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Women in Media - Ellie Rogers - Facebook



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Welcome to MediaScope's profile series where we regularly ask 'Women in Media' about their career and experiences in our industry. 

This time we feature Ellie Rogers, Head of Agency Sales for Facebook.

Thanks to Ellie for her very honest and compelling insights and for getting involved.

  • Name:  Ellie RogersMediaScope Women in Media - Ellie Rogers - Facebook
  • Company:  Facebook
  • Role:  Head of Agency Sales

Tell us about your industry background?

I have been in the media industry for 13 years, both in my motherland, England, and then for the last 7 years in Australia.  I started my career in London, at Carat, as a TV buyer, where I haggled over 0.01% inflation for my dinner. The trading floor was a great learning environment, although I had to wash my ears out with soap most nights with all the swearing. I realized pretty early on in my career that I was never going to be a 'hardcore, beer drinking, wide boy that got what they wanted from scaring people' so I needed to play another game and just be myself. I also quickly learned that within an aggressive, cut throat, predominately male back drop the odd 'please', 'thank you' and 'what do you think' went down an absolute treat. 10 years ago I made the leap into digital, joining full service agency Profero in 2004 where I was delighted to stop talking rate, and start developing ideas and consumer experiences. In 2008 I moved to Oz to work at Ikon, which I lived and loved for 6 years, before joining Facebook last year.

What is your role and what do you do?

My role as head of agency sales at Facebook, is to ensure that the book of faces is set up to work closely with agencies across the market. During my time at Ikon, we set up a social division and were early adopters of all things Facebook. Our clients were seeing some incredible results not just on brand, but on shifting real goods and putting real bums on seats. However, with  Facebook representing a whopping 12% of media time, but representing less than 1% of media spend, there was clearly a story to be told and then a case to be proven across the market. I have been in the role now for 10 months.

In my first month I met with each agency head and listened hard to their views on faecbook.  Their feedback was consistent - 'we want to do much more with Facebook, but our teams  need more  training on the platform, we need more proof that it actually works and we need more brand focused ad products'. When we felt we had a firm grip on what our partners wanted and needed from us, we went to work to evolve our organization to be much more agency friendly. We are still at the beginning of this journey, but we are encouraged and excited by the growth and maturity of our agency partnerships.

What are your family circumstances and how do you manage your work/life balance?

I am a single mum with a gorgeous 2 1/2 year old daughter, Nancy May, and a naughty 7 year old son, Max (our golden retriever). We don't have any family in the country so I need to work somewhere that not only supports me being a mum first, but actively encourages it. I am really pleased to say that I am lucky enough to have found that environment not once but twice in my life. When I first announced to my previous boss that I was having a baby – his response was 'we will do  everything we can to help you' and he really did. I am extremely lucky that my new employer is also a massive advocate of women in the work place – guess it helps that Sheryl Sandberg is at the helm.

Lots of companies talk a great game around women, but like all things in life, it’s much better to look at what people actually do. Recently I was invited to attend a WPP Stream conference in Malaysia and also our global sales conference in San Francisco. The thought of leaving my daughter for 2 weeks in Australia while I did some work globe trotting brought out all my inner catholic guilt tendencies. There are somethings as a single mum I thought would be off limits for both me and my career. Before I politely declined, I thought there was no harm in suggesting to my boss that I could go to the UK to drop off Nancy in-between conferences so my mum aka 'the best but furthest baby sitter in the world' could look after my little person. My boss said yes without flinching, and myself, Nancy and her trusted 'Pink Teddy' went off on our adventures. Working for a company that allows you to be your whole self is totally liberating, and ensures  loyalty, dedication and absolute commitment to an organization.

Please outline your views on the general media industry – what is the State of the Media?

In my 13 years in media, I have never seen so much change as the last 12 months, and I'm sure the next 12 will be even more bonkers. Every meeting I go I feel like I am in a bingo hall  – with top 10 'keywords' of the last few months being 'automation, data, mobile, social, DSP's, CRM, integration, native, content, and hyper targeting'. Drop any of those into a sentence, and you are sure not to be voted out of the big media house. As I mentioned before, actions speak far louder than words, and my response to this noise is to ask 'what have you done, and will you do'.

Whilst change is absolutely happening in the media industry and media budgets are starting to shift, its still well behind the pace being set by consumers and many clients are starting to get frustrated with the slow pace of change around innovation. Organisations that are brave enough to admit the media model is broken, blow it all up and start again will be sure to be the winners over the next 12 months. Whilst no one disagrees that most of our global media models and methods are a bit broken, the real question is what is next?

The owned, and earned approach to connecting with customers is proving a worthy route with many advertisers now focusing on developing extraordinary consumer experiences in the shape of branded utilities. However, I still believe that bought media still has a relevant place in today’s media mix, with PWC agreeing with their forecast that the AU ad market will grow by 2.7% between 2013 and 2017. So, contrary to popular belief, ads aren't the devil, but boring ads that don't speak to a relevant audience and have no measurability are the devil, or at least a total waste of marketing dollars. So I think better targeting across all channels, and more focus on creativity, and delivering on business impacts is now a must for all paid for media.

What is your view on the current position of women in the media industry?

There is no doubt that there is a lack of senior women in the media industry, and the health of the industry is now starting to suffer as a result. I am a big advocate for more women in senior positions, and that isn't simply because I am a bra burning feminist, it is because company profits suffer if you don't have equality. Fortune 500 companies with the most women on their boards have produced a 53% stronger return on equity than those with the fewest.

In a period of massive change, media companies desperately need people who have a clear vision of the future, who can put the building blocks in placefor change and then have expert persuasion skills to bring others on that journey (hello have you seen a mum of a toddler selling in blueberries as chocolate drops so they get their RDA of vitamins and nutrients). In saying this I do think women can get to the top in this still male obsessed world, but they have to be way better and often be way harder than the men to get noticed.  Sherly Sanberg recently promoted the 'ban bossy' campaign as confident women are often labeled 'bossy, control freaks'. I agree but I would also suggest we need to ban the word 'nice' which is also male code for 'ineffective, weak, and soft'. I have worked with many male CEO's who are fairly unassuming, and generally considered decent chaps – it would be great if women were allowed to display the same character traits without being called 'nice'.

What advice would you offer to your younger self as you started your career in our industry?

My advice to myself as a 21 year old media fledgling would be – Don't want until your thirties to find your voice. Whilst listening for 9 years wasn't a total waste of time because I learned some stuff about this digital advertising world,  I wish I had spoken up more and been heard rather than sitting at the back and thinking 'why didn't I say that'.

I would also suggest to find a way to be comfortable as an individual contributor sometimes rather than always focusing on helping others (mainly men) being better. I have always been a good 2iC, now in my mid thirties I am trying to find the balance between team and I. People often use the word ego like its a really bad thing, but I think sometimes women suffer from not having enough ego and being able to articulate themselves in meaningful ways than positively  impacts a business.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you over come them?

A year ago, alongside most of the Ikon leadership team, I was sacked. I actually thought I was being invited into the CFO's office to be congratulated on my promotion so it was slightly awkward when I realized I was in fact being given the old heave hoe. I loved working at Ikon, and was really proud of the business we had created that was enjoying record high profits,  had been recognized as Agency of the year 3 years running from 2009 –2011 and that truly looked after the 200+ people that we were lucky enough to work with.

The first 24 hours after being sacked was tough. As a single mum, without a permanent residency visa, I felt really irresponsible that I was in such a vulnerable position and I had no idea where my next mortgage cheque was coming from. But the shock only lasted 24 hours, because then I realized that our industry was full of truly wonderful people. I must have been contacted by over 100 people (some of which I had never met) offering their advice, and coffee, and wine, and jobs. My learning from this is that having a strong support network around you is critical if you are to survive in this world, so don't wait for the crisis to drop. Work out who 'your team' is and cherish them through out your career. I am very lucky, as leaving agency land made me re-assess what I wanted from my life and career, and I now work at Facebook in a role that I love.

What can our industry do right now to better recognize & support women and families?

I would argue that our industry needs to do a far better job at supporting people full stop. The mum that needs to do the school run needs to leave the office as much as the 25 year old who wants to go to see if they can pick up the love of their life. Peoples lives are complex, and the more organizations can do to be flexible to accommodate the individual and specific needs of it's team the better.

One area I would like to see some consistency around is maternity and paternity leave. Having a child is scary, and new, and hard. If companies look after you when you really need it you will stay by their side like a loyal dog and pick up every bone they ask you too. Smart HR directors should push for brilliant maternity and paternity rights, as a fantastic retention mechanic to keep more experienced, mature talent within their organizations.

Whats your favorite business and personal magazine, site or program?

I really like the internet, but at heart I am quite old fashioned so my weekly indulgence is being sent The Sunday Times Style Magazine by my Grandad. I like opening the package, and cutting out articles, and that sense of completion when it is read cover to cover.

Apps and websites struggle to offee this traditional, but tangible experience, which is why when you look at the premium brands that advertise on its a pages like Dior, and Channel they were slow to utilize digital as a branded platform. Luxury brands simply didn't have the right ad canvas's to be their beautiful, bold selves…. But with the introduction of  the Pintrest's and the Instagram's of this world the internet is getting a make over, and over the next few years brand advertisers will truly embrace the advertising powers of the the internet, previously only enjoyed by DR clients.
 

In late 2012 Ellie also offered MediaScope her forecasts for 2013 through her role as National Digital Director with Ikon.

Thank you!

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MediaScope Women in Media - SheSaysSheSays - is a global networking organisation to support women in advertising, media, marketing and creative. It's entirely free and everyone involved is a volunteer. Come and join us at our next event. Find out more here - & join the SheSays Facebook page. 

MediaScope Women in Media - Who's Your MommaWho's Your Momma - is a free mentorship program for women in advertising, digital, media and marketing run by SheSays. We know no matter where you are in your career it's good to have somebody to turn to when you need some advice and support. Find out more here.

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If you know a 'Woman in Media' you'd like to see profiled please get in touch with your suggestion.

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Further Resources

  • Media Owner Profiles - we ask some of Australia's most successful media owners about running their business and ask them to offer advice to other media owners

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