Today’s Women In Media profile is none other than the wonderful Aimee Buchanan, managing director at OMD. Here, she tells B&T that being closeted away from media as a kid was her chief driver for a future career in, you guessed it, media…
How did you get into the industry?
I studied film and journalism at university and when I finished I wasn’t sure which path to follow, my passion for creativity or my ambition to work in a commercial world. I answered a job in the paper for a media assistant role, which on the surface I thought seemed to combine these two passions. I was right, and haven’t looked back since.
If you weren’t doing this particular job, what would you be doing?
A writer or journalist most likely!
What are your passions, both in work and outside of it?
I am driven professionally by really getting to understand our client’s businesses, helping them to grow and building trust through this process. Working in an agency means we often get exposed to some incredible information, insights, processes, product development, marketing teams and people. It’s a constant learning curve. I am passionate about seeking to understand how we can best craft the right solution and how we measure it and love working with our teams to craft these solutions – the creativity and enthusiasm that lives inside agencies is inspiring. Outside of work I love the outdoors, and spend as much time as possible hiking, diving, swimming and spending time with my amazing husband and family.
How do you define leadership?
Leadership to me is about setting a clear vision and working with your team to develop and implement the plan to get there. It is about supporting your team and making them believe not only in the vision but in their ability to get to that place.
What makes you tick and go that extra mile to do what you do?
The simple privilege that, through our client base, we are invited in to work with so many amazing brands and businesses. We have the opportunity every day to get under the skin of their challenges and to help maximise their opportunities. No single day is ever the same and just when you think you have it figured out, a client calls with a challenge or an idea that sparks my curiosity all over again. I am driven by delivering our end of that bargain, by driving results, growing our clients businesses and re-earning that privilege to again be invited back.
What are the qualities you seek in people you want to partner with and work with?
I tend to seek out people that are inquisitive, determined, driven, authentic, and fun.
Proudest career moment/achievement?
Surprisingly this is not a promotion or specific role, but more the fact that I was able to work with a client for so long, and continue to do really great work with them. I had the opportunity quite early on in my career to work on Optus, and I ended up spending nine years of my career working on the business. I worked across every department and progressed up through to the team to eventually run the account. The senior clients took me under their wing and taught me so much about business and marketing. It was a fantastic learning experience and I am proud that I was able to continue to deliver and grow through that business. It taught me a lot from a skill set point of view, but also personally about loyalty, really investing in people, deep relationships and what it truly means to know a client’s business. This was a rich training ground for me that I was able to take and expand on as I progressed my media career.
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?
I would tell myself to relax and enjoy the journey more.
Tell us something surprising we don’t know about you?
I grew up on a farm in Tasmania where my father banished the TV in my teens to encourage us to spend more time outdoors, reading and talking. All of which we did, but I also ended up slightly obsessed with media and ended up working in advertising!
What advice would you give a female graduate or a newbie contemplating in the media and marketing industry?
Go for it! It is an amazing career. I am not sure if I have been incredibly lucky or if it’s the norm but I have never felt discriminated against for being female. I have had the benefit of working closely with, and for, many amazing women in the industry. I have been mentored by very successful women and men who have supported me along the way, and now I look to do the same in my current role. Seek out strong mentors (male or female) who will sponsor you in the business, be honest with you, and help you to grow. In my current role at OMD Australia a third of our executive management is female and our two largest agency offices have female Managing Directors. Sixty per cent of our total workforce is currently female, and 90 per cent of our part-time staff which is testament to OMD’s commitment to support, and retain senior female talent in the industry after having children.
And make sure you enter our Women in Media Awards, or nominate a colleague, here!