Women In Media’s Sandra Wee: “To Bring About Change in Our Industry, Being Courageous Is Necessary”

Photography by andre&dominqiue
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

What will this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards winners look like? According to The Trade Desk’s director of client operations, Sandra Wee, they will represent our next generation of leaders.

During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Are Media, we’ll be recognising exceptional people who have achieved success in their professional arenas, celebrating their invaluable contribution to their industry through leadership, innovation and courage.

Not only will the winners of the awards in 2020 represent these qualities—as Sandra Wee, our interviewee, does in spades—they’ll also be a sign of the future of ad-land, she says.

This week, we had the chance to speak with the Singapore-based 2019 Women in Media Awards winner, who gave us an insight on what makes her tick and how she overcame her fears to take the leap to her current role.

What does your average day look like?

Since the B&T Awards last year, I moved to Singapore. We are still working from home at the moment, so I have been prioritising a schedule that allows me to separate work and family life.

What drives you, Sandra?

My son, really.

When things seem overwhelming, coming home to my son really puts things into perspective for me and reminds me that the most important job I have is really to raise my son the best I can so that he is happy and healthy.

What is your proudest professional moment?

Being awarded B&T’s best in technology at last year’s Women in Media Awards was definitely a proud moment for me.

The award was testament to the blood, sweat and tears given by myself but also the entire ANZ team into building The Trade Desk (TTD) across in the region.

Personally, it was also a positive affirmation and gave me the much-needed confidence boost I needed before I embarked on my new adventure and new role at TTD Singapore.

Is there a difference between being ‘brave’ and being ‘courageous’?

To me, being brave is simply having no fear or where the feeling of being afraid is simply not present.

Being courageous is acknowledging fear but being able to move past it and move forwards despite that fear.

When in your career have you been bravest and most courageous?

It doesn’t seem like a big deal now when I think back on it, but after nearly 10 years agency side, I decided to leave without a job lined up. I had no idea what I wanted to do next.

The usual thoughts run through your head—if I’ll be able to find another job, what if I can’t find a job, how will I pay rent?

I was fortunate enough to have given some great advice from people in my network and the opportunity at TTD came up and here I am, some six years later.

Why should women in Australia’s media, marketing and advertising industries be courageous?

I think that if we want to bring about change in our industry, being courageous is necessary. I would like to share a quote from Brené Brown that really resonates with me:

“We either own our own stories or they own us. Only when we have the courage to own our history, are we able to write a brave new ending to our own story.”

Have the women and men of ad-land been courageous enough in our fight for gender equality?

I think we are.

Having the privilege of being one of the judges this year, I’ve been so inspired by the entries and their stories that exemplify the courage it takes to break away from what is accepted and create new standards that level the playing field for all in our industry.

This year’s theme for Women in Media is courage and bravery. What would an awards focused on this theme look like, to you, and what kind of person do you visualise should be up on the stage receiving an award?

I hope that the theme will celebrate a wide spectrum of women from all walks of life, race, religion, orientation ranging from high profile individuals through to our everyday heroes.

I hope the theme will highlight inclusion through the celebration of diversity. I imagine someone who is brave and leads from the front but also is courageous enough to be vulnerable in front of others.

What should that person represent?

They represent our next generation of leaders who will stand together and fight for change so that one day in the future we will not need a ‘Women in Media Awards’ and we can just have media awards for all.

Is the slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic an opportunity for ad-land to rethink how it approaches gender issues?

I think the forced working from home arrangement brought on by the pandemic should really challenge the industry about thinking of different working arrangements—be it job share or flexible working arrangements.

This will not only help with industry churn but will go a long way in keeping women in the industry, especially ones with young families.

And finally, who is the bravest or most courageous person you know and why?

I think the bravest person I know is my five-year-old son. In the space of less than 12 months, he has moved countries, changed schools and weathered a pandemic which saw him cooped up at home for over two months.

He has taken this in his stride and adapted well to what life has chucked his way.

Don’t be shy, be proud of your achievements and enter B&T’s Women In Media! Submit your entry here.

You can also buy tickets to the event here, which will be held on Wednesday 28 October 2020, at Doltone House (Jones Bay Wharf).

And, if you’d like more information, head to this website.

Other key information 

On-time deadline: Friday 21 August 2020 (5pm AEST)

Late entries deadline: Friday 28 August 2020 (5pm AEST)

Shortlist announced: Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible! 

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