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Women in Media - Virginia Hyland

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

This time I'm pleased to present Founder and Principal of Hyland Media and Fluid Creative Communications - Virginia Hyland.

Thanks to Virginia for getting involved.

Name: Virginia Hyland
Company: Hyland Media and Fluid Creative Communications
Role: Founder and PrincipalWomen in Media - Virginia Hyland

Tell us about your industry background?

I moved to Sydney on my own when I was 17 years old, from a small country town in the New England area – Gilgai (500 people).

My first job was as a sales rep working for Fairfax and then for ACP. I worked in publishing for 12 years. Then I decided it was time to try something different and moved to the Media Agency world.

What is your role and what do you do?

My role is to help clients tell their brand stories to their customers. My aim is to have a fantastic senior media team within the business that can help clients deliver the best results possible for their brands. Now employing 21 people, I am the Founder and Principal for 2 red hot companies – Hyland Media (Media Strategy, Planning & Buying) and Fluid Communications (Design, PR & Social Media).

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

I have a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful daughters under the age of 6. It’s a 24 hour treadmill and I am very lucky that my husband has chosen to support my career to the benefit of my family. He works part time and manages all of the day to day needs of our kids. Family is such an important part of our life and we want our kids to grow up with either Mum or Dad around.

My rule of thumb is to work Monday – Friday (even if it is till midnight). Weekends are totally devoted to my family.  I have learnt to leave the guilt behind and have faith that my children will grow up healthy and happy with their loving father around Monday to Friday.

Flexibility is also key. My team appreciate that sometimes I need to be at school assembly and I appreciate that they have to move work hours around to fit it all in.
Please outline your views on the general media market & the position of women?

Media is a dynamic, ever evolving and exciting industry to work in. The long term prosperity of Australia looks bright. This means there will be many opportunities for people to create openings that only years ago were not imagined.

We now have all of these fabulous websites, apps and new explosions of ideas that in 1999 seemed impossible. The cream will rise no matter who you are in media. More than ever content and ideas are the drivers for clients to connect with an audience. In media we have the freedom to stretch ourselves as much as we want. The world is our oyster from our office desk or lounge room.

Career Path for Women - The great news for Women is that we will drive a projected $30 trillion of spend over the next century. Who better for clients to turn to for advice.

The most powerful advocates to help women break through the glass ceiling are Leaders. Many are men in the most senior positions. They are very powerful influencers of how far a female can take her career path.

We need men to speak to other men about the great partnerships in business that they have experienced by working with great people, from not 50% but 100% of the talent pool. Men need to tell other men that to have a successful business they need to shop from the entire workforce.

It shouldn’t be assumed that women who have children will disappear from the workforce. They have a choice to stay and many are doing just that. We need to lose the stereotypical view, the world is changing.

What advice can you offer to women who are considering a long- term career in our industry?

Don’t take NO for an answer. There are many ways to climb the mountain. When I started in the industry I worked for large corporate companies. After 10 years I moved to a small media shop that opened my eyes to the success that can be had at any level. These guys were driving Ferraris!

Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Don’t apologise for who you are. Act confident and be direct with your boss about what your expectations are.

Stay open to feedback. Ego can prevent you from learning how to be the best that you can be. Welcome criticism and challenges so that you can understand how to do it better than anyone.

Respect your peers – everyone works as a team. At the end of the day we are all working together and the memories that you will remember will be those that were formed with your workmates.

Recognise that you need help if you want to stay in your career when you have a family. Don’t try to do it all and feel you’re doing a bad job of everything. You need focus and having a great support system will help you.

Speak up for what is important. Wall flowers are not promoted to run a company.

What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

Every day seems like a new challenge. Another bump in the road, or another twist to put me to the test.

After one day of giving birth to my second child, my client called me to say that a global pitch on their business had been announced.  With a one day baby I pulled out the laptop on my hospital bed. I had worked with this client for 9 years and they were very important to me. My agency was up against many of the multinationals. I rolled up my sleeves with a crying baby and went to work on strategizing as to how we could retain the business and fend off multi-million dollar companies. This was not the time to crack and I had to call on all my belief in myself and my team to deliver the very best our industry had to offer. Thankfully we retained the business. Two great events collided even if it did not feel like it at the time. The reason I overcame the challenge – I gathered all of the great people in my business and the industry, asked for their help, and came up with the best solution.

Ultimately I had to believe in myself, that I could overcome what seemed like an impossible challenge.

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

I think senior men have to talk to men about why they should choose the best talent from 100% of the pool and not from just 50% of the pool. Many of these men have daughters who I’m sure would not want to see them grow up in a world with silly obstacles.

The Gen Y generation and Women with families believe in work flexibility as hours become longer. There needs to be flexibility offered to support Men and Women raising a family. This improves loyalty to an organisation. It fosters a willingness for these employees to take work home on the weekend or night to support the company.

If employees know that an organisation is willing to offer flexi hours then they are more willing to put extra work in and become loyal to that company.

At Hyland Media I offer my team flexible start and finish times, the ability to work from home and link remotely when they need, hours in lieu if they have worked overtime.

What’s your favourite business and personal magazine, site or program?

Gosh there are so many great mediums today. My favourites - CEO magazine for inspiration, Donna Hay and for cooking inspiration, The Australian Women’s Weekly for great stories about amazing women and Marie Claire for opening my eyes to the world. I still love my news on and the newspaper on the weekend.


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


Further Resources

 - Digital People Profiles - over the past 2 and a half years we've profiled 100 of the most well-known and experienced people in the Australian digital media industry through trade site - Digital Ministry

 - 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


Other Pages of Interest