December 17 2020, 1:43 pm | | 2 Comments
Leo Burnett Sydney copywriter Megan Smith tells LBB’s Natasha Patel about leaving a small town for the big city with no job lined up and eventually walking into advertising industry and not looking back.
As a small-town girl who grew up in an area on the fringes of New South Wales, Megan Smith views her early years as the perfect catalyst for what would become a career in advertising. The copywriter at Leo Burnett has had stints working in social media, editorial and marketing before taking the leap to the ad side.
But she knew from an early age that her persuasive nature was a sign of things to come: “Looking back on myself as a child it’s not surprising at all that I’ve ended up in advertising, I always loved writing, art, being creative, and forcing my thoughts and ideas onto people who didn’t want to listen… It’s a pretty good match.”
After leaving the small town of Warialda – where she finished high school with just 16 other students in her year – Megan moved to Sydney with two thousand dollars to her name and no job lined up. “As much as I appreciate growing up there retrospectively, after school I couldn’t wait to get out and start exploring the world. I can’t believe I didn’t die. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done, and I’m still in Sydney all these years later.”
Despite living in the city many years later, Megan never takes one moment of her career for granted and instead thanks her upbringing for teaching her to think outside of the box to make her a “resilient and resourceful creative”.
“I think being from rural Australia gives me a slightly different insight, I’ve had to work incredibly hard to get where I am and I never take my opportunities for granted because I know how rarely they come along for a lot of people. Growing up in the country instils a certain toughness in you and definitely helps put things into perspective when things feel rough.”
Shortly after settling in to Sydney, Megan took a gap year where she explored her options before enrolling at the Macquarie University for a degree in Media. “I loved my time at uni and I quickly figured out I wanted to write, so I focused my studies on media theory, non-fiction writing, gender studies and anthropology. In my final year I was the web editor of Grapeshot Magazine, Macquarie’s uni mag, and I took care of editorial for the site. It was the first time I’d found a job I really clicked with, and decided I wanted to write online and make content for a living.”
This led to a job at a boutique agency as social media manager before Megan left to join a small business and go on a “national vlogging tour”. “I was working as a live event production assistant, tweeted, Facebooked, ‘grammed and Snapchatted for major beauty brands and generally had the time of my life. After that I had a two-year sojourn in women’s fashion as a social media and content editor where I Boomerang’d some of the best fashion talent in the biz, ran over 15 social accounts (yes, at the same time) and took home a lot of free clothes.”
After a final stint in hospitality marketing Megan walked into Leo Burnett and hasn’t looked back. “My long list of skills on my resume has given me a fascinating lens into advertising. I never thought I’d end up as an advertising creative, so having dipped my toe in other waters gives me a little bit of an advantage in an interesting way.” Continue reading on LBB…