Women In Media Profile: Leilani Abels

Women In Media Profile: Leilani Abels
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B&T‘s annual Women in Media Awards are in just a few weeks time – which means we’ve got a few more women in media to showcase via our profile series.

Eighteen years ago, Leilani Abels started Thrive PR + Communications at 25 years old from her bedroom in Melbourne, and credits her success, in part, to some invaluable advice from a business colleague.

“He told me to focus on continuous improvement. He said: ‘build your business on it. Embed it in everything you do’,” she told B&T.

“It’s what I have done since starting Thrive PR. It’s what I think about every day for the agency, for our team and for our clients.”

Now, Thrive continues to be independent and 100 per cent female owned.

Its client list includes; ANZ Group, Coles Local, Spotlight Group, AGL, Porter Davis and Swimming Australia, Cisco, Optus, Twitter, ASUS and Bauer Media.

And in 2016, the company made headlines for having one of the best working parent schemes in the industry.

Thrive’s family-friendly policy means that parents receive two months fully-paid leave on top of the government’s 18 week paid parental leave scheme, access to $150 a day to help with childcare costs, and nearby parking for mums-to-be in their third trimester.

“Thrive introduced industry leading paid parental leave and childcare funding several years ago.

“The talent that has been retained and attracted to Thrive through those initiatives really makes me excited about the agency’s future,” said Abels, who has a three-year-old of her own.

“I love that the business is set up to allow me to balance being a mum of a toddler and run the agency.

“It’s a privilege to be in a position to introduce industry leading policies that support working parents and acknowledge the massive juggle it is as a working parent,” she added.

The majority of the senior leadership team at Thrive are female, and Abels said that now is the time for other women working in media to go for more senior positions.

“If there was ever a time when women in media should have the confidence to step up, lean in and accelerate their standing in the industry, it’s now.

“The door is open for change and to see more female leaders – at all levels and across different media sectors.

“The exciting thing about new digital platforms is that women can have a voice, build their own brands and control their own publishing platforms to shine and create communities,” she said.

Abels referenced Dr Kirsten Ferguson, an ABC board member who started a mass movement on Twitter, #CelebratingWomen, as a shining example.

She profiled a different women every day throughout 2017 and recognised their inspiring, everyday efforts.

“The threads of positivity and empowerment responding to that movement shows just how powerful women supporting women truly is,” Abels said.

Finally, Abels leaves B&T with some sound advice for future female leaders.

“Manage your relationships well, from the minute you enter the workforce and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

“Be prepared to put in the hard yards for little return and be rest assured, the benefits will be tenfold. And, get into PR. It’s set to be at the forefront of business for decades to come,” she said.

B&T‘s Women in Media Awards 2018 will be held on Friday 17 August 2018 at Doltone House – Jones Bay Wharf. Grab early bird tickets to the event here and find all other info on the website

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