Mediaweek Academy will host its fourth session for industry up-and-comers on Tuesday, centred on building your personal brand.
Greg’ Sparrow’ Graham, MFA Hall of Famer and Mediaweek contributing editor, will lead the session featuring a Legend of the Industry alongside a Superstar making waves.
Ahead of the academy, Brownlow spoke to Mediaweek about her career journey, the key to building a personal brand and what she hopes attendees take away from the day.
Brownlow on her start in the industry
Like many in the industry, Brownlow shared that her journey into the industry and her current role was not straightforward.
Brownlow took up a double degree in Arts Theatre and Commerce after high school, hoping to pursue her passion for drama and eventually achieve her dream of securing a management position at the prestigious Sydney Theatre Company.
Though she enjoyed studying theatre and acting, she soon realised that the industry was highly competitive.
“It was during a sobering moment in class when a professor remarked, ‘this is a tough industry, and about 90% of you will struggle to find work.’ Reflecting on those odds, I made the decision to shift my focus solely to the commerce degree,” she said.
After graduating from university, Brownlow got the opportunity to join a small PR firm in North Sydney on a six-month contract.
“It was an arduous experience, with long hours from 8 am to 6 pm, coupled with a lengthy commute that saw me leaving home before 6:30 am and returning around 7:30 pm. This adjustment to the demands of a full-time job was a shock, as it often is for many people entering their first professional role.
“Despite the challenges, the PR role provided invaluable experience, which ultimately helped me secure a permanent position in radio sales. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in radio, and over the course of seven years, I worked in various roles within different radio companies, where I honed my skills in advertising, media, and agency sales.”
Brownlow said that she is forever grateful for the fun, creativity, and lasting friendships she experienced during her time in the radio industry.
“Seeking a fresh challenge, I decided to transition into the digital realm, marking the beginning of a 12-year journey working for digital and tech companies, with a primary focus on agency and channel partnerships.
“For the past year, I have had the privilege of leading the Channel Sales business for APAC at LinkedIn—a role that I am truly passionate about and thoroughly enjoy.”
Day in the life of the head of Channel Sales at LinkedIn APAC
As the head of channel sales, Brownlow noted that her primary responsibility is to drive growth among our existing channel partners while establishing new partnerships with companies based in APAC.
“We collaborate with a wide range of businesses, from start-ups to major global tech companies, that develop cutting-edge technology and solutions to enhance marketing efforts on LinkedIn.”
Brownlow is part of LinkedIn’s global channel sales leadership team. As part of that, her day starts with early morning calls, connecting with the company’s global directors and colleagues across different time zones. She also dedicates time to working closely with her team, crafting their APAC strategy, and conducting individual check-ins to monitor their progress.
“Building strong partnerships with our channel partners is a key priority, involving collaborative planning and execution of activities outlined in our Joint Business Plans (JBPs),” she said.
“Additionally, I engage in frequent communication with various internal segment leads and cross-functional partners through forecast calls, team meetings, and one-on-one interactions,” she added.
“At LinkedIn, we actively prioritise continuous learning, and I am currently participating in a CEO course tailored for employee resource group leaders. This course aims to enhance productivity and foster success in my role.
In addition to her responsibilities at LinkedIn, Brownlow also contributes to the ‘Embrace’ leadership team, which is dedicated to promoting engagement, education and celebrating diversity through our organisation.
Brownlow on the key to building a personal brand
Brownlow said: “Your personal brand, in simpler terms, refers to how others perceive you. It holds immense significance for individuals seeking career advancement.”
Brownlow explained that when it comes to personal branding, there are two key words to remember: “Self-Awareness.”
“This forms the foundation for understanding your personal brand. Achieving true self-awareness often involves seeking feedback from important individuals within your professional network. These can include your manager, colleagues, team members, and even customers.”
Brownlow noted to ask that network a variety of questions to gain insights into how you present yourself, your strengths, and areas for improvement.
“Initially, receiving feedback might be challenging, but as you grow more adept at accepting it, you’ll realise that it is a valuable gift enabling you to continually enhance and refine your personal brand,” she said.
“I firmly believe that people don’t need to change themselves to conform to an idealised personal brand that isn’t authentic.
“Instead, it’s about recognising certain aspects of your personality that may be perceived differently by others and having the ability to adjust those traits depending on the audience or situation,” Brownlow added.
Sharing stories and advice
Brownlow has attended a previous Legends and Superstars session and said she was blown away by the stories and advice shared.
“I’ve had a 20-year career now in media and advertising, and I have learnt some lessons along the way that I would also love to be able to share too.
Brownlow added: “Selfishly to be paired with the formidable industry legend Sunita Gloster, I will be ready to learn a few things myself.”
Mediaweek will run six more sessions of the Mediaweek Academy this year. Sparrow urged those who missed out to come to the next ones.
“It’s going to help your career, get your promotion and really kickstart your journey in the industry. So, I’d say don’t miss out,” Sparrow said.
Top image: Lara Brownlow