I have known Sarah for most of my professional career and we always seem to pop up in each other’s lives in the various career moves and paths we have taken. Sarah once was my manager at a Not-For-Profit organisation when I was a junior marketing assistant. She has taught me the art of organisation and how to best manage various projects and tasks at once. Amongst many marketing campaigns and initiatives, Sarah has organised and managed high profile events with the objective to increase the profile, support positioning and fundraising. Sarah’s events are presented with ease and is something that comes naturally to her.
The passion, commitment and love for marketing, communications and event management is so transparent with Sarah – I just love to catch up to soak up that energy.
Sarah is the Manager, Events and Marketing at Minda. Sarah also chairs the Australian Marketing Institute’s Emerging Marketers committee – a volunteer position that organises networking, professional development and mentoring events. SIDE NOTE: any aspiring marketing professionals – get onto this organisation, keep connected on their Facebook page. You can also find out more about Sarah’s career journey on her LinkedIn Profile
Sarah Poppy, Manager, Events and Marketing, Minda Incorporated
Brief description of your role:
As Manager, Events and Marketing at Minda I am responsible for managing and monitoring organisational marketing objectives and contribute to increasing awareness of the organisation and ensuring effective marketing of services and programs. This includes developing, implementing and evaluating annual marketing business plans, managing advertising campaigns, overseeing the development of publications and promotional material, managing the ambassador program and developing, implementing and evaluating the organisations digital strategy.
I am also responsible for the development and coordination of Minda’s annual events calendar encompassing the planning, coordination and delivery of events.
So… what do you actually do?
Projects and activities that I am responsible for include developing and implementing and evaluating marketing plans for different areas of the organisation. In order to do this it involves meeting with the relevant manager’s of each area and finding out who they want to target with a marketing campaign/strategy and what they want to achieve from this. I then work out some options and recommendations for their approval and put it together in a marketing plan including a budget and schedule of activities.
In this role I have also been responsible for writing a social media strategy and developing a policy and procedure for this. This process has involved consultation with various stakeholders within the organisation to get buy in from all areas.
5am – a few times a week, get up and go to the gym (if I don’t go to the gym my alarm wakes me at 5.50am so I can try and get ready before the kids get up). 5.50am – get home and jump in the shower. 6am-6.30am – kids wake up. 6am – 7am – get myself ready, get the kids ready (Bags are packed the night before), make a green smoothie for the ride to work. 7.15am – leave home to take the kids to daycare – say goodbye and drive to work – get a coffee on the way a few days a week. 8am – 8.30am – arrive at work, check emails. 9am – work in progress team meeting – what do we all have on for the day – how can we support each other. 9am – 4.30pm – my work day includes anything from meetings about events, marketing strategies, checking social media, preparing briefs for our graphic designers, reviewing proofs, writing strategies and marketing plans, sponsorship meetings, administrative tasks etc. Most days include a few meetings and some time at my desk to work on projects. 4.30pm – drive to daycare to pick up the kids. 5.30pm – arrive home, cook dinner (or heat up dinner prepared the night before), talk to the kids about their days, give them a bath, playtime and read books. 7pm – 7.30pm – kids go to bed, spend ½ hour to an hour cleaning up the kitchen, putting on a load of washing, getting lunches, dinner prepared and bags packed for the next day. 8pm – watch some tv, spend time with the hubby, blog, check social media, online shopping for groceries, review documents for work. 10pm – check on the kids and then go to bed (sometimes this stretches out to 11pm)
How did you get to your position of being a manager?
I went to study a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) at the University of South Australia straight out of high school. I wasn’t exactly sure that Marketing was what I wanted to do when I was in year 12 so I took some advice from our careers counselor and applied for the marketing degree as the subjects that I enjoyed and excelled at were Business Studies and Legal Studies.
So I embarked on my Uni journey studying marketing and haven’t looked back. After the first semester I knew that marketing was what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what industry I wanted to work in but thoroughly enjoyed the marketing principles subject.
After finishing this degree I went straight into postgraduate studies in Public Relations (Communications). I completed this course over two and a half years while working full time as a manager at McDonalds and looking for my first marketing job.
I secured my first job as Marketing and Communications Coordinator (SA) for HPS Pharmacies. Prior to getting this job I was feeling a little disheartened as I had applied for so many jobs with little success which I now know that it is probably because I didn’t have any experience to back up my qualification.
I was at HPS Pharmacies for a year and then secured a job as Marketing Coordinator for SYC, a non profit organisation working with homeless young people in South Australia. After working there for a short time I was promoted to the position of Marketing Manager.
In this role I led and managed the Marketing Department in keeping with the vision, mission and values of SYC to enhance, protect and promote SYC’s brand. I was also responsible for driving the development and implementation of appropriate marketing, public relations and advertising strategies, plans, policies, procedures and systems to support organisational objectives.
During my time at SYC I had my first child and my role was made redundant whilst I was on maternity leave. So I was on the look out for work again and secured a role with the City of Salisbury as Marketing and Communications Officer.
In this position I was responsible for developing and implementing strategically aligned marketing and communications programs and managing events that promote the City of Salisbury.
The objectives of this position were to develop and implement strategically aligned marketing and communications programs that support the general work programme of the division, to engage widely with other departments to establish inter-departmental relationships and provide timely, professional marketing advice and support.
While I was at the City of Salisbury, I had my second child and returned from maternity leave and decided that I was looking for my next challenge and secured the position that I am in now as Manager, Events and Marketing at Minda.
Along the way I have realised the importance of networking and joined the Emerging Marketers committee which I now Chair. I have attended various networking events to expand my networks and have worked on the committee of Marketing Week. I was also selected as a finalist for the 30 under 30 B&T Magazine awards in the Marketing category in 2013.
Have you always wanted to work in the marketing area?
While I was in high school there were many varied and different things I wanted to be when I grew up. These included; singer, model, actress, lawyer, interior designer, business woman and travel agent. It wasn’t until I was at University that I made the decision that I wanted to work in marketing. I feel like I was quite lucky in selecting markeing as my course at Uni as many people start a course and find that it isn’t really what they want to do and change to do something else.
What do you love about your role?
In my last three jobs working in local government and the non profit sector the aspect that I love is knowing that the work that I am doing isn’t just benefiting the organisation but it is benefiting the people that we work for. For example, at Minda, I know that my contribution goes some way in making a better life for people living with intellectual disability.
In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
I have been in my current role for about 7 months and I would have to say that my biggest achievement would be the Black Tie Quiz Night that I ran in November after only being with Minda for just under two months. This event was a huge success for Minda raising $50,000 to address the unmet needs of people living with intellectual disability.
The other achievement is developing the social media strategy for the organisation.
Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
Getting to know the people that are supported by Minda and also while I was at SYC has definitely been a highlight as it is great to hear their stories of how the organisation has made a positive impact on their lives. Knowing these stories makes the work that I do all the more worthwhile.
Other times that I know that I am in the right field is when the areas of the organisation have seen the benefit of a marketing campaign and given me positive feedback.
What would be the least favorite aspect of your role?
In any marketing job there is databases to work with and keep information documented. This would have to be my least favourite aspect of the role but it has to be done. I love getting stuck into planning marketing campaigns and activities so the administrative tasks around this would have to be m least favourite.
Any advice for anyone aspiring to work in the marketing industry?
The biggest piece of advice I would give to someone looking to work in the marketing industry would be to get a qualification in marketing, take advantage of networking opportunities for example in South Australia, there is Emerging Marketers, the young arm of the Australian Marketing Institute, AIM Young Professionals Group, 30 Below and many other groups that provide networking opportunities.
I would also recommend gaining work experience whilst you study. Look out for internship opportunities and ask your contacts if they know of anyone that may take you on for an internship/work experience opportunity – benefits of networking.
I personally didn’t do this enough while I was at University and have only realised the importance of networking and tapping into your contacts in the last few years. Quite often when applying for jobs it comes down to who you know, not what you know.