Social Change Maker Profile: Venessa Hunt, GroupM

Social Change Maker Profile: Venessa Hunt, GroupM

ICYMI, B&T has partnered with UnLtd throughout recent months to showcase some of the heroes in our industry. We’ve been profiling one champion per week, and now it’s time for another!

Last week we got into the nitty gritty with Patrick Darcy from Cadreon Australia, and now it’s Venessa Hunt’s turn! Venessa, 33, is head of digital investment at GroupM, and is all set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in June. Wanna hear more? We bet you do.

First ever job:

Washing dishes at a café.

If I wasn’t doing my job, I’d be:

Running a wine bar.

How I got where I am today:

Hard work, and challenging the doubters.

Causes I care about:

Kids, domestic violence and animals – I like to advocate for those that can’t talk for themselves.

Here at B&T, a cause we care about is equality. In fact, we’re hosting an event in less than a month to promote diversity and inclusion in the Aussie advertising, marketing and media landscape.

B&T‘s Changing the Ratio will provide attendees with game-changing ideas, practical tools and case studies to take back to their organisations. So to see captivating and inspiring speakers like Lisa Wilkinson, Deng Thiak Adut and Cátia Malaquias, grab tickets to this event right here. Now, back to Venessa!

The change I’d like to see in the world and why it’s important:

I’d like to see ‘good’ become the new social ‘cool’ currency.

As a society we have very quickly gone down a very short-term and superficial route in recent years, judging our worth on likes, shares and comments. It’s like an episode of Black Mirror where the kids only see value from outside and not within.

The biggest change I want to see in the world is a celebration of those doing good and making a change in the world, not those living vapid lives and posting about it from their exclusive mansion.

How did you first get involved with UnLtd:

GroupM has been involved with UnLtd for quite a while through our annual Power of One day as well as payroll giving – so that people can easily contribute to causes they care about.

Personally, I have attended or taken part in every event I can from soccer and cricket at The Big Clash, or sailing at The Big Splash regatta. I never turn down an opportunity to get involved.

The charity projects I’m currently working on:

The biggest thing I am doing at the moment, and probably for a while, is coming up in June 2018. I am climbing a physical mountain to help kids at home tackle their internal ones. I will attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain, to raise awareness for children who battle internal mountains far greater than we can imagine every day of their lives.

Renee Fittock will be joining me and through this incredible challenge we are raising funds for Mirabel, an UnLtd charity partner that assists children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use. Mirabel’s mission is to break the destructive cycle of addiction by supporting these young people who remain the most profoundly overlooked casualties of substance abuse in our society.

Why I want to give back:

I believe in balance. In the media and advertising industry we get amazing opportunities that those outside our industry can only imagine. We operate in a world of privilege and advantage and so when we have an opportunity to share some of those advantages and help make the world a better place for someone else, we should. Why wouldn’t we?

The best/most rewarding volunteering experience I’ve had:

During my time at Yahoo7 I did a lot of work with the Ronald McDonald House Charity which supports families of seriously ill children who are in hospital.

I volunteered on the ball committee and brought together an incredible charity event, but it was nothing in comparison to cooking at the Ronald McDonald House for 100 people who were away from home while their children were in hospital, and who hadn’t had a home cooked meal in weeks. It was a very grounding and humbling experience.

Trust me, no matter what kind of ‘hard day’ you think you’ve had at the office, doing something like that for families going through the toughest time in their lives really makes your day look like a walk in the park. It really made me think about what other people go through every day.

My greatest achievement:

I’m hoping it will be climbing Kilimanjaro and raising money and awareness for the kids that need it the most. You can donate to the cause here.

The person/company I’d like to challenge to get involved & why:

Everyone!!! Dig deep and support Renee and I to REALLY make a difference. I want to show everyone, that no matter what your upbringing or your situation, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

My advice for someone just starting their career is:

Listen to the doubters, but don’t take it in. Use it as fuel to drive you to what you know you’re capable of.

If I could have one super power, that would be:

Flying. It would get me to the top of that mountain quicker! I’m joking, but if I could have healing powers, I would love to be able to take someone’s pain away.


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changing the ratio Deng Thiak Adut GroupM lisa wilkinson UNLTD venessa hunt

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