In our week-long greetings fiesta of all the winners of the B&T 30 Under 30 Awards, today we bring you all the gurus who are killing it when it comes to everything digital.
Jake Ranallo, managing director at Spruce
You know it’s going to be a cracking career when it starts with flash banners. Note the sarcasm. For Jake, it was a harrowing introduction to the world of advertising, but his creative prowess was quickly noticed by creative agency Tongue who lapped him up as its sole digital designer. At Tongue, Jake worked on a number of high-profile brands including Absolut Vodka, Virgin and Kellogg’s. It was during Tongue’s pitch to Absolut he had my first forays into creative concepting, with an App idea that won the pitch and lead to his promotion as art director. This position offered him a breadth of opportunity to spearhead initiatives to keep the agency attune with emerging technologies.
His passion for apps led to a recruitment from one of Tongue’s start up clients, Booodl. And with his experience from both Tongue and Boodl, Jake had the skills to launch his own agency, Spruce.
Being a small, independent agency with a core remit of mobile and apps focusing on small clients who are more often than not spending their own life savings on an idea, there’s hordes of pressure. Jake defines his own success on the success of his clients. As his agency grows, he has more and more opportunities to pick and choose the most interesting ideas for his team and himself to work on, rather than just taking on every project to keep the agency going.
Working competitively in the app development and start-up space has driven Jake to remain at the forefront of new tech such as virtual reality, and claim responsibility for implementing these new techs in new innovative ways. You may regularly see Jake speaking at conferences to spread his knowledge seeds and solidifying his position as a thought leader in the industry.
Tim Collier – Strategist at society social
Forgoing the usual track of school – university – job, Tim renders himself one of the lucky few who realised there were other ways to bolster his career. After a year-long TAFE course, Tim threw himself into every educational thing he could and learning on the job.
He started off at Boost Mobile in the marketing department, then headed to the Billabong Group as a digital marketer. With surfing brand Billabong, Tim put head to the grindstone and got three e-commerce sites up and running in under a year. In 2012 he scored a gig with digital ad agency VML where he ended up as a finalist for News Corp’s Young Lions competition. His work at VML scored Tim a Cannes Lions & AIMIA award.
From there, newly set-up agency SOCiETY recruited him where he’s helped the social media agency achieve record revenue and profit growth.
However, what’s missing in most of adland is passion, he says. People always talk about leaving their jobs to pursue their passion, but rarely does that include advertising and marketing jobs. “In fact every season of MasterChef has had a contestant wanting to escape the advertising and digital industries,” he quips.
He’s worried we’ve fallen out of love with our work, “and all the awards in the world can’t reignite the passion”.
But not all is lost. Tim says having a constructive approach to bold creative ideas with bring back that passion. And with the advancements in digital media, we’re more equipped than ever to push creative ideas forward.
Kevin Mok – digital strategist at ntegrity
Kevin is the one you go to for all things digital. Starting off as an intern at digital agency ntegrity, Kevin has grown amongst the digital ranks to become the ultimate digital strategist. And he was soon thrown into the fire when his boss began her maternity leave, creating him the hybrid position of digital strategist/business development manager. Working side-by-side with our then-new but brilliantly talented strategy director, Kevin said he and the team were not only able to keep the business afloat, but grow the business income by 187 per cent within a financial year for the director’s return.
Kevin’s father is a migrant, and his transition to Australia with nothing more than a dream to make a life for himself has inspired Kevin’s career journey so far. “He showed me the importance of being resilient, fearless, and able to grow even when the odds are stacked against you.”
His boss Richenda Vermeulen, back now from maternity leave, says Kevin is one of the agency’s most valuable team members.
However, the skill gap in digital industry is big, says Kevin. Even when going through university, he was taught old-school marketing with little emphasis on digital. And as a self-confessed digital nerd, this did not sit right with him. So after Richenda presented at his university, his CV and cover letter was in her inbox 24 hours later. His results after the initial digital testing ntegrity put to him blew everyone away.
He’s not looked back since joining the agency.
Josh Lee – Director and national head of analytics, resolution media
Leadership is about people whereas management is about process. It’s the belief that has followed Josh’s eight and a half year career in the digital media industry. Having worked across three brilliant companies – Amplify Services, Outrider and OMD – he is well equipped for his current role at Resolution Media.
It is from these environments where he learnt and modelled himself after people around him who were equally entrepreneurial colleagues, experienced mentors and inspirational leaders. It is from these people, his connective ability to use my strengths laterally, and his drive to be a better person with each new day that has led him to being the youngest director and national head of analytics at Resolution Media.
His solidly in the know with SEM, SEO and Analytics, and his skill base has led to four promotions within the past three years.
The mantra ‘servant leadership’ firmly aligns with Josh’s spiritual and personal values. “My role is first to serve, and out of this comes my zeal to lead and grow others around me,” he says. It’s what urged him to, outside of work, start up a Friday youth programme for teenagers in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Still, success for Josh is a moving target. And they’re not always work related. A number of issues have challenged Josh, but he’s learnt and grown from them. Some of his goals for this year including giving back through charity work in Mozambique, expanding his knowledge, learning a new language, purchasing a second property and skying with his family at least once a month.
Best of luck Josh!
Shahrooz Chowdhury, chief digital officer at Guzman y Gomez
As if university isn’t hard enough, Shahrooz, realising his true passion for marketing, dropped his arts degree and took on a course load of 150 per cent in a triple major in finance, accounting and marketing.
But lucky he did, as it led him on a path to become the chief digital officer for the most delicious of Mexican chains, Guzman y Gomez.
After various entrepreneurial endeavours during high school and uni, his professional career began in 2008 after his interests in renewable energy led him to join a national solar retailer. The roles meandered through IT, operations and eventually back to leading marketing. However, he was responsible for several hundred million dollars in revenue, and was privileged to be mentored by the founder directly.
In 2013 he was lured to Fairfax Media with a remit to head up the consumer marketing team at Domain.
At Domain he lead the business through a digital transformation, including building its marketing technology ecosystem and the team’s digital capabilities across performance, mobile, search, content, social and analytics as an engine for growth.
And in 2015 he was offered the position at Guzman y Gomez with a responsibility for product and engineering of digital platforms, marketing, data and business transformation.
While they’ve had a cracking start, Shahrooz recognises there’s still a long way to go to have the level of positive impact much needed across fast food category.
And aside from his job, he is a keen investor and advisor to a number of startups like e-learning platform GoodStartups.com and contributes pro bono work for the STEMSEL Foundation.
“Success for me is doing what I get to do every day. As Steve Jobs said, ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do’. I’m grateful that I wake up each day excited by the prospects and projects on my plate.”