Nat Harvey on becoming Mamamia CEO and her priorities for 2024

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 10 May 2024
Natalie Harvey.

Nat Harvey has been elevated to CEO at women's media brand Mamamia, less than four months into joining as chief revenue officer.

Harvey has told AdNews that it was a "positive surprise".

When she was being recruited, there were discussions about a leadership change down the line and the CRO role serving as a possible stepping stone into the CEO role at some point in the future.

"That was discussed in the recruitment phase and in my mind, that was one to two years away at least, so that wasn't the reason why I joined," she said. "I saw that as an opportunity in the future, but certainly not [happening] within not even four months.

"I feel very fortunate to have joined the business when I did and been able to earn the trust and confidence of [co-founders] Mia Freedman and Jason Lavigne."

Lavigne, who will shift to the role of executive chair as Harvey takes the top spot, said that he spent several years looking for the right person to be the next CEO of Mamamia and "knew from the first meeting with Nat Harvey that she was the one".

Harvey said that she's a "modern leader" in the sense that there are no filters or facades. What you see is what you get.

"I'm very open; I will meet with anyone in the team who wants to meet with me," she said.

"I love being around people and sitting down with the team and being ‘on the floor’ with them and I try and share as much as I possibly can with everybody, so communication and updating everybody on where things are is vitally important."

Harvey said that modern leaders should be able to lead from both the front and the back and be able to know when to move between the two, while also building and maintaining that personal connection with their team.

"My leadership style suits this business because it doesn't take me that long to move around the floor and say hi to people, hear what people are working on," she said.

"In Melbourne and Brisbane and Adelaide when I visit, there's much smaller teams there too, so I'm able to engage with all of them and there’s no distance between me and the team."

Once she takes over Mamamia in just over three weeks, Harvey's first big focus will be enacting the publisher's multi-year strategy, integrating key workstreams throughout the business to drive continued growth.

"My biggest challenge at the moment is I can see the enormous opportunity in so many places, but you can't do everything, so it's vital that we get these workstreams in place so that everybody in the business understands what their role is in delivering on the day to day, but then also their contribution to the future strategy and the acceleration of implementing that because every single person is going to be involved," she told AdNews.

Harvey also has to replace herself as CRO, but with "so many conversations happening in market" and "strong interest [from jobseekers] to get involved with the business", the hiring process is easier than first imagined.

"The more that I talk about the growth opportunity, people's eyes light up, because we don't have the anchors that a lot of other businesses have in that they can't adjust to what's going on from an audience perspective and what's going on from an ad market perspective as quickly as we can," she said.

"There’s this window of opportunity that is happening right now that I believe we are the best positioned to take advantage of a very significant change in media consumption and behaviour of audiences, particularly in that under 30s demographic."

Harvey said the ad market is also undergoing a significant shift, with advertisers being "desperate for reach, desperate for engagement and desperate to be able to find ways to impact that audience and get a better return on investment".

"I don't think there's a publisher that is better positioned than we are to run through the window that's been created, because we have 7 million women a month along with 2 million men engaging with us, we've got the trust that comes with podcasts and the written content and we've got incredible talent both on air and editorially," she said.

With the potential changes with Meta in Australia, Harvey said Mamamia is already taking steps to ensure that the impact is minimal.

"We’re protected by podcasts which aren’t reliant on [Facebook], plus we've had incredibly strong performance from our website in the last couple of months - the highest numbers in years," she told AdNews.

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