Your Brilliant Career Podcast

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This podcast provides an injection of energy and practical insights to women who are committed to their career. I share tactics, tools and stories that inspire capable women to think bigger and unapologetically achieve the success they deserve.

One of my early realisations was that there are many unwritten rules about career success that no one tells you. Smart women are tired of generic career tips. They want accessible, relevant and practical tips. Each episode includes content that inspires women to step up in their career and experience the energy and reward of being more.

Your Brilliant Career is a podcast that aims to help more women rise and reach new heights in their career.



Edwina McCann, Editorial Director at News Corp Prestige, shares insights from her extensive career journey, including 12 years as Editor in Chief of Vogue Australia. Despite challenges in the evolving media landscape, Edwina emphasises the importance of adaptability, business acumen, and team collaboration in her success.

The conversation covers a range of topics, including the role of Vogue in social commentary, initiatives for women in STEM, diversity and representation in fashion, leadership, and the ongoing challenges faced by working mothers.

Throughout the conversation, Edwina's passion for publishing and commitment to reaching diverse audiences shine through, making her insights invaluable for anyone interested in navigating the dynamic world of media and fashion.

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Links we talked about on the podcast include:

Edwina McCann on LinkedIn | Edwina McCann on Instagram

Career Glow Up CHALLENGE

RISE Accelerate program

FREE GUIDE: The Executive Woman's Guide to Strategic Self-Promotion

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Your transcript

[00:00:00] Some days putting together this podcast is just downright magical. And today's one of those days. I'm super excited to introduce you to someone truly special, Edwina McCann. She's our fantastic guest and the editorial director at News Corp Prestige. So Edwina and her team are the force behind those amazing magazines like Vogue, Vogue Living and GQ that we can't get enough of.
[00:01:13] Now before this role, Edwina was the Editor in Chief of Vogue Australia for a solid 12 years. And in case you're wondering right now, she is nothing like the stereotypical image one might conjure up of the Devil Wears Prada archetype. Edwina, well, she is a unique mix of kindness, grace, serious smarts, and a passion for her craft that's just infectious.
[00:01:41] I first crossed paths with Edwina during my early days at News Corp, when she was writing about fashion for The Australian. But Edwina, it's clear she's always had this knack for publishing, reading the business landscape, adapting like a pro, and guiding her teams to exceptional success. Now this episode, it's a bit of a wild card, breaking away from our usual format, which is, you know, quite condensed and, and short and extending beyond our regular chat length.
[00:02:16] But honestly, I couldn't bring myself to cut any of Edwin's insights. They're pure gold. She dives into the ever-changing media world, which I think you'll find fascinating. The wisdom she shares isn't just for industry peeps either. It's a riveting peek into how to ride the waves of change no matter where you find yourself in the business world.
[00:02:40] The other interesting thing is, you'll hear this, Edwina praises her team constantly throughout the conversation. She also emphasises the importance of business acumen and knowing your numbers. No matter which corner of the business world you find yourself in, and forget what you thought about Anna Wintour.
[00:02:59] It turns out they swapped tennis stories. Our chat covers everything from diversity to Edwina's career, and how she has evolved the Vogue brand, together with her team, of course. But walking away from this conversation, I swear I was buzzing all day. And I hope it hits you in the same way. So let's dive in.
[00:03:27] Gillian: Well, Edwina, it is such a pleasure to have you on the podcast today.
[00:03:32] Edwina: Thank you for having me.
[00:03:33] Gillian: Thank you for being here. It is an extra treat being here at News Corp, sitting here face to face. So, Edwina, you've come full circle, starting your career as an editorial assistant at Vogue. Tell us about your career journey. I think that's a great place for us to start today.
[00:03:52] Edwina: It seems quite linear, but at the time it was a lot of luck and a little bit of bumping into opportunity and then grabbing it. So, I started it at Vogue. I wanted to write and I ended up in the fashion cupboard because there just weren't junior writers back in the 90s on, on Vogue. We didn't have cadetships as such and so I spent about seven years there and worked for three editors, Nancy Pilcher for a long time and Maren Hume, for, um, her tenure as well, and then Juliet Ashworth, and then left there and briefly joined actually Marie Claire for a little while and then went to The Australian.
[00:04:29] So I spent seven years on the Australian, actually with one little break, where I went to Harper's Bazaar as a beauty editor, and then to Vogue as editor.
[00:04:38] So it does seem quite straightforward, Vogue to Vogue, really. But jobs sort of came up. I mean, oddly, I've never had a CV in my career.
[00:04:47] Gillian: Well, that's a good sign of good career. Perfect in many ways, because looking for a role can be tough. But obviously, you stayed contemporary and valued, so the jobs have always come to you.
[00:05:00] Edwina: I hope so, but I'd never advise my teenage, my 18-year-old daughters do that. I think the world's changed a bit.
[00:05:06] Gillian: I'm sure it has, and yes, we want our kids to know things won't just come to us. It's not that easy. As I'm sure it hasn't been for you, Edwina. But thinking back on your time at Vogue as Editor, and you were there for 12 years, in those initial years, what surprised you the most?
[00:05:26] Edwina: The thing that surprised me most was the weight of, um, responsibility and perhaps that's something I put on myself because I was a huge fan, you know, huge fan of the brand, but had obviously spent, my former kind of career years working for it. So, I was very aware of the responsibility of being a custodian of this brand for a period of time.
[00:05:50] And it was also a very, you know, tumultuous time in media. I mean, it has been ever since quite frankly, but it was particularly then with this big transfer from print to digital, which now, to me, seems like ancient history. But, there wasn't a clear pathway and there were a whole lot of different views and I remember going over to American Vogue and going to the digital office and seeing this poster up on the wall that they'd put up, which is like, what is the metric? Question mark. So back then people were grappling with what is the metric that we're going to use by which to measure ourselves in terms of audience that we can rely on that's trustworthy? What are our advertisers going to believe? What are they going to use? How do we align ourselves to that? Back then Vogue was a forum site so it had a lot of great inherent SEO, that I inherited, but we just couldn't monetise the site.
[00:06:45] It was, I guess, a precursor to what came with social media where it really belonged to the community, the community were, were very, very active with advice and analysis shopping tips, et cetera, it was a really, really active, forum community, which probably to my detriment, later on when we redesigned and relaunched as a news site, we managed to hold all the audience that we'd had from, so we managed to mimic the audience, which was really unheard of at the time, but I'm not sure how many of that forum audience we took with us on the news journey. I think most of the forum participants probably ended up on Instagram and were the initial followers of ours on Facebook and particularly Instagram, which I really ramped up at the time where it was a two-way conversation and there was, you know, sharing could go on and messaging and, and there was a lot more sort of opinion and it was a difficult period, but probably the most exciting I'd ever worked in publishing. I mean, having, what seems now archaic, but just having Chartbeat up on your, screens.
[00:07:55] And I remember Condé Nast came over for a visit and we were showing them Chartbeat and talking about time-of-day publishing.
[00:08:02] When people were reading particular content and there was still this crazy idea that we were going to publish at a certain time, six times a day. And, you know, to some extent that's true. On YouTube you can create habit through series, et cetera. So I'm not saying that, that, that thinking behind digital publishing was wrong, but It was trial and error and nobody really knew what they were doing. We just knew we needed to monetise digital content because if we didn't, we couldn't justify the resourcing we needed to put in to sustain it.
[00:08:33] So, it was a real challenge to work out where the audience were, whether they would pay or whether the clients would pay to be able to, you know, communicate with them.
[00:08:42] Gillian: Well, there's a lot of uncertainty, that's for sure. But Vogue is still such a wonderful brand today, and people can experience the brand in different ways. From live events, online events, VIP membership, the magazine itself, and so many more ways. And it's interesting, you know, Vogue's evolution as a brand has been fascinating and yet there are people like me who loved reading Vogue as a 17 year old and still loves picking up the magazine today, many years later and a lot older.
[00:09:17] Edwina: Yeah, I mean, interestingly, we've just had our biggest growth for quite some time in new audiences, and it's all Gen Z. it's like 30 percent growth year on year, and half of it's actually come out of print, which is, you know, a huge credit to Christine and the team. They're obviously doing something that has a sense of nostalgia, and I do think that Gen Z are more likely to appreciate print because they spend so much time on screens and print feels like a, you know, entry point, not really good, but it's also a collectible, like a poster might be on your wall. It's memorabilia, almost merch, Vogue merch in a way. So, that's been, you know, really quite invigorating for print. But absolutely, I mean, for me, it was just about… Don't we want to reach as big an audience as possible? I was quite frustrated in the world of high fashion that the audiences were really so small. Having worked on a newspaper for, a period of time on The Australian I was really conscious of the reader feedback and the letters I would get, even as fashion editor, I'd get feedback all the time.
[00:10:19] You really felt that what you were doing, you know, it was being read. And sometimes I would think, so much effort and time is going into so much content, and how many people are actually seeing it? And you know, there was still 50, you know, 50,000 people buying it, but relatively speaking, that's a very small portion of the population really. It might be a very influential part of it.
[00:10:42] It might be the people who will buy the Chanel jacket and the Chanel bag as they are and so they're very, very important to certain luxury advertisers. Absolutely. There's no wastage there. But the idea that you would be able to communicate to hundreds and thousands of people and millions of people and particularly young people to bring them on that journey, because I have seen a flip. There's been, with the millennial audience, who were used to getting everything for free on the internet.
[00:11:07] I think that generation saw it as an either or. That it was either print or digital, as opposed to Gen Z, who see it much more holistically. You know, print is just part of the communication, 360 conversation we're having with them. And merch, if you like, something that they appreciate, that they're happy to put money towards, that, you know, is their own.
[00:11:29] I mean, it's extraordinary that the cost of magazines has barely gone up or certainly not kept up with inflation. If you look at the cost of a coffee, for example so, you know it is a very affordable pleasurable, product if you like. And I think we really saw that during COVID with, with supermarket sales, but I love a TikTok.
[00:11:48] You know, somebody following us on TikTok, somebody shopping with us you know, in our affiliate links marketing programs, somebody on Facebook, somebody on YouTube. I don't mind where and how they engage with us. I don't mind if it's an American interested in Australian fashion week. We welcome sort of all.
[00:12:04] So to me, digital has been a gift and we really look at print now as a tentpole opportunity. We have tentpole events like American Express Vogue Fashion's Night Out, or Optus Vogue Codes, like we've got, events that we do or events we partner with, like the Actors on the Weekend, which we went with Paco Rabanne and did this extraordinary after party and great content.
[00:12:27] So, we have tentpole events, if you like. Really putting out a print magazine once a month is just that. It's an opportunity to shoot a celebrity who wants to be on the cover of Vogue, to whom actually having a print product, even though I think some of them might never actually physically hold it if they're in America, it's important to them still that it exists physically.
[00:12:49] And that is a way, you know, for us to go in and create video and TikToks and, you know, film everything behind the scenes, but also I guess it stamps Vogue's authority, which came home to me when we did the first cover of Billie Eilish and I went home to my gorgeous stepdaughter and she said to me, oh my goodness, Billie Eilish is on the cover of Vogue, and I was like How do you know that?
[00:13:12] And she must have been like 12 or 13. And she said, well, it's on Instagram, on Billie’s Instagram. And I thought, see, that's the thing to her, Billie Eilish is the influence or real influencer there. But the fact that Billie sees value in having the word vogue on her head has already taught my stepdaughter that Vogue, whatever this magic thing is called Vogue, is very special because Billie wants to be, under that word.
[00:13:39] So, I think people who misunderstand what print is and continue to look at it as its format or platform, rather than just content being delivered in a certain platform, are short-sighted in media, I think. And the same goes for TikTok or for us, we're looking at a really great outdoor partnership so we can have our content on screens, you know, wherever people are.
[00:14:04] They're just platforms to deliver content on. The secret is to understand where the audience is, where the valuable audience is, and then understand how to monetise it so you can justify creating all that content.
[00:14:15] Gillian: Well, talking about keepsakes, I studied Italian at Sydney Uni, and to keep up my practice after I left uni, I had a ritual of buying Italian Vogue. And I loved that experience and I kept all my issues. So I was interested to learn that when you became editor in 2012, you had this fantastic opportunity to spend time with another Vogue editor.
[00:14:40] And you chose Franca Sozzani of Italian Vogue, who is sadly no longer with us. But tell us about that experience, Edwina, and why did you choose Franca?
[00:14:52] Edwina: Well, I could actually choose two, so I chose Anna and Franca, because I felt that they were coming from very different perspectives, due to the markets, really, that they were in. Franca's market, Italian Vogue, was at the time very much an industry publication. The Italian fashion industry, obviously, was huge.
[00:15:12] It is huge today. So, the magazine was very much an ad model. All the Italians advertised. Everybody advertised in it because they loved the creativity. They loved the way that it pushed the boundaries in terms of image-making. And Franca was, the kind of guardian angel of that.
[00:15:31] It was also a period of time where Condé Nast were divided into American Condé Nast and the rest of the world. And so Franca was really our, our Anna for the rest of the world which was, was at that time run out of London. But I also really admire and continue to this day. I mean Anna's been an incredible influence on my career. She's a very Intelligent, brilliant boss to have. She's always full of you know great advice and we have great banter over the tennis, which I love the Australian Open. So and I think she's run an insanely successful commercial Vogue, and watching her evolve that today and lead our digital teams forward and indeed make Vogue a truly global family with regular, you know, global communication, watching what she's done with the Met Gala is amazing.
[00:16:22] Edwina: I mean, Met Gala is the Superbowl of fashion. Watching what she did for red carpets through, you know, dressing people at the Oscars and identifying that celebrity and what celebrity could do for fashion. I mean all of that is incredible. The influence that she has given Vogue as a brand is incredible. I mean, it's a super brand under her watch.
[00:16:46] So felt that they were equal, even back then, and it was a very different world then and it was that, you know, digital transition was, was happening. But I really did want to understand why she thought something was Vogue or not. I mean, you recall she did the first black issue.
[00:17:04] There was a lot of narratives and it was almost quite sort of politicised. Well, not necessarily politicised, but she was always debating human issues through her pages and it might not have been obvious, but she used Vogue somehow as a prism through which to create some social commentary, and I thought that was really interesting.
[00:17:26] She also worked, obviously, with all the best creatives at the time. And then she wanted to come to Australia, so the Australian Woolmark, so Woolmark, which was the overarching brand that looked after the wool industry, merino wool industry in Australia, were very, very active in Italy because obviously Zegna, I mean, you can imagine, you know, they had a lot of mills in Italy, I'm sure they still do.
[00:17:47] So Woolmark were very active, and they wanted to bring Franca to Australia, which they did. So we were able to, she went to a number of sheep farms, and we hosted an event in her honour down at Icebergs, and, you know, she held my hand, and she said, where do you live, and she was looking at the walk, and I said, I do this every day, and she said, whatever anybody tells you, do not forget you are the luckiest Vogue editor on earth. And I thought, you're right, like they may be long flights that we have to take, but the pleasure of being able to work on a brand like Vogue, especially one with such a rich, deep history as we have in Australia, which is 65 years. It’s older than Italian Vogue to be able to work on that, but also be able to live in a place like Australia in a city like Sydney is really quite unique and to remember that that brings almost a freedom with it of some fresh perspectives and sometimes it does feel that we can be a bit more bold with innovation because it's just kind of the way we are. It's interesting now watching all luxury fashion, become so enamoured with sport because that's an example of somewhere where I felt for a long time that Vogue had a role to encourage, particularly women in male-dominated codes.
[00:19:05] Like, we focused on, you know, the women's rugby teams back in probably 2017 maybe 16, 17. We were obviously, well behind the Matildas before the wonderful World Cup. So really understanding that we had a role to hero, you know, our sportswomen as well because that’s Australia. Like doing a digital cover for the winner of the Australian Open, that’s a way of connecting with Australians, with something that they're passionate about and saying that, you know, Vogue is for everyone, but also that you know, sport should be celebrated, as something incredibly fashionable, if it wants to be. And you need not have to be one or the other. I mean, tennis has probably been at the forefront of blending the two quite comfortably, but yeah, I think across the board, it's been something that the rest of the world's been a little slower to than perhaps we have in Australia.
[00:20:00] Gillian: Now you've done so many interesting profiles and engaged in so many important conversations over the years. We've loved seeing Adut the famous indigenous designers, more women in STEM profiled. These collaborations and initiatives have given visibility to social issues that are important to women.
[00:20:49] Edwina: I mean, I'd like to think so. at the time, again, I think that came more from a sense of, a feeling of necessity, because it was a period where there were a lot of women's mastheads, women's former magazine mastheads, if you like, in decline and I was concerned that there weren't going to be these voices that I grew up with that were incredibly influential without being really gender specific about it.
[00:21:16] But, you know, they, they did champion issues that were relevant to me and, I worried that there wouldn't be any left for some while, and we were obviously still going very strongly. So I felt that we did have a role to play to stand up, particularly around women in STEM, with both codes, which I think is almost 10 years old now to encourage more women to get involved with STEM and STEM education and consider careers in technology and just trying to get everybody to understand that every job is a job in technology now, like, it's not the IT department. Every job is technology.
[00:21:53] Gillian: Look at us set up here.
[00:21:54] Edwina: Exactly, everything is so, Vogue Codes was born out of that and I've been very lucky. I've had some great, sponsors who've just been with us again and again and again to grow that program bigger and bigger and take it around Australia and take it to university campuses and when we had COVID, we were suddenly able to really take a digital, which we probably should have done before being an event that's essentially about digital, but hey, so now it's a really good hybrid event that, you know, really does engage with huge audiences. The question of indigenous fashion and indigenous representation was, was one that really came up during well, first of all, it came up when Emma Watson guest edited an issue for me, and that was, so that was going to be about sustainability and it was, but she challenged us on casting and it really did horrify me that we weren't seeing diverse models or faces, mainly because we weren't asking for them.
[00:22:52] Now whether or not they were represented within the model agencies, I can't say, but we certainly weren't asking for them.
[00:23:00] So it became pretty apparent then that it there was pretty poor representation really through the pages. That would have been maybe in 2016 and then by the time we got to 2019 and we had only had Elaine George and Sam Harris on our covers, and they were the only two indigenous women in our 60-year history.
[00:23:24] That became a pretty difficult moment of reckoning of saying, well, how on earth has this been allowed to happen? And, you know, I can no longer say, well, it was before my time because it wasn't, I was in that chair for a good six years before I was really, really contemplating what, we had not done.
[00:23:45] So there was a big shift there. And then that issue we worked with Magnolia more closely. We became better connected with casting agents ourselves. So not just relying on an intermediate big agency to discover talent and then just sort of sitting on our hands and saying, oh, well, there's no talent because nobody's discovered them.
[00:24:07] So, Ricky Keene, who's our producer, our talent producer, who's an extraordinary woman. She really took that, that on. And to this day, I think has been, you know, really engaged with, you know, various communities, but also in the career path of, of Indigenous women who may or may not want the traditional path of, you know, certainly Magnolia has gone, you know, back to country several times and really it only works for her to work with us when it suits and there's a long way for her to come and, you know, she has a baby, she doesn't necessarily want to go and live in Milan and Paris and that that should be okay too, that we're not trying to push people into this path that we deem to be the path to supermodel.
[00:24:57] Whatever you'd call that. So, that's been really, really interesting. And then of course, first nations fashion came along and we had that incredible show at fashion week and, that was another big ta-da moment, I think. And it was really when we became involved the organisation and we understood the pressures that have been put on them to use, professional, white, casting agents and experts to put on their show.
[00:25:25] And they really resisted that, quite rightly. They resisted that and said, no, we want to use Indigenous Australians wherever we can, for every part, whether it is you know, the casting, the show direction, the screens and where we can't, we wanted to create a shadow program so that if we don't think that we've got expertise within our community, we need to be training up and giving that opportunity.
[00:25:48] And I think that's why that show was so special, because it was the first time on a runway that we'd seen Indigenous creators in control of their own story. It wasn't Indigenous prints on fashion or branded fashion. It wasn't some indigenous models who were cast by white Australians on a runway.
[00:26:09] It was indigenous storytelling, inside and out and I think that that's why that was remarkable and you know, the fashion industry is very good at adopting co-labs, you know, in other ways.
[00:26:21] But I think when you're talking about culture, that's very different to a co-lab between two creatives. Not to say that an Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian can't create a great co-lab or Indigenous and anybody else can't create a great co-lab, of course they can, but I think when you're talking about cultural expression on that scale It was a huge breakthrough.
[00:26:40] Gillian: Such a celebration for everyone. I'm sure that event gave them so much energy and positivity about themselves too.
[00:26:49] Edwina: It definitely changed things. I think sadly, sadly not enough. I still sadly got too many phone calls with people saying, oh, we want to do an indigenous runway show. And I'm like, well, are you doing that to tick a box?
[00:27:03] Like why, what's the purpose of it? And I don't think that they've had adequate, you know, support really, to put on some of those shows. I think there should have been better, better funding behind them.
[00:27:15] Gillian: Just talking about diversity and shifting to gender diversity, we know organisations are still trying to build the leadership pipeline for more women. So we have more C-suite leaders like yourself at the top. In your mind Edwina, what could organisations be doing more of, less of, or differently to help more women rise and to correct the imbalance?
[00:27:39] Edwina: It's funny because I, I have personally experienced a real shift. I've had, many remarkable opportunities to sit on boards. And sometimes I wonder if it's because I'm from, you know, a creative background and I'm a woman and so. maybe those things actually gave me that opportunity.
[00:27:57] I don't know. Maybe that wasn't fair to a man who might have been better qualified, but I haven't felt disadvantaged myself.
[00:28:04] Edwina: And I do, when I look around, the Editor in Chief of The Australian is a woman with, there's, number of fantastic women in that, leadership team there.
[00:28:12] You can look for a lot of examples now of women who have truly broken through. So, I do think the issue around maternity leave remains to this day, the toughest.
[00:28:24] And having, you know, running a business and grappling with it. It's a really difficult thing to manage. People going in and out of a business. And we need to do it. We, everybody wants to do it. But it is, is hard for businesses to do. And I would like to see more flexibility in childcare. Like if there were one thing that I think would truly change the pipeline it would still be that.
[00:28:52] Because when I look back, I remember when I first got this job, I was really gung ho about it. And I was like, this is ridiculous. Like, childcare needs to be more flexible. I don't have a job where I can get back to the daycare centre at 5.30. Neither did my husband at the time. There was just no flexibility. And so there were years where I pretty much paid to work. Because I had to have a nanny. Because I had twins. There was just really no other option. I don't think that there is an answer therefore. I'm not just talking about, they'd say, oh, that's, Alicia suggesting that you need a nanny, but when I'm talking about single mothers who work shifts in a hospital at night, what do you do when you have a two-year-old at home and you're a single mum and you might be on a night shift because perhaps the pay is better or you think you can work less so you can be there to do drop off or like there just doesn't seem to be enough flex in the system for me. And I don't understand why, because I have lost so many, especially in the millennial cohort. I lost so many really talented, extraordinary women who fortunately are starting to pop up, you know, elsewhere now their children are a little bit older and, you know, they seem to be coming back to the industry, many of them, and that's wonderful.
[00:30:11] But a lot of them just would leave after the second baby because it just. didn't make financial sense. And I have an executive editor, I have an editor-in-chief, I have a beauty director. I've got so many women now juggling that really early childcare stage, and it just doesn't seem to have gotten any better.
[00:30:31] I just, I don't know what we're doing about it.
[00:30:35] Gillian: It is a frustrating one because it's so reoccurring. But you have prompted me to ask about the beautiful Georgie Abay, who also worked for you and has written a great book called Best Laid Plans, which is wonderful and made me laugh so much. But in the book, she talks about you, Edwina, and she talks about you as this extraordinary leader.
[00:31:00] And she recites the story of finishing her first week on the job with you and at the end of that first week, you march over to her with a bottle of champagne and say, well done, you know, one week down. And she said that gesture touched her so much and she absolutely loved working with you. And I hear so many great things about you as a leader, Edwina. But my question is this, how do you think of yourself as a leader? Like, how do you describe yourself?
[00:31:30] Edwina: Do you know, oddly, I still don't think of myself as the leader. I more think of myself as the assistant and how it felt. Oh, I try to do that. So, I think because I've done, in a traditional sense, every job there was to do, like being the person in the cupboard.
[00:31:48] I try to keep thinking about what it would be like for them, as opposed to what it's just like for me.
[00:31:54] Because, once you get to the top of your career, you know, there's a whole lot of different motivations. So I think leadership really has to be about enjoying being with young people and genuinely enjoying watching them develop their own careers, like being able to send Jonah Waterhouse to New York Fashion Week and he's just over the moon, or introduce him to Mark who's the Features Director at American Vogue on email, who thinks he's extraordinarily talented like I do, and you know, looking at incredible Charlie who actually stands because he has a standing desk outside my office and he is the Head of Brand on and watching the smile on his face and, you know, watching all these fantastic young people we've got working on digital and they go out to lunch together, sometimes they all go on weekends away together. Like, watching that is pretty extraordinary. And then watching their talent, I mean, just this weekend at The Actors, I was actually away last week and we were partnering with The Actors for the first time, at the after party.
[00:32:57] It was very important, you know, we haven't done it before, so you're not sure how it's going to work. It was on the Gold Coast. So we're not, at home, if you like. So we don't have full resourcing. We're just taking up, a number of the team and then trusting everybody to go through all the detail last week and work with our beautiful client, Paco Rabanne, and make sure that we've got all the right people there and we're dressing most of the people there and working with them and trusting everyone to make sure that we've got all the content planned and, and you know what, they did it perfectly.
[00:33:27] And I flew up there because I thought, no, you know, this is the first time for a client, first time doing this, very important for me to be there in terms of seniority and, but actually, they could have done it without me.
[00:33:39] And that’s what we call our Met Gala content partnerships. So that's multi-platform, content amplification working yes, sometimes with influencers, sometimes not, but on all of our brand channels, on a client's brand channel, that's been invented in the last two to three years and I went to the Met Gala and I sat upstairs, you know, you sit in the room and it was all amazing and everything.
[00:34:02] But I remember thinking, where are they doing all the content? And they said, oh, it's in the basement in the hub. That's where all, you know,, it's like a big television studio almost while it's on. And there's an Australian now, Annalisa Yabsley, who runs, who’s wonderful.
[00:34:18] Edwina: So the next year I was like, look, going to the Met Gala is great, but I really need our head of digital, Francesca Wallace, who's another incredible, incredible talent to come and I really need you to let her in that hub and see what you do and how you do it and how you plan it and how you release it.
[00:34:35] And she went, and they did, and they were very generous with her. And I know they were very pleased to have her as part of their team, but she's brought back that knowledge and a lot of it were already doing, but watching her, I mean, she's in her twenties as a leader, you know, helping her develop a strategic mind, putting P& Ls in front of her and helping her to understand, you know, the responsibility for revenue and you know, you want to do that enough, but not so much that you, you know, are destroying their, their love of work and their creativity in the process because it's jtust all about numbers for them because most of these people haven't got into this because it's all about numbers.
[00:35:13] Gillian: It’s all about business acumen. You know, we talk about this too in our programs. I want the women that work with us to understand that you can make your value more visible when you build your business acumen and learn how to add more value to the business.
[00:35:28] Edwina: You do, but I think it's how you teach it that's vital as a leader. The other thing I've realised with leadership is there's power in knowledge and so a lot of leaders will hold on to a lot of knowledge, because leadership gives you access. It gives you access to a lot of info. I mean, I'm on all sorts of, you know, emails from News globally, from Condé Nast globally. I have, you know, all these fabulous meetings where a lot of information is shared with me about what's going on in e-com or subscription, you're exposed to a lot.
[00:36:01] And I think a lot of leaders hold that very tight because that's their power, you know, you're holding tight to being the boss because you've got all the knowledge, and you're not really going to share it. You might share a bit with the people who need to so they can do their job, but you're not going to share it broadly.
[00:36:16] I don't think that that's good leadership because really a good leader, you know, is planning for the next leader, planning to make yourself obsolete.
[00:36:25] So you can't do that if you hold on to the knowledge. So, in my career, I've had some really great, actually really great, mostly men, to be completely frank, who have been incredibly generous with me on the finance side and really allowed for my dumb questions. They've always been very generous with me and taught me things.
[00:36:45] And I want to make sure that I'm passing that on now and teaching all the young people who work for me just enough at the right stage in their career to empower them to be able to take their career as far as they want it to go.
[00:37:00] Gillian: Such a joy watching them rise, no doubt.
[00:37:04] Edwina, it has been so extraordinary and special chatting with you today. Your business knowledge and acumen have been such a standout for me listening and I can't thank you enough for sharing today. You are an amazing leader. And we know that because we got to chat with your assistant setting up today and she raved and confirmed that for us. And that's where the real truth comes from, right?
[00:37:32] Edwina: Oh, thank you. With four kids I'm chaotic as well. So poor Sophie, I'm like, did you drop this? Have we dropped this? Have we done this? I never know where I'm at.
[00:37:41] Gillian: Well, thank you. Thank you so much. It's been great.
[00:37:44] Edwina: Thank you.