It’s just a mere few days until we celebrate our fantastic Women in Media event, and for today’s brilliant profile, we speak to Isobar’s strategy director Hayley Rose about random adventures, New York and staying curious.
How did you get into the industry?
I have a bit of a strange past, I guess. I actually studied science majoring in psych, and then thought I just had to round out my degree so did a minor in marketing and realised I liked that. So I started looking in the marketing field.
I worked at L’Oréal for three years, and then decided to make the move agency side. I actually moved to New York and managed to go agency side and into digital. I worked in a boutique digital agency specialising in fashion and entertainment and started there. But New York was absolute craziness and two years was more than enough.
What’s an average day look like for you?
It’s funny now because there’s actually no such thing as an average day because my role is so varied. If you think about digital strategy, there’s so many different variants of it and I work across a number of different clients pitching for new business.
So I can be sitting at my desk and powering out a PowerPoint presentation, to conducting stakeholder interviews, to doing data analysis. It’s really varied and very much left frame, right frame – very creative. It’s a good mix of things and no one day is the same, which is why I like it.
Do you have a favourite campaign or piece of work?
A lot of the stuff I’ve done has been low iterations of making change to companies, so I’ve been ingrained with a lot of clients like Dulux and Holden and now Kmart, where I’ve tried to help shift the needle in terms of guiding them towards more digital maturity.
So there hasn’t been a big and shiny campaign, but it’s been a bit of a journey where we’ve actually managed to help them use digital to achieve their objectives, get more sales – bit of a slow burn – but when you take a step back and you see what all those incremental changes have done on the larger scale, it’s more fulfilling than a one-off big campaign.
What drives you?
Staying curious, always wanting to be better, always wanting to know more, and always wanting to try and uncover the real insight and the real problems we actually have to solve. And always asking why.
Do you have a good work/life balance?
Yeah, I’ve got a great work/life balance. We’ve got a really strong culture at Isobar where we’re rewarded by working hard, but working hard doesn’t necessarily have to mean long hours. They’ve cultivated a culture where they respect our work/life balance so we can conduct ourselves accordingly.
When I’m here I work really hard but I’m able to get out at a reasonable hour. There are times when I can’t, but staying fit and healthy and stuff like that is really important to me so I make an effort to get out of the office on time. I love staying social and catching up with friends and family.
What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies/passions?
I love to do random things. I love going on random adventures, be it trying new exercise, going hiking, travelling, uncovering different things. I like to stay fit, but I also love just pushing myself and getting out of my comfort zone, whether that’s going to a different part of Melbourne or hanging out with a new group of people.
I also love travel. I try and get away at least once a year and explore different cultures because that’s super important to me.
What about the industry excites you?
That there’s no clear path of what the industry is going to be, and the line between advertising and marketing and consulting are kind of blurring. So as a result, we have to keep on re-defining what we do and how we do it; the fact that anything is possible, and any idea you have can probably be done. It’s about being forward thinking, and thinking differently, and that really excites me.
Do you have any quirky habits?
I’ve been told my laugh is pretty funny. There’s no kind of scale, it’s either on or off. And when it’s on, it’s on – it’s loud and has definitely made some awkward moments for me. It’s a loud, infectious cackle.
If you weren’t doing your current job, is there another profession you’d consider trying?
I’d love something that would allow me to live in different places for different parts of the year, and be exposed to different cultures, categories, ways of working. Also, I guess being creative is important.
Obviously, I’m in strategy so there is an element of creativity, but to do something completely different where you don’t have to actually use your brain, like some form of artistic outlet would be cool. I don’t think I’m very good at it but it would be cool to do something totally different and not have to sit behind a desk.
Is there a profession you wouldn’t try?
Anything in finance. I’m not geared towards being super corporate day to day.
If you were CEO for a day, what would you do differently?
I think our CEO is a great role model in that he’s a strong leader, but he’s also someone who is super approachable. So I think it’s important to make an effort to know who your staff is. He knows everyone by name, comes and says hello, and has an open door policy.
Then you also have to ensure you take everyone on the journey with you and they get the vision with you, as well as sharing key milestones.
Have you ever felt limited in the industry just for being female?
I actually haven’t, and I completely understand it’s an issue, but I’ve never let it be a problem because I’ve never marginalised myself as a female. I guess I’m someone who, by nature, is quite forthright and I ask for what I want and am quite happy to put myself at the table. So I don’t let it be a problem, but I know for some people it’s perceived as being a thing.
What advice would you give to young people coming into the industry?
Just know there’s not a right or wrong path, and just do what feels right at the time. Then make sure to check in from time to time to see if you feel like you’re on the right path or if there’s other opportunities.
Just make sure that you stay challenged and really embrace change, be it personal or professional, because it keeps you interesting, it keeps you interested, and it allows you to uncover other opportunities.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I would never give a client a five-year digital strategy because you just don’t know what’s going to happen, and I feel the same way about myself. I don’t really have a five-year plan because I don’t really know what’s going to happen.
At the moment I’m really comfortable with where I am, I just got a promotion [to strategy director] which is great, and in five years, I just want to be happy and enjoying what I’m doing and helping businesses or people achieve their goals. Whatever that is in terms of a title, I’m not sure yet.