Young Guns: MediaCom Melbourne digital manager Annalise Booker

By AdNews | 1 June 2017
Annalise Booker

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 Pacific Magazines head of network innovation and social Joanne Jenkinson.

This time we chat to MediaCom Melbourne digital manager and New Zealander Annalise Booker. 

How long have you been in the industry? 

Two and a half years.

Duration in current role/time at the company: 

One and a half years at MediaCom Melbourne, 2.5 years with GroupM 

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

I was working with a group of very talented kiwis on a social enterprise which encouraged young New Zealander’s to get involved in voluntary work. I landed this job after two months of persistence and harassment (57 phone calls and 17 Skype interviews with media agencies across Australia).

Define your job in one word: 


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

I had very few expectations prior to joining the industry; I was more worried that people wouldn’t understand my accent.

How does the reality match up?  

Whilst my accent has developed a twang, I am still the butt of a lot of NZ gags. I am lucky the rugby trump card hasn’t let me down.

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

MediaCom is a business solutions agency. We work with clients to identify business opportunities through systems thinking and provide solutions, which challenge the traditional media model. My role is to develop client’s digital strategy and use tech and data to make 'innovation' tangible and relevant for businesses.  

Best thing about the industry you work in: 

The endless opportunities to pivot. There is no ‘one size fits all’ anymore and if you can back yourself and prove your work, you can start to lead conversations that will define what the industry is in five years. Technology, mobile, social, startups and AI are part of our industry because we have the ability to make them relevant for clients and profitable in a very volatile market place. Just like my role, the industry is very fluid now, so we have an opportunity to take it in a direction that has no precedence.

Any major hard learning's in the job so far? 

Having an awareness of others is essential in business. In a world where we all ultimately care about ourselves, it is so important to understand the power of our actions. If I have learnt anything, it is that the best way to achieve success is through appreciation and encouragement (credit to Dale Carnegie). The only way to achieve momentum is through awareness and understanding of what drives people.

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

Digital strategy – I really believe this department is leading the business solutions charge. Their role is to look at all the moving parts and develop a fertile foundation for creative, media, tech and PR to latch onto.

What's exciting you about the industry right now? 

I am constantly inspired by the diversity of knowledge and offerings in agencies today. Our ability to create a revenue stream out of a non-traditional offering is exciting. It brings out the entrepreneurial side of people and gives employees ownership of their ideas. I am lucky enough to work with some highly talented people who think in very different ways to me. Whenever I get to collaborate with these legends, the output potential is really energising.

What concerns you about the industry and its future? 

The rate in which automation is progressing. There is concern that we will lose the right balance between tools and talent. It is so important that we are developing talent, so that automation remains relevant and optimal to the system it occupies. We need to be thinking about how automation will complement our talent and that affects new starters right through to CEOs.

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

I am lucky enough to work with Sam Russell (head of data and programmatic) and Tim Russell (head of digital strategy) who both act as a sounding board and support to the work I am doing in Melbourne. They are both leading the way in digital innovation and technology and I am fortunate to be a part of their journey.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone? 

Whilst I don’t want to dethrone this man (from his motorized toy car), I know that as long as I work under Willie Pang’s leadership, I will be at the forefront of digital thinking in Australia, if not globally. 

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

In three years I hope to be leading the business solutions sector at MediaCom, working with a core team to provide intelligent solutions, which involve media, technology, product integration and acquisition and change strategies. I am passionate about understanding systems on business and working with great people to identifying the opportunity for growth or change in their business infrastructure. Fortunately, media/marketing gives us the ability to sit at the right table and be present in conversations, which affect key business decisions.

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

Whilst we are evolving, I believe the media industry is not quite evolving at the rate that technology is. As mentioned, we really need to be working with clients to set up the right infrastructure to support change. We also need to stop riding the wave of industry jargon and start driving conversations that challenge our clients thinking. 

Where do you turn for inspiration? 

Professionally, smart, creative people energise me. Whether it is a conference or response to brief, I get my inspiration from others. Personally, I am a sucker for nature’s beauty and love a good trip home to remember how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.

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

I have a passion for social enterprise and I am often looking to find a positive output from a corporate business model. Most people will not know that I would love to be more involved in local startups and enterprises that are creating a positive social output through business.

Favourite advert is: 

New Zealand agencies are often applauded for best in class creative and this is one of those ads that all kiwis love: 

What’s your personal motto? 

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone": We are more capable then we let ourselves believe.

I got into advertising because: 

I am fascinated by people and I want to help create a new way of experiencing the world through communication.

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

Working in the start-up sector or for an NGO.

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