Finding her mojo

Finding her mojo
SHARE
THIS



As Australia’s most powerful female ad agency executive, Publicis Mojo’s Joe Pollard is on a mission to address gender equality. Lucy Clark finds out more

From media agency to client-side to creative, Joe Pollard has sat on all sides of the fence and travelled the world. But, as CEO of one of Australia’s biggest creative agencies, her current role at Publicis Mojo has cemented her in Australia’s Adland.

A proud “country girl” from Armidale in New South Wales, Pollard took on the top job based at the agency’s Sydney office last June after quitting as CEO at Ninemsn and taking six months out.

By that point, Pollard had risen rapidly through the ranks at Mindshare, Nike and Ninemsn – taking only six-week breaks when she had her two sons.

Remembering her last week at Ninemsn, she says: “I was walking with my son and it dawned on me he was about to be in high school. I didn’t want to get to the stage where I didn’t know my kids well, and I decided if I don’t take time out now, it will never happen. So I quit the next week and had six wonderful months, doing everything you do when you take a career break.”

Pollard consulted for Fox Sports, then took the top job at Publicis Mojo after being head-hunted. During her first seven months, she put pitching to one side and focused on the existing business – and on developing what she calls Mojo 3.0. 

“Publicis Mojo has been a strong creative brand for years,” she says. “After the early Mojo years, the last 15 to 20 years has been about creating big strategies and big ideas. What I am leading now is Mojo 3.0, keeping the DNA of the agency, but evolving it to be relevant in a new digital world.”

Since those seven non-pitching months, Publicis Mojo has won Tourism NT and Queensland’s Personalised Plates as new clients. The last six months has also seen the closure of Mojo New Zealand, about which Pollard says: “Whenever you’re evolving a business you have to respect the past but also get rid of anything that’s holding you back. They ran an incredibly good agency, that should be remembered, but it’s time for the next generation of Mojo.”

Pollard brings with her experience of sitting on all sides of the industry. “With every job move I’ve changed the side of the fence I’m on,” she says. “Every job has given me a different view of the problem, which means I can bring a different view to the solution.”

She cites the day she took on the CEO position at Ninemsn as one of the toughest. After 10 years working on media for Nike, Pollard ran Nine’s marketing before her Ninemsn role. “It was a leap of faith for Ninemsn,” she says. “The hardest job you will ever get is your first CEO job, because you have no experience.”

But it was her time as global media director for Nike in Oregon that was perhaps her most life-changing. During those eight years, Pollard had her two sons, now 11 and 13. Rather than putting her career on hold for motherhood, she combined the two – and her career accelerated fast. As a result, she believes Australia could learn a lot from the US when it comes to supporting working mums.

“In the US, the support for women to be back at work after having a baby is significantly better,” she says. “We should be supporting women to get back to full-time work as quickly as possible, not encouraging them to have 12 months off.

“Most of the great career women I have lost from the system in Australia have chosen to take their foot off the accelerator when they’ve had a baby because it’s been too hard to come back.”

She cites Nike’s on-site cr√®che, America’s open attitude to job sharing and its incentives such as family care programs as contributors to its more “family friendly” way of life. And, of course, a supportive husband has helped her get to where she is today. “My husband has his own business but he pretty much looks after the family,” she adds.

Pollard’s ambition and experience make her a great role model and she devotes time to mentoring and speaking out in support of diversity. “Diversity is important to a vibrant organisation,” she argues. “Through diversity comes a dynamic workplace. I do a lot of mentoring and coaching, mostly to help women with self-confidence.”

To that end she promotes diverse interview pools when recruiting. “If you are interviewing three candidates, make sure at least one of them is female,” she says. “If you create a diverse pool but still hire on merit, you will change the balance.”

But simply acknowledging the gender imbalance is the first step, Pollard adds. “In Australia, we don’t acknowledge that a diverse workforce is better – and there is no consequence if you don’t have one. In the US, companies are rewarded for their diversity policies.”

So what’s next for the agency? When it comes to gender equality, she’s already implemented her first senior job share, the TV producer role, and vows to do this whenever it’s needed.

But “the single most important thing” is to do good work for clients. “We want to be known for doing things as innovatively in the digital space as in the traditional space,” says Pollard. Training and staff development is also getting primary emphasis. “It’s incredibly important – your people are your currency.”

With a woman at its helm, Publicis Mojo 3.0 is ready to face the world.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Australian Retailers – How Can You Stand Out From The Pack On Social?
  • Partner Content

Australian Retailers – How Can You Stand Out From The Pack On Social?

At Zavy, we track the movings and shakings of brands across a range of industries on our social scoreboards. We want to see brands use social media as a space for real brand building and connecting with people – after all, that’s what it was created for. In their ground-breaking advertising report, The Long and […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Chobani Unveils New Brand Campaign Via Cummins&Partners
  • Campaigns

Chobani Unveils New Brand Campaign Via Cummins&Partners

Cummins&Partners has redefined what the next decade will look like for Chobani in its new brand campaign Food Made Good. Building on the four years of partnership between Cummins&Partners and Chobani, this campaign was born through strategic leadership to uncover the truth at the core of the brand and bring it to life through a […]

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing

me&u, Australia’s first and leading mobile ordering and payment platform, has appointed Clementine Churchill as Head of Marketing as they continue to drive rapid growth and expansion in Australia and new international markets. A highly experienced marketing leader and recognised industry thought leader, Churchill joins me&u from My Muscle Chef, one of Australia’s top rated […]

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy
  • Marketing

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy

MILO is on the search for Australia’s best made MILO, calling on fans to share their creations for the chance to win #TheMILOCup, via Ogilvy Sydney. This integrated campaign follows on from the success of last year’s ‘Hot v Cold’ campaign, which encouraged Aussies to settle the debate on whether MILO is best enjoyed hot […]

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes

New research from Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, has found that LGBTQ+ representation in ANZ remains low and stereotypical. It’s 2021 – this needs to change – especially in marketing and advertising. In partnership with GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation, Getty Images has launched a full-spectrum Guidebook in direct response to […]

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR
  • Media

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR

Natural historian Sir David Attenborough is one of the most commanding and respected storytellers in the world and now the iconic series, David Attenborough Life Stories, is available on LiSTNR as part of SCA’s recently announced partnership with the BBC. David Attenborough Life Stories is a series of talks on the natural histories of creatures and […]

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions
  • Media

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions

Menulog has doubled down on its marketing support for restaurant partners, with the promotion of Senior Marketing Manager, Rami Tamer, to a newly created role of ‘Head of Partner Marketing’, as well as the promotion of former-Blue 449 Performance Manager, Jaryd Buggins. In the new Head of Partner Marketing role, Rami will lead a team […]

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst
  • Media

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst

ARN has announced Barry Drinkwater will be handing over his content director reins at 97.3FM and 4KQ to respected radio executive, Alisson Longhurst. Drinkwater has had a stellar career in radio spanning more than four decades, and was acknowledged as one of Australia’s Top 20 Content Directors by Radio Today in 2020. He began his radio career […]

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive
  • Media

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive

The Australian commercial radio industry has joined a global working group of broadcasters, carmakers and tech experts collaborating on the innovation of radio in Android Automotive. Android Automotive is Google’s infotainment operating system which is being built into new connected cars. Industry body Commercial Radio Australia is part of the working group, led by the […]

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health
  • Media

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health

For the third consecutive year, Triple M’s No Talk Day will return on Thursday July 1 to raise awareness around men’s mental health and encourage courageous conversations on Triple M’s 45 stations across the country with support from partner Beyond Blue.  From 6:00am – 6:00pm on July 1, Triple M is encouraging listeners to clear […]

Thrive PR Wins SodaStream Account
  • Marketing

Thrive PR Wins SodaStream Account

The farting in the Thrive PR office rises expodentially after the agency snares the SodaStream business.

Businessman using tablet payments online shopping with speed icons customer and data network connection on virtual screen.
  • Marketing

62% Of Shoppers Doing Most Of Their Purchases Online: BigCommerce And PayPal Report

Consumer shifts in how and where people buy products evolved significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new opportunities for retailers to use new channels, fulfilment strategies and payment options, according to the results of a new survey out today from BigCommerce and PayPal. While a majority of the 3,000 consumers surveyed from the United States, United Kingdom […]