The creative industry paves the way for “brutal, consuming” careers with little regard for the health of the minds it benefits from. It’s time to rethink this, according to SDWM’s Elle Bullen.
The Women in Media Awards, presented by Are Media, are just a day away, with the best of Australian media set to be recognised and celebrated for their courage, innovation, and leadership.
A woman who possesses these qualities and more, SDWM’s creative director and founder, Elle Bullen, has been nominated in the ‘Creative’ category at this year’s Women in Media Awards.
The latest to sound the call for a culture shift, Bullen believes the creative industry must get better at supporting its people, by better acquainting itself with the wellbeing of the minds it benefits from.
As Bullen puts it: “An open beer fridge, while a welcome perk, will only solve so many problems.”
Is being recognised as a professional working in the media important?
It’s important both professionally and personally. It translates to credibility and a greater presence within the industry, which is obviously good for business, but even better for demonstrating to young women that it’s possible to have a rewarding and recognised career in communications.
And personally, well, let’s be honest, who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back for their hard yakka?
How will you leverage your recognition as a Women in Media finalist as a force for good?
Even at a passive level this recognition has an impact for good. It shows the world what women are capable of, and celebrates it loudly. But actively, I see this finalist nod as motivation to push harder for better women, in the business and out of it.
Personally, after spending the last year battling breast cancer, I’m determined to put my time and skills into raising awareness and funds for detection amongst young women who, like me, probably don’t realise it could happen to them until too late.
Do you work for a living, or work because you love what you do?
If this wasn’t a love job, I’d have thrown in the towel 10 years ago. I wouldn’t have put in the wild hours at multinationals early on, wouldn’t have risked everything to start my own agency with my brave partners, and I wouldn’t be still pushing to solve things with creativity at a time when it’s never been harder to do so.
This job is far from easy, but it’s my hobby. Luckily, I get paid for doing it.
What aspect of your industry, or your role, would you change for the better?
I’d like our industry to get better acquainted with the concept of mental health. The creative industry in particular paves the way for a brutal, consuming career with little regard for work life balance or the wellbeing of the minds it benefits from.
An open beer fridge, while a welcome perk, will only solve so many problems. We need to get better at supporting our people and ourselves, especially now we’re all adapting to the headfuckery that is long distance teamwork.
Do we have a right, as media professionals, to advocate, to influence, and to change people’s behaviour?
I believe we have a right to influence and to challenge people to consider their own behaviour, but that we need to do so with a conscience. I see our role as media professionals as the messenger.
An organisation like the TAC might need people to change their driving behaviours for everybody’s safety, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that message is received. But I also believe we have a responsibility to question and challenge the messaging we’re tasked with sharing to ensure it’s morally sound.
With the world in the state it is, we need to be more accountable than ever and ensure we’re influencing for the better.
In shaky and uncertain times of change, will playing it safe, and falling back on tropes, get businesses through?
The world’s upside down. Everything has changed. Normal has gone AWOL. So, should an industry that is most impactful when it innovates and connects with people in new ways start playing safe? No. Not at all.
Perhaps the only thing that remains the same is that we must adapt with the world in order to remain relevant to it.
Where is your industry’s biggest opportunity? And where is your industry’s biggest danger?
Right now, we have the opportunity to rewrite our entire operations. Working from home? Part time? Juggling a family? The whole world finally understands what it’s like and is questioning the importance and the efficacy of the nine-to-god-knows-when office bound model.
We have the chance to make work work for us, and we should jump at it. Because our biggest danger is going back to the way things were.
The Women in Media Awards will be held virtually on Wednesday 28 October 2020.
If you’d like more information about the event, head to this website.
You can also check out who made this year’s shortlist, here.
Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible!