Inspirational women are all around us – leading, innovating and mentoring the next generation. To recognise this, B&T‘s annual Women in Media Awards is on again, and it’s a mere six weeks until the big day.
Running for the fifth consecutive year, the event – presented by Bauer Media Group – recognises those exceptional women who have achieved success in their professional arenas and celebrates their invaluable contribution through their leadership, innovation and courage.
The Women In Media Forum will see a host of inspiring women from across the media landscape providing their guidance and advice for achieving success to the next generation of stars.
To kick things off for 2017, we’ve probed MediaCom Australia’s head of talent, Michelle Mowle for her thoughts. Read on and be wowed by Michelle’s deep font of wisdom.
Why did you want to be a mentor?
To be involved in such an important event, both for the development of the industry and the progression of women as they embark on their desired career path, is a huge privilege. I see this as much as an opportunity to understand and connect with the minds of our aspiring future leadership talent, and ensure we are shaping and adapting our own leadership style to align to their values, as it is to offer insights and share experience and advice that has worked for me as I have developed my own career over the years. I believe mentorship works best when it is a two-way dialogue stimulating the minds and broadening the perspectives of both parties.
Describe your average day.
No day is ever average or, indeed, ever the same in a talent role in the media industry. This is why I love it. It’s truly dynamic and unpredictable, presenting challenges and opportunities that show up in different ways every day that requires me to continually think laterally and creatively to solve for the greater good of the agency, a team or individual.
In a day I could be engaged in a discussion on how we drive forward with various change initiatives, providing appropriate support frameworks for our people to reach a desired outcome; to partnering closely with the CFO on ensuring our commercial needs are being met in line with client, shareholder commitments; to then spending time with various members of the team on their career plans, skill needs and how they can best meet their performance goals at the same time as being nourished and challenged in their work life.
What is the most challenging part of your role? Do you have an example?
Keeping abreast with what matters most to the rising generation and keeping our leaders abreast of this. To effectively lead and drive change at a pace that is required to sustain a growing business, and taking our people on this journey in way that they can connect with, I believe is the most significant challenge of a talent leader’s role.
High involvement, early on in the design of change initiatives is crucial as evidenced in the recent launch of MediaCom’s 2017 Behaviours Plan. We had all staff nominate 25 number of ‘house captains’ nationally to represent the four MediaCom Behaviours (Push It, Share It, Know It, Do It) and ran workshops with this group to fully own and design the ‘brilliant but few’ culture programs that would best reinforce these behaviours and drive the culture around these values. The results have been astonishing, with all captains taking full carriage of driving four impressive programs including:
- ComX – a day of inspirational, industry speakers to broaden our team’s perspective on innovation and stretch their thinking as they carry out their roles at MediaCom.
- Wellness Week – a week to start the conversation about engagement, wellness and performance is all part of one conversation and to promote the many wellness programs available to our people within MediaCom, GroupM and WPP.
- The Exchange – a program that provides a platform for our people to experience life in different area of the agency, to expand their skill set and be part of a short or long term project that broadens their capabilities.
What’s your proudest professional moment?
When I was asked to be a mentor as part of a program aimed at providing scholarships for underprivileged students. These students, who were exceptionally talented, would otherwise not be able to go to university if not for this program. Fifty students from hundreds of applications were provided a pathway to university through financial support and a range of interventions to ensure they were well equipped to transition to and succeed in achieving degrees in their chosen field. My student was an astonishing individual, who lived without the privileges many enjoy, yet was infectious in her unrelenting positivity, courage and commitment to do her family proud, making the most of the opportunity. I learnt an equal amount from her, as I hope she did from me during our time together.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn (in or out of the workforce)?
To fail to have quality conversations on things that matter most is at your own (and the organisation you lead, work for or with) detriment. Taking the time to listen – really listen – and then considering how what you’ve heard might expand or alter your perspective just that little bit broader, can often lead to better outcomes.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
My dream job as a kid was to be a TV host on a cartoon show. I would practice for hours in my room in the hope I would get a job where I could work in a place that got to watch cartoons… all… day… long… and then get to talk about it to anyone who would listen.
There’s still time to nominate for the Women in Media Awards, so get your entries in before this Friday at 5pm (AEST) here.