Industry Profile: Connecting Plots account director Gemma Barr

25 May 2021
Gemma Barr

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, 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 Connecting Plots account director Gemma Barr.

Time in current role: 
Two years.

How would you describe what the company does?
We are a creative communications agency specialising in fit-for-channel work.

What do you do day-to-day?
Clients come to Connecting Plots for a magnitude of reasons. I find myself split between managing large scale integrated campaigns with truck loads of deliverables as well as social account BAU work for some of our other clients.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
I have a degree in Visual Arts and Design, but I’m a pretty terrible designer. I secured an account exec role at a design agency straight out of university and haven’t looked back.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Time. There is never enough! Whether that be enough time for projects, or also ensuring I have enough time for my partner, kids and my clients – there are a lot of plates to keep spinning.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
A year ago I would have said flexibility for working parents but COVID has changed how we work and how we interact with our clients. There is now an unspoken acceptance between clients and agencies that someone could be dialling into a meeting from home (or wherever they are). So now it’s making sure that flexibility doesn’t cause burnout because sometimes you just don’t ever stop working.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I have worked over 13 years in the industry – so far all small independents, with a stint at BWM Dentsu prior to having kids.

Notable campaigns you have worked on:
Fantastic Furniture: “Find Your Fantastic” and Westinghouse: “Now You Can”.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
I’ve had many mentors over the years. As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve learnt mentoring can come from anywhere, not just your direct management. I think I’ve learnt more from creative directors and strategists over recent years than anyone else.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Take ownership of everything thrown at you, but be ready to admit when you don’t know the answer to something. It’s amazing the help you get when you just ask for it!

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
A fine art photographer.

My mantra is:
I think my catchphrase in life is “It’ll be fine!”

If you can see the positive, and even get a laugh out of it, then the most stressful situations all of a sudden become more manageable.

My favourite advert is:
I love seeing what MLA do each year with their lamb Australia Day campaigns.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
All of them! But my family gets more use out of them than me. Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Prime, Spotify.

In five years' time I'll be:
Still managing projects in some way shape or form. My kids will be five years older, but will still very much need their Mum (and Dad). Perhaps I’ll manage to find a little more time for myself, however. 

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