Industry Profile: Wavemaker national head of content & partnerships Shivani Maharaj

27 August 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 Wavemaker Sydney national head of content & partnerships Shivani Maharaj.

Duration in current role/time at the company:
A year and a half, since the formation of Wavemaker itself.

How would you describe what the company does?
We connect the right audience to media, content and technology. Our obsession is consumer purchase journeys, how people behave and what they do as a result.

What do you do day-to-day?
Create ideas and content that moves people.

Define your job in one word:
Creative.

I got into advertising because:
I did a double major at university in advertising and public relations. I wanted to work in this amazing industry.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
People think that only creative agencies should have ‘creatives’ but as a media agency by definition we look at it through the lens of an audience using data, science and, of course, some gut instinct.

As a media agency we have always been obsessed with understanding the customer. We look at it creatively through this lens. It’s our job to understand how people behave in different stages of the purchase journey, and what sort of message they want to see at which stage.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
We have to be careful not to go down the rabbit hole of personalisation with so much available data and lose the sparkle of mass reach. More importantly, we need to retain focus on big ideas that connect emotionally – we can’t lose the power of storytelling and creativity.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
MediaCom, Maxus, ACP Magazines.

Who is/has been a great mentor to you?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great women in my career. I joined MediaCom in 2006 because it was the only media agency in Australia with a female CEO at the time – Anne Parsons. She taught me to have presence and let my personality shine.

Lindsay Pattison has been a great inspiration. She was the first female global CEO of a media agency. She’s driven, smart and has been a huge advocate of mine and seeing me succeed. I love her!

Over the course of my career, there have been many women who have touched my life: Efi Richter, Fiona Johnston, Lisa Squillace and Lou Barrett among them.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
The best PR is what others say about you. Leave an impression, be kind and get back to people. This industry is built on relationships and who you know. That comes with time and experience. Not something you get overnight.

If I wasn’t doing this for a living, I’d be:
An interior designer or fashion stylist.

My mantra is:
I believe in ‘The Secret’. If you surround yourself with positive thinking and belief, then what you believe will come true. I’m also a huge believer in karma.

My favourite advert is:
Sorry that it’s American but it’s Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter, the most loved Yankee of all time. I cried at Cannes when I saw this on the big screen.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
Netflix and Spotify.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I started university doing a computer science degree.

In five years’ time I'll be:
Taking over my boss’s job.

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