Today in our Women in Media profiles, we get chatting to the CREATE national commercial strategy director for Nova Entertainment, Kate Day, about tonnes of mashed potatoes and the art of being frank.
How would you describe your role?
I lead NOVA’s branded entertainment team, CREATE. We work with our clients and partners to create brand solutions built to share, inspire and excite.
Our service offering includes everything from research and insight to consumer experience, creative, content production, sponsorship and partnerships, design, digital and innovation.
There’s a bit on!
Describe your average day?
Typically starts with a walk to work, coffee, then conversations with sales leaders or CREATE heads of function about live business or upcoming projects. We have a really strong leadership group that work together cross market and I’m based in Melbourne so a lot of my facetime is done on video conference.
Best case, a couple of hours are set aside for solo work, but the rest of the day is typically full of working meetings on local or national projects, major briefs or production of sold work. These can range from creative briefings, to idea generation, to strategic planning, resourcing/ops or feedback sessions.
I go to market at least a few times a week to see our clients, my intention is always for it to be more often – being in touch with their challenges defines our approach.
If I don’t have anything after work socially or professionally, I walk home with a colleague to actively and effectively avoid the need to go to the gym.
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
Balancing energy and directing it in the right places at the right times to get the best results. It’s an art I’m still learning to master.
What drives you?
Transformation and healthy competition. I’m at my most creative when the chips are down. I’m a total try hard in that way – always striving.
What’s the hardest brief you’ve ever received or hardest job to execute?
I thought long and hard about this – although it pre-dates Nova, I’m not joking when I say the hardest job I’ve ever had to execute was sampling what felt like three tonnes of frozen mashed potato to shoppers nationally.
The pure logistics of taking frozen to hot is tough enough, but I also decided to set a hectic sample rate and a super competitive cost per sample to win the business. A sleepless three months for a perfectionist ensued.
I only just started eating mash again and the campaign was years ago. Everything I know about project management I learnt from sampling.
What has been your favourite job in media and why?
My current role of course…
That aside though, I loved the Head of CREATE role which was my previous gig for NOVA Entertainment in Melbourne. Melbourne is an incredible media market to work in and it’s a role that is by nature in touch with what the market needs and wants given the constant pitching.
The team we had at the time, just worked – my successor Jaclyn Shaw is fundamental to that, she’s an outstanding leader and a super talented female media professional.
What annoys you about this industry?
It can be tough to imagine a career with true longevity at every level and every stage of life. For that reason it can be hard to attract and retain the best talent.
What was your career path to this job?
Music > Advertising > Direct Marketing > Promotions > Experiential > Radio > Now
What would be your ultimate role?
I’d like to work with my sisters at some point. They’re both in the business and I value their perspective and experience in so many always.
What’s your proudest professional moment?
There’s not one that stands out just yet, I’d like to believe that’s ahead of me. All the work I have done since I have been with NOVA Entertainment has been the best of my career.
What’s your quirkiest attribute?
One thing no one knows about you?
Not much, see above.
What are advertising/marketing’s biggest challenges or threats?
Retention of great talent. Diversity of thought. I’m passionate about both these territories and believe they encompass our best opportunities to future proof our industry.
What do you think are the most exciting things in the marketing and creative world at the moment?
I think brands using consumer data to fuel product innovation is really exciting.
Non-traditional creative collaborations across media companies, brands and creative agencies is another space with loads of potential.
If you were CEO what would you do differently?
Very little. Cathy O’Connor has a solid vision for the future and a clear plan to get there. She nails the role in pretty much every way in my books.
Hardest lesson you’ve had to learn (in or out of workforce)?
‘The squeaky wheel gets the oil’ or maybe, ‘Life isn’t always fair. Both brutal but character defining lessons.
Tea or coffee?
Both – in succession and multiple times a day.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, all day.
True crime. Podcasts, audio books, docos, whatever. I have a hot confession to make exclusively here though – I fell asleep during every episode of Making of a Murderer. Get a narrator already!
What’s your favourite TV programme?
Insight on SBS – I’m a total creep for Jenny Brockie.
What turns you on, emotionally, creatively, spirituality?
Authenticity. Conversation. Music. Wine. Dance. Travel. Family.
What turns you off?
Politics. Ego. Passivity. Sobriety. Narcissism. Small talk.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I always wanted to be a ballet dancer. I like food a bit too much though. With that firmly out of reach, I’d like to try my hand at making and marketing wine.
What profession would you not like to do?
Air hostess. No one should ever let me do that. Planes would be grounded.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
On life? No, but I have definitely worn outfits that would indicate otherwise. Working in media? No way, not yet! I’m still enjoying it far too much.
What are the pearls of wisdom you know now, that you wish you knew when they were younger?
PEARL 1: Take it seriously enough for it to be a satisfying career, but not so seriously you risk losing the joy.
PEARL 2: You will meet some average humans along the way. Don’t let them define the industry for you or distract you from what you believe is possible.
PEARL 3: Try dating outside the industry.