove that if you stop paying attention for so long to what you don’t have and pay attention to the amazing abilities that you do have. Women have a great set of skills.