IMAA Female Leaders of Tomorrow Mentors: Kogan’s Karl Winther

IMAA Karl Winther

“I like to cherry-pick different things from different leaders I have worked with over the years”

Last month, 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 Karl Winther, chief marketing officer at Kogan, who tells Mediaweek about the most important advice he’s been given.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?

“I will give you three.

“Build your network and remember to develop connections. Sometimes it is not what you know, but the people you know and whose insights and experience you can draw on that will help you be an effective leader. This can be true of both people inside and outside your organisation.

“Own your voice. When I was in my very first executive role, I probably struggled to have the impact I wanted to. This piece of advice was provided to me by my line manager at the time and while first confused by it I came to understand that the most influential leaders authentically embrace their passions, opinions, and own style. Simply focus on being yourself as everyone else is already taken!

“A creative director at an agency once said to me:

Rule 1. Never panic
Rule 2. Refer to rule 1!

“Always found this to be a calming thought in any crisis.”

IMAA Female Leaders of Tomorrow

Who do you look up to in business and why?

“I look up to organisations that have a really clear understanding of the strategic value they provide and consistently evolve how they execute this to deliver results over a sustained period. Working in retail I tend to focus on brands in the sector. Aldi, Ikea, Bunnings, and my current business are all great examples of these.”

Did you have a mentor and what did they teach you?

“I like to cherry-pick different things from different leaders I have worked with over the years. I think it is important to continually be curious and learn from others. I can think of different leaders whom I admire – be it their unique ability to see opportunities in the market and think strategically (Ruslan Kogan CEO, to be disciplined in a strategy and incredibly principled (Mark Ward CEO Officeworks), thought leadership and inspirational public speaking (David Haydon COO Officeworks) or ability to process and retain information and act decisively (Bernie Brookes CEO Myer).”

What does mentoring mean to you and why is mentoring important?

“Listening and asking questions.

“Mentoring is not about sharing your wisdom but listening and providing a different perspective to a mentee and asking them questions that help them figure out how to get closer to what it is they want to achieve or develop.”

Why is it important to have more women leaders in the industry?

“Regardless of gender, diversity of thought is important to me in any industry as I believe it leads to more effective outcomes.

“Having more female leaders in the industry is a very important part of ensuring diversity of thought, especially in marketing which is the area of the business that should be the most focused on the customer.

“Also, as a father of three teenage daughters, my hope is that they enter into a workforce where there are more positive role models in their chosen field, for them to look up to.”

What’s on your business reading and podcast list?

“Too many to list but my current top three:

“Podcast: Uncensored CMO with Jon Evans with episodes interviewing marketing leaders around the world is always candid and insightful packed with practical advice for other marketing professionals.

“Book: The Illusion of Choice by Richard Shotten has great examples for marketers of how behavioural science can used be for more effective outcomes.

“Book: The Effective Executive by David Drucker: Great read given to me by my CEO Ruslan Kogan. Although written in the 1960s there were some great basic reminders and universal truths for leaders in any organisation at any time.”

See Also: IMAA Female Leaders of Tomorrow: oOh!media’s Cathy O’Connor

Top Image: Karl Winther

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