Originally from Seattle Katie has worked 5 years in Amsterdam at 180 and Adidas. She now runs Droga 5’s Digital Department in Sydney. In this interview she tells us about the other side – the other side of the world, the client side and the female side.
- Katie started off in the software world. She spent some time working at IDEO on the product side before she moved into Advertising.
- On the client side: opposed to her initial concern that it could be less exciting, Katie really enjoyed working on the client side. She worked in the Strategy Department of Adidas where she took care of ways to engage customers with different mediums and sell products in a smarter way. Her experiences as a planner were helpful in order to master her job at Adidas – You know how to distill a lot of information very quickly, you are naturally proactive and take the lead. This helps you to gain trust and responsibility. Vice versa, being a client Katie learned to handle clients better on the agency side. You understand decision making processes, selling an idea, you can ask questions, e.g. which assets do you need to sell the idea? Does it need to be a book, or a film?
- On the other side of the world: to Katie it was more of a culture shock coming to Australia than coming to Holland. The geography created an interesting vibe and culture. In many categories there are Monopolies and Duopolies. Working culture is more relaxed than in Europe and the USA. ‘No worries’ has shifted its meaning from ‘just relax’ to ‘ we’ll handle it’. It is less formal, but still busy. Sometimes you work the weekends – it’s not flip flops and beers at the beach. Sydney is a morning based city. Everyone is up really early and there is no excuse not integrating your morning run. There are great opportunities in terms of digital and mobile. If you come to Australia from Europe or the States you are really interesting for agencies.
- The female side: Katie hasn’t had a women boss besides at the start of her career. When she got pregnant she didn’t have obvious role models in her company. So she did what a friend recommended and went out and had a bunch of coffee dates with senior female executives who gave her great advice. It is hard to shuffle family and work and work life balance is something you probably will have to say goodbye to – but it’s possible and you get used to it.
“Sometimes you are worried what your resume is gonna look like. I’m more worried what my tombstone is gonna look like.”