Mediaweek Academy Ambassador: Jessica Bray on constantly working to improve yourself

“It isn’t for everyone, and that is what makes it an opportunity to elevate yourself above the rest”

Within our industry, there are so many hurdles that we need to tackle before we can be elevated into senior roles, many of which are dependent on the opportunities that you are given and the rooms that you are invited into. Focusing on personal development and continuing education, however, is one factor that you as an individual are able to control to further your career progression. I have focused on this right from the beginning of my career in this industry, when I started my internship at Audience Precision, the same week that I started my Commerce Marketing + Media, Tech & Law degree at University, fresh out of high school. I worked full-time in the industry that I wanted to be successful in, whilst simultaneously studying at university and gaining the skills that I needed to be prepared for it.  

The benefits of studying whilst you are in the field of work that you are wanting to excel in, I found, is the ability to tailor the syllabus and content to what is relevant for your specific needs. You are able to align concepts to real world scenarios and experiences you are having, or have had in the past. Often in higher education opportunities, there is a range of options for subjects and curriculum pathways that you are able to choose. By already being in your desired field of work when choosing these, you are able to decide based on potential skill gaps that you have identified that may limit the opportunities opened up to you in your workplace. For example, within my degree, I had the opportunity to select more media-focused subjects, or heavier data & research subjects. Due to already working at Audience Precision and identifying the immense focus on data & research that is needed for success in our industry, I chose to do subjects that would upskill me in those areas. 

I approach all growth areas & learning modules with the mindset of ‘I don’t need to be an expert, but I do need to know enough about it to have a valuable conversation with someone that is’. This lens is why I am now undertaking a mini MBA with AIM that I will work through across 2023, joining Sparrow’s masterclass next year, as well as leaning into the huge amount of training resources available in LinkedIn Learning. I have reviewed my goals for my career and future, and identified where there are gaps that need to be filled. I think often people lean away from truly analysing their performance and skillset, in fear that others will also realise their skill gaps and they will be penalised for them. This can be highly attributed to feelings of imposter syndrome in the workplace, and is something that I encourage others to really lean into, rather than away from. 

I am not going to lie to you here, it isn’t the easiest path available to you as you navigate through the corporate world, especially with the workloads that we all face on a day-to-day basis. It requires consistent effort & brain power outside of work hours, a passion for learning to allow you to want to allocate your personal time to it, and most importantly it requires belief in yourself that you always have the ability to improve and prioritising education is ultimately prioritising yourself in the long run. It isn’t for everyone, and that is what makes it an opportunity to elevate yourself above the rest. I have had comments in the past from colleagues & friends that I am taking on too much and that I need to slow down. Personally, I have no intention of slowing down, and I don’t think you should either. 

Jessica Bray is head of media at Audience Precision

See Also: Mediaweek announces its 2023 Mediaweek Academy ambassadors
See Also: Audience Precision announces the promotion of Jessica Bray to head of media

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