In today’s Women In Media profile Jane Burhop, creative director and co-founder at strategic and creative agency Common Ventures, tells us about starting the agency at 24, why digital’s survival of the fittest and how 80’s power ballads can translate to work success…
What’s your backstory in a nutshell (the non-Linked In one?)
Advertising – An industry more famously known for sexism and midday whiskeys. Fortunately, my career within this rapidly changing industry has wildly deviated from pantyhose commercials and leering billboards. In 2012, at the enthusiastic age of 24, I, along with three partners of a similar age, founded an advertising agency called Common Ventures. With a collective vision to shake up our industry, our business has now surpassed the Government’s definition of ‘small’. With a ridiculously talented bunch of staff and a Surry Hills address, our clients have been one of the main drivers that have allowed us to make exceptional work. As we grow, the most exciting thing is the unknown and being able to adapt to whatever gets thrown our way.
What are the qualities you seek in people you want to partner with and work with?
Anyone who has dreams about what they do is someone I’m happy to sit next to. Regardless of the industry, those are the people that come to work excited, the ones that constantly ask ‘What if we…’ and the people whose brains keep searching for a solution even when their laptops are shut. This relentless passion is contagious and pushes me to play a different game.
What’s the best thing about working in the industry?
You will never run out of problems that need solving. With ‘disruption’ being the word in everyone’s tech feed, businesses and individuals alike are adapting, iterating and trying to solve business issues in new and interesting ways. Working across a range of different brands and businesses guarantees that no two day are rarely the same and with the future fast approaching we need to work smart to stay sharp. We’re all playing for digital fame and it’s survival of the quickest.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Only every second Tuesday. I love my job and thankfully most parts of it are extremely rewarding. The other parts are damn hard. I think it’s easy forget that your job and your career is – work. Whether your job requires a lot of heavy mental lifting or physical effort – you need to have a certain level of drive and commitment to achieve results. If it was all too easy, the satisfaction of winning that pitch or progressing to a new stage in your career would also be lost. Just make sure you stop every once in a while and acknowledge your successes, rather than dwelling on the few things that didn’t go to plan.
What advice would you give a female graduate or a newbie contemplating in the media/advertising/marketing industry?
Think like a business. Whether you want to be a hot-shot business woman or a creative wizard, brand yourself to match the job you’re hunting down. Apply for jobs that you’re under qualified for and leverage your potential in the role, not your lack of experience. And remember, it’s a small industry and the person you work beside today may be your boss tomorrow
What are the pearls of wisdom you know now, that you wish you knew when they were younger – or what advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
One: Keep your ears peeled and ask too many questions. You’ll be surprised how much information and wisdom you can get for free. Experts and big wigs are filled with sage advice that you can’t find in a buzzfeed article, ask them for guidance and find yourself a mentor. Being seen as keen is never a bad thing. Two: Don’t be a fun sponge. Get yourself a good sense of humour and don’t take yourself too seriously. Tell bad jokes. Write less puns. It’s better to spend your time doing something that you enjoy and can excel at rather than whinging about the things you don’t like. Three: Listen to more 80s power ballads. If I can’t convince you to take on the world, hopefully a glam rock guitarist with a perm can.
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