In April, we asked readers to tell us who they thought scored 10 out of 10 so we could celebrate our industry’s top achievers who consistently out-perform their colleagues. The criteria were that the person had to be between 25 and 35-years-old, and work either in a media agency or a media owner sales team. Meet Ilse Grabe.
Tell us about your Job
I’m currently the Strategic Director for Carat JHB. I joined Carat in 2010 and am very passionate about the Dentsu Aegis Network group. I work with incredible people and we all harness each other’s strengths. A culture of learning from each other is integral not only to a company’s growth, but also on an individual level.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
Media is more accountable than ever before. It’s not all glitz and glam but rather about finding business solutions for our clients by reaching out and working together with media suppliers. We can view results in the form of our clients’ businesses succeeding.
The industry and technology is incredibly dynamic, resulting in an ever changing landscape. To keep up with new media platforms and consumer behaviour is intriguing as no year or day is ever the same.
What makes you suited to your role?
Big picture thinking. Having strong numerical ability and a creative side too means that I consider all facets to a strategic approach to deliver on a goal. My role also allows me to train and upskill a team and work with diverse people and partners constantly.
What have been some career highlights and lowlights?
Highlights include winning awards, receiving positive client reviews, building relationships with key industry partners, late nights working on pitches, integrating and collaborating with specialists in the industry and running the AMASA AAA Media Management course.
Lowlights are that talent is scarce and the passion is sometimes lacking to drive better industry collaboration and upskilling. Another lowlight is people being afraid to experiment or learn about new media platforms.
What major opportunities do you see in your field of work?
Opportunities exist to leverage technology to create new media platforms that deliver and are measurable so we can optimise in real time. We can also become more results-driven – media agencies need to become business partners vs suppliers.
What are some of the challenges?
Working smarter not harder and using technology to assist us can ensure that we still live a healthy, balanced life, put family and friends first, and juggle our passion for media at the same time.
What do you see in the future of media agencies/media owners?
Accountability means that we need to focus on formalising and treating media as a serious profession. We need to ensure we deliver because if we don’t we are accountable for clients’ losses.
Your views on social media and its usefulness
Social media sometimes saddens me greatly but it’s also become a new norm – a platform to share news, express ourselves, and a mass reach media vehicle for advertisers to leverage and engage with their fans. Like every medium, there’s a time and a place – it all depends on your objectives.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt during your career?
Work / life balance is the key to a sane mind. Your health and home life is the most important thing. It’s essential to find ways to successfully deliver in a manic industry, grow your potential and build a successful career.
Also, it’s critically important to help where you can. I give back in the form of lecturing and creating training programs.
It’s difficult to not take things personally when you’re passionate about what you do – keep your chin up and become better. Understand your opportunity areas (not weaknesses!) and embrace your personal quirks.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I measure my success by whether or not I still love what I do and if I’m making a difference, whether it’s by delivering great work or building a passionate team. In five years, I want to be as passionate as I am today about the industry and the work I deliver, while sharing and gaining as much knowledge as I can.
To vote for Ilsa Grabe send an email to email@example.com indicating your pick.
This story was first published in the July 2016 issue of The Media magazine.
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