Meeting of the Minds: Half Dome’s Simon Gellibrand and Arielle Akimana

meeting of the minds logo - August 30

Gellibrand and Akimana share their perspectives, thoughts and opinions

Meeting of the Minds brings together two different points of view from an industry rookie and an experienced expert.

The Mediaweek series aims to showcase their diverse perspectives, thoughts and opinions.

This month’s Meeting of the Minds sees Simon Gellibrand and Arielle Akimana from Half Dome reveal their leadership heroes, current streaming binge and career goals for 2023.

Simon Gellibrand, head of digital

Meeting of the Minds - Half Dome, Simon Gellibrand

Best career advice – Specialise, specialise, specialise. I was given this advise about 18 years ago and it is a great, simple reminder that you are at your most valuable when you specialise in your chosen craft rather than being a generalist.

My favourite podcast/read – Diary of a CEO, The Way of the Runner and Louis Theroux. I am curious about the psychology of business, love running, and enjoy learning about interesting pathways in life, which Louis approaches with intrigue in his interviews. 

Current streaming binge – Is it cake? I watched Season 2 on the plane back from Europe. Yes, it is totally ‘brain switch-off’ TV but it was great to zone-out to. 

Leadership hero – The Obamas are a force of nature. I was lucky enough to see Barack in his recent talk in Melbourne. What struck me was his calmness, he is centred, a great leveller and really funny. 

I wish someone had told me – Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Guilty content pleasure – Car-related content that tells a story from ruin to back to showroom condition. My current watch is YouTube star Tavarish who is bringing the famous McLaren P1 that was damaged in the floods in the US, back to its former glory and better than before. I enjoy watching the problem-solving side and the sense of accomplishment when he unveils the progress. 

Best training course/session – Dare to LeadBrenee Brown was at a three day off-site that was handled by accredited facilitators. It gave me the confidence to ‘show-up’ as myself and explore what ‘armour’ I am wearing and how to have the confidence to take it off.

Your mentor – Dean Gardner, Mark Armstrong, Grace Chu – all great agency leaders from years gone by, that have all taught me a great deal on client, commercials, sales and above all people management. 

Hot medium or show – Threads and the X (formerly known as Twitter) and Meta competition – as this intensifies it will be really interesting to see the fall-out. 

Favourite media event – Google Summer party

Wish I’d done that – Given a client-side role a go about seven years ago and tried it for a year.

Career goal for 2023 – Raise the bar across digital and break down the complexities that exist, build a world-class operation and have a great time while doing it.

Arielle Akimana, activation executive

Meeting of the Minds - Half Dome, Arielle Akimana

Best career advice – Trial and error is the best way to learn, doing and failing is invaluable and key to building decision-making skills.

My favourite podcast/read – Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Current streaming binge – The Bear on Disney+

Leadership hero – My parents, coming from teaching backgrounds they both always modelled showing up for other people and showing pride in community.

I wish someone had told me – The grades you get now are temporary and are not a measure of who you are and what you can achieve.  

Guilty content pleasure – Love a rom-com or 2000s comedy for a good night in.

Best training course/session – Half Dome has a great commitment to learning and development. I attended an internal session about working smarter which gifted me some easily implemented actions on how to maximise my own productivity, but also allowed me to learn from others on how they improve their productivity and how to get work done around different productivity schedules.

Your mentor – I have many great mentors both in my current position and in past positions who have taught me a range of skills, from communication to how to problem-solve, and I am continuing to learn from these people today.  

Hot medium or show – Meta is a constantly evolving platform and a leader in media.

Favourite media event – IMAA Great Media Pursuit

Wish I’d done that – Taken more advantage of community events in university when I could. I had started my university studies right at the beginning of the pandemic but even as places and the university began to open up, I still did not take enough time to spend time on campus, getting to know the university and make more friends and connections. If I could do anything different, I would have made more effort to join clubs and groups and get involved in events.

Career goal for 2023 – I recently just moved into a new role as Activation Executive and right now my key focus is continuing to grow into this role while I complete my final year of university. 

To take part if future editions of Meeting of the Minds please email: [email protected]

Top image: Simon Gellibrand and Arielle Akimana

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