Ten Years On From The First 30 Under 30: Nicole Ghobrial

Ten Years On From The First 30 Under 30: Nicole Ghobrial
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Hopefully you’re getting the gist by now. It’s the 10 year anniversary of B&T‘s 30 Under 30 Awards (2019 entries now open) so we’ve tracked down our original winners to find out where they are now.

So far we’ve caught up with Chris Howatson and Nic Hodges but today we sit down with our first female alumni, Nicole Ghobrial, who now heads up strategy for marketing and customer service software company Lexer.

Despite working abroad for much of the last decade, funnily enough Ghobrial has ended up working with her boss of 10 years ago, former Australian MD, M&C Saatchi David Whittle. Coincidentally *spoiler alert*, she’s not the only one of our original 30 Under 30 winners to now work at Lexer.

nicole Ghobrial

Then: general manager, Mark Melbourne 

Now: VP, strategy, Lexer 

Ghobrial’s career in adland began at GPY&R where she took on an account executive role aged 23.

This was followed by a stint as a suit at Wunderman and then a move to M&C Saachi sister agency Mark.

While at Mark, Nicole achieved enormous success rising to Melbourne GM within two years.

Founder and then CEO of Mark, David Whittle, had this to say, “There are three reasons why she’s in the 30 under 30. Passion: Nicole has an unrivalled passion for the principles and practice of marketing.

“Her passion is infectious due to her engaging personality and applied rigour to the craft.

“Persistence: Nicole demonstrates phenomenal focus and a never-say-die attitude… This determination, coupled with deep intelligence, has led her rapid career growth to a point many years beyond her peers.

“Leadership: Nicole’s classical marketing training, grounding in data and enthusiasm for digital uniquely places her a leader across the depth and breadth of hte marketing industry… she’s a role model for young marketers in Australia.”

What did it mean to you at the ripe age of 29 that you were chosen as one of B&T’s 30 Under 30?

If I remember rightly, it was the first year that B&T ran 30 Under 30 so being 29 I only had one shot.

I had recently moved to Melbourne and was focused on growing Mark (and we were growing quickly) so I wasn’t really thinking about much else.

Being chosen as one of B&T’s 30 Under 30 made me sit back and take stock of my achievements.

We had pitched and won three new clients, hired a team of 26 incredible people, run hundreds of campaigns and maintained over 15 per cent profitability from the start.

How do you think being nominated affected your career, if at all?

Public recognition plays an ever-growing role in our careers, whether to establish credibility when pitching new business, recruiting a team or looking for your next role.

Not to mention, it’s a wonderful feeling to be recognised by your peers. Winning B&T’s 30 Under 30 gave me more confidence to go after bigger and more substantial roles when I moved to London.

What’s been the biggest change to your life since then?

I’ve done so much in the last ten years but this last year brought me back to Sydney to work at Lexer with Dave Whittle and many of my old team, so as I write this it feels like I’ve come full circle.

I’ve spent the majority of the last ten years in London and New York.

In London as Client Services Director for We Are Social I led a team of social media specialists as we grew the agency business to over $22M in revenue.

It was a new challenge for me to manage a team that worked in eight different languages but an absolute pleasure to be able to work on global projects with big budgets that you don’t often see in Australia.

In New York as VP, Client Services for Kik and Snaps respectively I led a multi-disciplinary team developing messaging strategies and building chatbots for over 150 brands.

It was in these last few years I really found my passion for utilising cutting edge technology to solve brand and business problems.

What words of wisdom would you have shared with your 29 year old self back then knowing what you do now?

Don’t forget to breathe.

I’ve always been incredibly impatient. I can see what needs to be done and I push for those things to get done quickly.

While that trait has served me well in fast growing startups, it’s also been the source of many frustrations.

I learned the hard way that it’s just as important to build consensus along the way as is it to have foresight on what needs to be done to win – especially when it involves big changes.

What are you most proud of?

Looking back, it’s really hard to pick one thing out. It wasn’t winning a big client pitch, or agency of the year.

I think what I’m most proud of is that I’ve continually strived to learn, grow and challenge myself. From advertising to digital to social to messaging. I’ve never shied away from new things.

What do you see as the biggest challenges that face young people in advertising, marketing and media these days?

I think the key challenge for young people (and everyone else) in our industry is staying relevant.

It’s a big commitment to continue to discover and understand new technologies, changes in consumer behaviour and corporate priorities.

Conversely, what’s the biggest opportunity for those under 30 now?

It’s easier than ever to start your own thing. Those born in the 1990s are digital natives, they think globally and have access to unprecedented resources.

But this opportunity has been met by tremendous competition, so although it’s easier to start up, it’s tougher to be successful.

What can the industry do better to attract and retain young talent?

No one wants to work just for a paycheck anymore. Money isn’t enough to motivate our young talent. They want to find purpose in their life and their work.

They want to feel that what they are doing is impactful, that the company they are working for is making the world a better place.

Entries for B&T‘s 30 Under 30 Awards for 2019 are now open. For all the details, click here. Tickets are also available for B&T Bootcamp, a day of speed mentoring and masterclasses aimed at up and comers in the industry, just like Nicole was in 2010. 

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