Earlier in the year, the IMAA launched its Female Leaders of Tomorrow programme as part of its commitment to fostering long-term diversity and inclusivity across independent media agencies nationally.
The six-month IMAA programme aims to create a support network between accomplished industry leaders and their mentees by matching senior staff with up-and-coming women in indie media agencies for knowledge-sharing and professional development opportunities.
One of the IMAA mentors involved in the programme is Peter Whitehead, chief commercial officer at ARN.
What’s the most important/best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?
“The need to be constantly learning. From a professional development perspective, this is about continuously building your knowledge base and challenging yourself to learn new skills. From a business perspective, it’s learning about what is working, what needs fixing, where the growth opportunities are and ultimately how you may need to adapt your strategy to stay ahead of the pack. I was always taught that when you are at the top of your game, it’s time to change your game.”
Who do you look up to in business and why?
“I have always admired those with an entrepreneurial flair, who have the courage and strength of conviction to back their judgement and the ability to bring others along for the ride.”
Did you have a mentor and what did they teach you?
“I have never had a formal mentor, but I have had various people throughout my career who I have sought out semi-regularly for guidance, advice and just to bounce ideas off. I like to pick up different things from different styles of leaders from a variety of industries – broadening my horizons beyond the media sector.
“A constant theme is the need for a sound strategic framework with company-wide alignment on ‘what success looks like’. One of my former leaders in the media world is now the CEO at one of the country’s most successful sporting organisations and is a regular reference point for developing and maintaining a high-performance culture.”
What does mentoring mean to you and why is mentoring important?
“Mentoring involves listening, learning, and developing an understanding of how you are going to add value to the life of your mentee. It’s about providing guidance, advice and hopefully inspiration to help people reach their full potential.”
Why is it important to have more women leaders in the industry?
“Diversity in leadership is critical in any industry as it inspires new ways of ideation and fosters increased innovation and creativity. Women and men may approach business differently due to their varied life experiences, with a broader range of perspectives proven to lead to better decision making.
“It’s equally important that the next generation of female leaders have more women in leadership roles for them to look up to and model their own careers on.”
What’s on your business reading and podcast list?
“My daily business reading is as much as I can squeeze in – all key trade publications as well as the AFR, and my holiday reading usually includes an autobiography (or occasionally unauthorised biography) of business leaders whose story I’m keen to learn more about.
“In terms of podcasts, Tim Burrowes’ Unmade is a good way to kick off the week, Ted Talks Daily always offers up some insightful gems and The Imperfects provides the perfect blend of casual chat and profound insight.”
Top Image: Peter Whitehead