Industry Profile: Commtract CEO Luke Achterstraat

16 April 2019

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Commtract CEO Luke Achterstraat.

Time in current role:
We launched Commtract in July 2016, so it has been close to three years now.

How would you describe what the company does?
We are Australia’s first vetted, online talent platform for communications and PR. Think ‘Airtasker’ but for professional communicators. We help organisations find great comms talent on demand, and then take care of the boring bits for them (contracts, invoices, payments etc).

What do you do day-to-day?
We’ve built a great team at Commtract with expertise that spans across marketing, sales, business development, operations, events and software development. I am the lucky one that gets to feed off their ideas and try to take the credit.

Define your job in one word:
Busy.

I got into recruitment because:
I didn’t as we are not really recruiters. Rather, we are an online marketplace and community that makes connecting to communications professionals much easier and more transparent for both parties.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Trying to balance the competing needs of being disruptive whilst also respecting the traditional norms of the industry.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Having a serious discussion about “The Future of Work” and what we can do to ensure it’s a positive experience for people. By the end of 2020, almost half the workforce is predicted to be consultants, contractors and freelancers.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I worked as an advisor in federal politics, and before that as a policy advisor for a federal employer group. Both jobs really boiled down to working at the intersection of people and communications; two loves I get to combine at Commtract.

Who has been a great mentor to you?
I have had great mentors in Andrew Robb (former Trade and Investment Minister) and Pete McConnell (Commtract chair). The best mentors are those that challenge you and make you self-reflect rather than just sponsor you. The best advice I received was from Robb who said, “back your strengths, and neutralise your weaknesses”.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Disruption doesn’t happen overnight.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Attempting to run a pub or café in the country. Ideally a cheese and wine bar in Orange that plays my favourite music.

My mantra is:
With humility comes wisdom.

My favourite ad is:
The Uber Eats ad with Lee Lin Chin and Ray Martin.

Music and TV streaming habits?
Frequent and perpetual.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I talk behind their backs a lot…about how fantastic they are.

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