Anathea Ruys Sits Down For 10 Fast Questions On Agency Culture & Renovating Her Laundry Room

Anathea Ruys Sits Down For 10 Fast Questions On Agency Culture & Renovating Her Laundry Room

Anathea Ruys is not only one of the most important people in agency land, but also one of the nicest. Ruys has been the CEO of UM Australia for almost three years, following stints at agencies across Asia and the US. She also recently featured on, talking about her prior life as a journalist. With Christmas break fast approaching, Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham caught up with Ruys to ask her 10 further, but just as interesting, questions.

1. You were on stage at MFA EX earlier this year discussing the Unstereotype Alliance, why are you so passionate about the issue?

As I said on stage, I have spent my whole life seeing myself – or a version of myself – in media, advertising and content. Embarrassingly it was well into my life and career that I realised many people don’t see themselves and that can be isolating and damaging. Living and working in diverse markets has really helped me to see beyond my own experience and I would like to support others to learn much faster than me!

2. UM has a brilliant Agency culture, particularly around family-friendly benefits. How has this evolved?

Every single person is part of a family. Those families all look and feel different and we felt it was important to recognise this. We’ve backed our beliefs up with action and we were the first agency to be certified Family Friendly, and we’ve since introduced Family Flex 8 which gives people eight hours a month to invest in what family means for them. I love hearing all the amazing ways people use those hours.

3. How would you describe your leadership style and people approach?

I enjoy working with people. I find them interesting, nuanced and provocative. I hope my leadership style demonstrates that while I am proud of our processes, tools and technology, I know that our people will always be the MVPs and I will advocate for them, support them and appreciate them every day in every way!

4. What’s the big client issue at the moment?

Right now just about every client I am talking to is lamenting how fast the end of the year is coming and how much we all have to do by then!

5. With current economic headwinds, how are you feeling about next year?

I am not sure we can ever predict what the year is going to look like too far in advance. The world’s just not like that anymore. Different clients ebb and flow in different ways at different times – that’s why we are so lucky to work in agency land. There is always something different happening!

6. UM has a diverse blue-chip client list. However, if you had to select the work you are most proud of what would it be?

Choosing my favourite child? Never going to happen!

7. You have worked in both Asia and the US. Does Australia punch above its weight with media innovation?

Australia absolutely punches above its weight in many ways. Our talent is exceptional – in part because of how agile they are. Most of us can stretch into multiple disciplines because we’ve had to learn across our industry. Our problem-solving skills and ability to pivot are second to none. But we must never let this stop us from looking outwards and learning from what other markets are doing that’s incredible. China, India, the US – there is so much for us to continue to learn.

8. If you could change one thing about our industry, what would it be?

Someone recently told me that clients will say “I need to make sure I am not paying my media agency too much.” I would like to suggest that the question should be “I need to make sure I am paying my media agency appropriately.”

Media has changed exponentially. The channels that used to be seen as “easy” to buy now are fragmented and can be optimised like never before. Consumer attention is harder than ever to get and keep. Media now means more than ever before. And getting the best minds to help you navigate that has never been more critical so I would love to have more conversations about that than price.

9. What are you hoping Santa brings you or your family?

I will be more than delighted if Santa finishes the laundry renovation by Christmas. I’ve already told the family this summer vacation will be spent looking at the laundry and admiring how neat it is. The kids are thrilled!

10. Any New Year’s resolutions for next year?

NYE is a big night for many but for me, it’s just the day after my birthday so I’ve never been much of a resolution person

Check out the other instalments in the Fast 10 series here:




Please login with linkedin to comment

Anathea Ruys UM Australia

Latest News

“Twifties” Take To The Sky As Twisties Honour Taylor Swift
  • Campaigns

“Twifties” Take To The Sky As Twisties Honour Taylor Swift

Twisties, soaring high above Crown Sydney, painted the skies with a special tribute to Taylor Swift yesterday afternoon. As Taylor gears up for her highly anticipated Sydney leg of the Australian Eras Tours, Twisties was proud to show its unwavering support in a truly iconic fashion.

Written News Reaches An Incredible 97% Of Australians Aged 14+ Each Month
  • Media

Written News Reaches An Incredible 97% Of Australians Aged 14+ Each Month

Fresh readership figures from Roy Morgan (12 months to December 2023) show written news retaining its broad reach across the country, with 97 per cent (or 21.4M) of Australians aged 14+ consuming news in any given month. The figures reflect the evolving and deepening landscape of news media titles and readership behaviours across print and […]

IAB Study: Online Advertising Spend Reaches $14.7 Billion
  • Advertising

IAB Study: Online Advertising Spend Reaches $14.7 Billion

The Australian online advertising market reached $14.7bn spend for the 2023 calendar year according to data released today in the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER) prepared by PwC Australia. Total advertising expenditure increased 3.7 per cent year-on-year. This was a slowdown from the growth of 9.1 per cent reported in 2022, however, a […]

Hello Social’s FISHER Rework Of ‘JAMMING’ Sends “Bob Marley: One Love” To Number One
  • Campaigns

Hello Social’s FISHER Rework Of ‘JAMMING’ Sends “Bob Marley: One Love” To Number One

To celebrate the launch of BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE, Grammy-nominated Australian music producer FISHER has put his spin on Bob Marley’s legendary track ‘JAMMING’. The global collaboration was spun up by Australia-integrated agency Hello Social and has already amassed over 5M plays.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by FISHER (@followthefishtv) […]

UM Drives Off With Media Account For Global Automotive Manufacturer, Chery
  • Advertising

UM Drives Off With Media Account For Global Automotive Manufacturer, Chery

Following a highly contested pitch, media agency UM announces its appointment as media agency of record for global car manufacturer Chery.UM’s remit includes all media strategy, planning and buying in Australia, supporting Chery’s launch of all new vehicle releases in 2024, as the brand establishes its market presence.

HiBob Research: 61% Of Women Would Consider Leaving Their Job Over Wage Gap
  • Marketing

HiBob Research: 61% Of Women Would Consider Leaving Their Job Over Wage Gap

Over half (61 per cent) of Australian women would consider leaving their job if they find out that their organisation has a gender pay gap — regardless of how big the gap is — according to new research by HR tech unicorn HiBob. Surprisingly, 36 per cent of men also express a willingness to leave, […]

Image lead story Domain CMO Rebecca Darley: Tealium’s CDP Allowed Us To Personalise At Scale
  • Partner Content
  • Technology

Domain CMO Rebecca Darley: Tealium’s CDP Allowed Us To Personalise At Scale

Domain’s chief marketing officer (CMO), Rebecca Darley, said that without Tealium’s customer data platform (CDP), her business would not have been able to achieve the personalised marketing success that has made it one of the leaders in data-driven marketing in Australia. Speaking at an exclusive breakfast event hosted by B&T at Sydney’s swish harbourside restaurant, […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Man of Many Partners With NBC Universal For Red Carpet ‘Argylle’ Premiere
  • Campaigns

Man of Many Partners With NBC Universal For Red Carpet ‘Argylle’ Premiere

Man of Many in partnership with NBC Universal, stages an atmosphere of elegance for Sydney premiere of ‘Argylle’ film. Independent lifestyle publication digital publication, Man of Many, has shown its innovative approach to event management in the premiere of ‘Argylle’ at Hoyts Cinema in Sydney’s entertainment quatre. Over 400 guests were included in the films […]