Kim Portrate: “Curiosity, Properly Harnessed, Can Be A Really Positive Thing”

Kim Portrate: “Curiosity, Properly Harnessed, Can Be A Really Positive Thing”

Speaking ahead of this year’s B&T 30 Under 30 Awards, ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate spoke to B&T about some of the key lessons she has learned in her career.

As one of the leaders of the Australian media landscape, not many would dispute the success of Kim Portrate.

Prior to being CEO of ThinkTV Australia, she was CMO of Helloworld and general manager of consumer marketing at Tourism Australia.

For Portrate, one of the key things learned before age 30 was the value and importance of curiosity.

“Curiosity, properly harnessed, can make a huge difference in how a career develops and grows,” she said.

“Maybe there was less opportunity at that time to explore different pathways, pursue passion projects or examine different areas of expertise. It was a time when career progression was much more defined, more rigid than it is today”.

“Nonetheless, I found the most interesting work, and even more interesting development opportunities, came when I deliberately chose to follow my curiosity – finding the projects, roles, or people that would help me better understand or answer a burning question”.

It’s this same level of “innate passion and curiosity to explore new things,” that Portrate sees as a “common thread” across the 30 Under 30 finalists this year.

A popular conception about success is that you have to start building a network young, but for Portrate this came later in life.

“I was actually a pretty poor networker in my 30s, and I spent most of my 40s overseas. So it wasn’t really until I arrived back in Australia and embraced media that I could say I took the opportunity to fine-tune those very important networking skills. But if I am honest, I still don’t think I’m a particularly good networker. I suppose at heart I really am an introvert.”

Speaking to fellow introverts who might see it as a negative trait, Portrate emphasised the importance of listening as a key skill in any professional’s toolkit. She said, “In a professional situation where you’re meeting new people, it’s okay not to talk at one hundred miles an hour. Try asking a question to engage the person you’re meeting. That has always worked for me. You don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room, sometimes it’s better to be the one who asks the best questions.”

“The best advice I could give – to introverts and extroverts – is to listen to the conversations around you at a work event and then choose the ones you want to participate in.”

With never-ending headlines about difficult market conditions and economic woes, Portrate emphasised the importance of staying relaxed and keeping a sense of humour.

“Economies are cyclical. So, this too will pass. More generally, take this lesson and use it in your day-to-day work. Try to keep a sense of humour, especially when things are difficult. It’s your behaviour in difficult circumstances that define the kind of person you are, not just for yourself but for your peers and workmates as well.”

Portrate’s final lesson is simple but important – look after yourself.

“Make sure that you are taking at least some time every day for yourself, just to recharge. If you do that with other people, great. If you’re an introvert and you don’t great. But don’t be in such a rush to get to the end that you don’t spend a minute looking after yourself on the way.

“It can be as simple as going for an ice cream”.




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