Tribes And Good Vibes: My First Two Months On The Marketing Academy

Tribes And Good Vibes: My First Two Months On The Marketing Academy
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In this guest post, Domain’s director of consumer marketing, Emily Murren, talks about the fun and fear of being accepted into The Marketing Academy…

The application process was tough to get onto the TMA scholarship and I felt such intense pride when I got the call on a rainy Wednesday afternoon to say I had secured a place.

When the list of names was released and I read through the achievements of the other scholars, I felt so in awe to see mine among them, it was one of those rare moments of overwhelming gratification and joy that I’ll always remember.

Through the teachings on The Marketing Academy, I’m beginning to understand the power of vulnerability, so I’d also like to share that I felt a bit of imposter syndrome kick in when I found out. Was I really good enough to have a place? Did my achievements match up to everyone else? What if I’d duped the judges and found myself wildly out of my depth?

These all so real and familiar doubts were extinguished the first day of our first Bootcamp.

30 of us gathered in Manly for a week of intense learning, speakers and training. I instantly felt this sense of connection to those who had been through the same process, willing to be open, honest and dedicated to the next few months to a process so often described as life-changing.

We spent five packed days hearing from inspirational speakers, partaking in workshops and ‘The Living Leader’ program. One of our sessions we sat for 9 hours straight, hearing each other’s un-cut stories right from the beginning. I think it was this openness and emotion that is what set the foundation for this being such a formative experience for me.


Throughout the application process, I was consistently asked ‘Why did you apply to The Marketing Academy?’ My answer would evolve each time but the foundation remained the same, I want to be a better person tomorrow than the person I am today. Simple really.

One thing I didn’t realise which has now become so clear to me as the best thing about the program is that you get a ‘good vibe tribe’. A community of people who want nothing but the best for each other, are genuinely happy to help and will go out of their way to provide support, advice and often much-needed perspective and even a bit of coaching from time to time! We talk daily – it can be anything from baby and puppy pics, to questions of how to approach a business problem, to training sessions, favours, contacts, connections, advice or just to hop on Zoom and have a wine!

The recent lockdown has emphasised the importance of community more than ever, and I feel so lucky this one burst into my life just before we physically isolated from each other.

This wonderful community extends further than just the scholars. I have so far had two incredible mentor sessions, both of whom were unfathomably generous with both their time and wisdom and have already had a lasting impact on my approach as a leader and a marketer.

The first Rowena Millward, Managing Partner of Macmorgan, taught me the importance of understanding individual motivations within your team and ensuring you are considering someone’s point of view and not projecting your own.

We had a frank and honest discussion about how to balance being ambitious and also wanting to balance that with having children. She gave me a piece of advice I know I’ll keep with me when I do navigate that stage of my life – you’ll have nine months to plan on the day you find out you are pregnant – so don’t make career decisions until the day you are, because life is unpredictable.

My other absolute fave: No-one cares about your career as much as you do. This made me smile being someone who is painfully ambitious.

My second mentor, Sweta Mehra, CMO of ANZ, has radically shifted my approach to focus, time management and how to ensure your work has impact.

My three favourite pearls of wisdom from Sweta:

  1. Make decisions with your brain, but operate from your heart
  2. Ask yourself, what do I want to be known for?
  3. Always be extremely sharp about what you are trying to achieve and how success will be measured.

The question that has resulted in the biggest shift for me was – as you progress in your career, and things become increasingly complicated, how do you navigate it all and ensure you remain focussed?

Sweta taught me the theory of ‘big rocks and small rocks’: make sure you are always clear on what your three big rocks are, the three things you are going to look back on in a years time and be proud of. Know what they are, know the value they drive back to the business and spend 50% of your time each week working towards them. In the noise of the every day it is so easy to get swept up in the small rocks and the little things, I’ve now started being ruthless with my focus ensuring it is on the big rocks at least half the time.

A couple of weeks ago, 32 of us gathered for a virtual check-in on Zoom, three hours catching up with each other, including a fantastic session around ‘Unlocking limiting beliefs’. We learnt a simple framework that I’m applying daily, I’ve been interrogating my thoughts and getting to the route of negative beliefs.

I am so energised by the prospect of what is to come and so thankful to everyone who has been part of this journey so far. If you’d like to hear more about the program or just have a chat, I’d love to meet for a coffee — please do drop me a line! Always happy to chat.

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