Here we go again! Another 30 Under 30 Awards presented by Vevo winner from 2013 is with us to discuss everything from the industry’s evolution to imposter syndrome.
This time we have Susan Maxwell-Leigh, who was a group account director at Octagon when she won and is now the senior manager of brand, strategy & planning at RAC WA, for her insights on working in different sides of the industry.
Check out her interview below for this veteran’s view of the biz.
B&T: What category did you apply for?
Susan Maxwell-Leigh: The categories have changed over the last decade, in 2013 I was awarded for specialist/experiential/non-traditional marketing.
B&T: What inspired you to apply?
SM-L: My peers and boss – who were also young aspirational leaders supported my career and encouraged me to throw my hat in the ring.
B&T: In the short term how did winning the award impact your career?
SM-L: Like many young leaders, imposter syndrome can creep into your subconscious. Winning the Award continued to give me confidence as a young leader to believe in myself, my capabilities and give every new opportunity a go.
B&T: How did it impact your career long term?
SM-L: Winning the award, paired with a hard and fast acceleration to senior roles in a specific marketing field made me stop and think about linear opportunities. As a group account director and part of the agency leadership team at 28, it was no longer about ‘moving up’ the ladder but about learning new skills, broadening my exposure and finding roles where I am in ‘my flow’ – out of my comfort zone being challenged, empowered to make a difference, fixing messy/complex problems and learning at pace. That philosophy continues to guide my career choices today.
B&T: Have you applied for any adland awards since?
SM-L: No, I moved client side and then into corporate responsibility, strategy and governance roles before coming back to marketing.
B&T: What is something you particularly like about how adland has changed over the last decade?
SM-L: I appreciate how advertising is actively playing a role driving social impact – whether that is using communications to drive behaviour change, taking a stand through positioning or decarbonising media – creativity and innovation are critical to helping us face into the future.
B&T: Where does adland still have room for improvement?
SM-L: Continuing to develop true partnerships across agencies/clients to solve problems rather than looking through a traditional ‘agency lense’.
B&T: What message do you have for this year’s entrants?
SM-L: You’re obviously brilliant, so keep doing what you are doing! Just remember, energy is a super power and managing it is a skill – invest your energy where it matters and ruthlessly reject and deprioritise the things that waste it.
However, you MUST be under the age of 30 on the day of the event (Wednesday 29 March) to be in the running. So, be sure to include your ID and profile photo with your entry.
Oh, and please save your entry in a Word doc in case so many of you jump onto the awards portal that it crashes. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
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