Sophie Madden, the CEO of Media Federation of Australia goes under B&T’s Women In Media microscope. Here, Madden reveals what she loves and hates about the industry and why what you see is what you get…
How do you define leadership?
Leadership to me is about defining the purpose and vision, inspiring and motivating others to bring it to life and then keeping it front and centre in everything that you do. It is also about holding people accountable, being action orientated, being humble and being prepared to listen and be challenged by others.
What or who inspired you to go into this industry?
My older sister was working in a creative agency and I thought what she did seemed interesting and fun, so I followed in her footsteps. I got a job as a junior in a media buying agency and loved it.
What makes you tick?
I’m driven by having a purpose, wanting to make a difference and by challenging myself to do everything to the best of my ability.
How do you get others onboard with your vision?
I love working with people and like to bring people on the journey with me. I think it’s important that people believe in what they are doing and why. I like to be grounded by having purpose behind what I do and I enjoy the process of getting others to challenge my way of thinking/approach and build on my ideas.
What are the qualities you seek in people you want to partner with and work with?
I love working with high energy people who are passionate about what they do and are prepared to challenge and debate in a constructive way. It is important to me that I work with people who have positive intent and who I feel I can trust.
What’s the worst thing about working the industry?
The negativity. The constant talking down of the industry. The industry isn’t perfect, none are, however there are a lot of great things about this industry and the people working in it that are too often forgotten or overlooked.
What pearls of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
To be braver and put my hand up more. I definitely lacked the courage to take up opportunities that were offered to me. I’d say that this is an industry of opportunity, to not be afraid of taking risks, particularly when you are young, to be brave and put their hands up to get noticed, to speak up and to work hard. How you do things (i.e behaviours) are equally as important as what you do (outputs).
What’s your ultimate career goal?
I’ve never had a set career goal. I have always been more motivated by purpose, working with a great team and trying to do the best job I can.
Tell us something surprising we don’t know about you?
I’m not sure what this says about me, but I’m fairly confident that there isn’t anything surprising that people don’t know about me. I’ve never been capable of having a hidden side, which is why I am so bad at office politics.
Tickets for B&T’s Women In Media Awards in Sydney on 13th August 2015 at 6.30pm are on sale here.