Young Gun: Wavemaker platforms director Simon Conyard

13 February 2020

Our Young Gun profile takes a look at some of the young talent across the advertising, adtech, 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 Wavemaker platforms director Simon Conyard.

Time at the company:
Three and a half years.

How long have you been in the industry?
Almost six years.

How did you get here? Was this always the plan?
Funnily enough, yes. I feel like I’m one of the few who studied a Bachelor of Media, and began a career at a media agency post-graduation. My first role was within digital, and although it was nothing to do with what I had studied, and it was not what I had expected, I instantly loved it. As I began to understand the whole process of how an ad gets in front of a consumer, I knew that I wanted a future within a digital environment.

Who guides you day to day?
My boss Victoria Brennan. She’s been a massive influence throughout my career – so much so I’ve chosen to work for her at two different agencies within GroupM. We’re very much yin and yang, so I believe her perspective and personality balances me out every day.

What’s the best thing about the industry you work in?
The fact that we’re at the intersection of understanding consumer behaviour and dissecting how we make purchase decisions every day. Social psychology is something I find fascinating. 

And the biggest challenge?
Attracting and keeping young talent. I think for a communications industry, we don’t do enough to educate the younger generations about our role. In my opinion, we work in one of the most exciting industries, and we need to do more to ensure we are attracting young creative people who are thinking about their future and the career they would like to have.

Whose job have you set your sights on in the future?
I’ve always been drawn to the fact that our industry is extremely fast paced with new technologies and ways to consume content emerging all the time. Taking this into consideration, I would predict that my future job doesn’t even exist yet. 

Where do you turn for inspiration?
I’m the sort of person who is quite happy to sit in front of YouTube and watch a three-hour video or listen to lengthy podcasts. I am a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell, Sam Harris and Steven Pinker. For me, it is awesome to see the renaissance of long-form content – it’s reassuring that the future isn’t all short and sharp content. But closer to home, definitely my old man. He has lived such an interesting and different life to mine – working in the Air Force and as a blue-collar worker in demolition for most of his life. He’s often referred to as a walking encyclopedia and has an infinite list of trivial facts, which I seem to have memorised over the years!

My favourite advert is:
Beer ads are just better.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I once completed a beekeeping course (I’ve always had ambitions of a second career as a beekeeper!).

In five years’ time I’ll be:
Still loving what I do, while pursuing some sort of quirky hobby.

What’s your personal motto?
Always be curious and wanting to learn something new. 

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