Young Guns: GumGum creative manager Emily Averill

By AdNews | 10 October 2018

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Today we speak to GumGum creative manager Emily Averill.

How long have you been in the industry?

Six years.

How did you get here? Was this always the plan?

I grew up thinking that I would be an artist. However, after beginning to study fine art it soon became clear that it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue full time (I still paint in my spare time – you can see some of my work here). I’d always been incredibly interested in tech so I began to explore how I could combine these two passions. I trained as a graphic designer and then went to university to major in Internet Communications, with a focus on web design. My current role marries the two things that I love – tech and creativity. Although I’m currently diving deeper into the engineering side of things than ever before.

Who's your right-hand person/who guides you day to day?

I work closely with our head of accounts manager as I’m responsible for the creative design of the ads her team manages. I also have a mentor who works at Google who I turn to for wider guidance. We met at a Women in Tech event here in Sydney and struck up an instant rapport. She is now working in the UK but we have regular Skype sessions.

What’s best thing about the industry you work in?

I love how quickly things are evolving and changing in digital. I have a natural curiosity and openness so I thrive in a rapidly evolving environment; I’d hate to work in a more static environment that didn’t involve constant relearning and reinvention.

And the biggest challenge?

What I’ve described above also presents its biggest challenge. Sometimes it can feel like just as you’ve mastered a certain craft, the goalpost moves or the technology evolves and updates. I find that as long as you’re willing to be on the ball, adaptable and open then it can be exhilarating but sometimes when you’re under the pump it can be a challenge. That said, I tend to focus on the positive aspect of it and see it as more of a blessing than a curse.

Whose job have you set your sights on in the future?

I’d love to work in product. I’ve recently began speaking with GumGum’s head of product in the Los Angeles office about how she arrived there as she has an interesting career trajectory to get to that point. I’m currently a user of the software that she and her team design and I’d love to make the transition to actually developing that software.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

I’m a huge podcast junkie about a multiplicity of subjects (not just tech and design). I find that this informs both my personal and professional life – I’m the person that brings up something I’ve heard about in a podcast in most conversations! As an artist, I also get inspired by art and design.

My favourite advert is (and why):

In terms of ads I’ve worked, I’ve loved working on our animated Star Wars Lego ads as I’m a huge fan of the movies.

In terms of ads in general I love anything that comes out of the design studio ‘Buck.’ They’re created work for some huge names like Adidas and Apple and their work is always memorable and carries a lot of personality. 

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I have a crazy memory so I can recite hundreds of poems and passages from novels that I’ve read over the years. This also extends to raps – I could pretty much recite the whole of Kendrick’s latest album.

In five years’, time I'll be:

I love what I do so I hope I’ll be doing something similar – making cool stuff at work all day and painting by night. But ideally, I’ll be in product and be a smarter and savvier version of my current self.

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