Young Guns: Ikon junior data scientist Annabelle Powell

By AdNews | 29 June 2017
Annabelle Powell

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.

For our last Young Gun, we spoke to Atomic 212 group account director/client architect Ashleigh Hall.

This time we chat to Ikon junior data scientist Annabelle Powell.

How long have you been in the industry?

I’ve dabbled since 2014 and started as a full-time employee in 2015 with STW.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Six months.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

I was called in for an interview with STW. I must admit I was not prepared in the slightest because I honestly didn’t think I had a chance being a clueless uni student who still had a semester to go. Three interviews later, and I got the job. The job led me to be a part of a revolution in the marketing communications industry with the merger of STW and WPP. Working in head office had many advantages, one involving getting to know all of the agencies within the group. I had always admired Ikon and at the end of last year decided I was ready to move on from being an Ikon stalker and become an Ikonoclaster.

Define your job in one word:

Mind-boggling.

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

Real: Hard work and scary people

Cliché: Endless client lunches

How does the reality match up? 

The work is hard but there’s something thrilling about not 100% knowing what on earth you’re doing. The scary people pretend to be scary but after a glass of wine they’re just regular people. I haven't experienced the client lunches - yet. 

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

Ikon is a full-service communications agency that uses creativity, data, strategic planning, and trade to improve the communications of a brand. My role involves taking the data, and translating it into meaningful information for clients.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The work and the people. If I ever hear someone in data say they’re bored I’ll be gobsmacked. There’s constantly new things to do, and new ways to do it. The work keeps me on my toes and always makes me question, ‘what if’ and ‘why’… also, the WPP AUNZ family is full of some amazing, fun and extremely talented people.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

The crazy acronyms and keyboard shortcuts.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

I’d love to be able to develop my strategic skills. The idea of solving a client’s problem and choosing the path that no one else is daring enough to go down would be an interesting daily challenge.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?  

Data scientists and fashion experts have one thing in common, they can predict the hottest trends before they even hit the market. The ability to point out accurate trends for your clients is a very exciting aspect of the industry today, and one I can’t wait to be involved in.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

I’m too young and optimistic to be concerned.

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

My right hand person sits on my left and goes by the name of Alexander Brideson, also known as the dashboard guru. He is the most patient man I’ve ever come across and is literally trying to teach a blind dog (myself) to see (understand data). And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone? Rose Herceg – I can’t fault the woman. If I could glue Rose's strategic brain with Rob Pardini’s data brain, I’d rule the industry.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

I have three years to put in everything I’ve got. Long hours, hard work and possibly another degree. By 2020 I hope to be in New York giving it all with Ikon and WPP.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

Do we really know what clients are seeking with the depth of data today, or is it a case of leading clients to data outcomes. 

Where do you turn for inspiration?

The shower. The combination of two glass doors and running water really gets the mind flowing.

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

I am in my second season of AFL 9’s and I still haven't kicked the footy.

Favourite advert is:

An oldie but a goodie – Cadbury’s Gorilla Advert

What’s your personal motto?

Success is never final and failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

I got into advertising because:

When I looked at career paths I thought I'd start at the top of the alphabet and take it from there.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

A baker. Birthday cakes are my specialty.

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