Mediaweek Academy Superstar Rebecca Drummond talks training and career development

Mediaweek Academy

• Drummond also reveals her advice for young professionals in the industry

Rebecca Drummond stepped into the role of group strategy director at Wavemaker ANZ this year, and soon she will take to the stage in a panel for the inaugural Mediaweek Academy.

In the lead-up to the event, Drummond spoke to Mediaweek about her career journey, the importance of training and development and what she hopes attendees get out of the day.

Drummond joins the Mediaweek Academy as a Superstar, alongside Legend John Steedman. While humbled by the superlative, she admitted the label came with a hint of imposter syndrome.

“As an industry, we’re so quick to label someone a superstar or a star based on their achievements, successes, and wins, which I sometimes think can paint an unrealistic picture of what that word means.

“For me, the times throughout my career where I’ve truly felt like a superstar, we’re in the midst of personal growth and very high persistent moments that lay behind those achievements and wins.

“Things like hearing ‘no’ that led to pitching braver ideas, understanding where my knowledge gaps were and being motivated to learn more or turning feelings of helplessness into an always-on purpose to use my skills to give back in charity and pro bono opportunities.

Drummond added: “I think that moments of knockdown and failure are so important to share because they show that grit and determination that you need, to me, is where the true superstar label comes into play.”

While some in agency-land happened upon their job and from there grew a career, Drummond had her eye on the industry. She chose the field and graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications and Advertising in 2012.

Drummond counts herself lucky with her start in media, crediting supportive lecturers and developers within her University who connected her to industry contacts and nominated her for internships and work experience opportunities.

No two days are the same for Drummond as Wavemaker ANZ’s group strategy director. She explained that her role sees her help clients find opportunities to connect and convert consumers in the purchase journey to advising on innovative solutions that unlock business growth.

“The other part is working closely with the strategy team in developing and running training courses, strategy ideation, developing processes and different tools around Wavemaker’s product of positive provocation, and helping to facilitate those programmes, like brainstorms and workshops,” she said.

Drummond noted that the role of group strategy director offers plenty of different aspects. She added: “what is constant throughout my role every day is constant collaboration, another part I absolutely love.”

Training and development courses and initiatives are an increasingly effective way to help professionals grow further in their careers and stay in the industry.

Drummond shared that such courses are important to cater to and provide even if talent were in surplus.

“I do think that education is absolutely crucial in helping people gain the knowledge that they need, critical thinking, empowerment, and skills that they need to change their future no matter what level or stage in your career that you are at,” she said.

“Getting up to my 10th year in the industry, and I’m still finding ways to develop and learn and improve,” she added.

The strategist revealed that she has taken the plunge and is doing a master’s degree in communications at her alma mater.

Having gone through her fair share of industry training sessions throughout her career, Drummond shared that the best courses she has ever done were those that had fallen outside her job description.

“I think these are the courses that have helped me develop a broader and more rounded perspective of our industry as a whole,” she said.

Among her highlights was Award School by the Advertising Council of Australia, which she described as a creative-based training course

“There were techniques, especially in the likes of idea generation, refining ideas, and brainstorming, that I still use in my role years and years later.”

Another course she noted was the Mini MBA, founded by Mark Ritson. She said: “That was beneficial in marketing because it helped me understand what a day in the life of a marketer looks like, and how, as a media strategist, I can help provide value and at what stage of that marketing journey for them.”

Mediaweek Academy

Rebecca Drummond

For those starting out and early on in their media careers, Drummond noted that it was important to ask questions. She said: “Just ask that question that you’ve put off asking because you might be a little bit scared that it sounds like a stupid question.”

The strategist also added that it was important to say yes to every opportunity that presented itself – from doing presentations to taking ownership of new tasks or working on new and different things.

“In those moments where you feel most uncomfortable are the moments where you will grow the most. I think having the bravery to ask things and to say yes on a whim and be open to learning and growing is so important, especially when you’re starting,” she said.

For leaders managing young professionals, Drummond noted that allowing them the space to learn and grow in a no-judgment area was necessary.

The strategist explained: “Giving them that space to be able to ask those things and to make and learn from mistakes with those new opportunities is important and to be able to continue to instil that confidence and that self-belief in those that are starting.”

Looking at the state of the media industry in the year ahead, Drummond offered a positive outlook and said she was excited to see that business was back and re-energised.

“You’re seeing that energy and excitement coming from all ends of the spectrum, from clients, media agencies, from partners to creative. You’re seeing this amazing burst of energy where everyone is keen to create. I’m keen to make an impact in whichever comms or channels they’re using at that time.”

Drummond also said that it has been positive to see agencies become focused and leaning into initiatives that drive purpose, particularly with the environment and sustainability.

“I’m seeing a lot of different groups in that space and developing innovative solutions on some of those bigger issues and coming together as an industry to solve those,” she said.

“I think the state of our industry is in a really good place to start to springboard off into those directions,” she added.

See also: Mediaweek Academy to launch in July, led by Greg Graham

See also: Mediaweek Academy gets endorsement from Half Dome and LinkedIn executives

As the start of the Mediaweek Academy draws closer, Drummond shared advice she previously received about training sessions.

She said: “There is never going to be a training session where 100% of the content is applicable to you. But if you can find a connection, or resonate with a thought, or part of a lesson, or even just a quote from that session to take back and build it into your routine, then that’s an amazing thing to be able to do.”

“Every time you go to a different module or a different session, and you take one thing away, you are only going to better your career path for it, and you’re only going to be strengthening the skills that you need to continue to grow and develop throughout your career,” she added.

Drummond added that she was excited to be part of the first Mediaweek Academy and to be joining the panel with industry “legend” Steedman.

“I’m excited to learn as much as everyone else will from him and be part of that with him and Sparrow. I’m just super excited,” Drummond added.

Graduates from the 10-month Mediaweek Academy course will gain certification ensuring they are the hottest talent for that next new job or promotion opportunity.

The early bird package for the Mediaweek Academy will be available until December 16.


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