Although Ryan Terrey admits his career path – from physiotherapy student to Director of Marketing at coaching and training company The Entourage – was not something he had ever planned for, he is confident he has found his calling. Not only has his natural flair for marketing found the perfect outlet, but he has landed in a position where he can satisfy his overarching ambition, which is “to help people”.
“I’m good at marketing, I’m good at leading people and if I can do that in way that actually helps other people as well, I think that’s what it’s all about,” he tells The CEO Magazine.
Terrey, this year’s The CEO Magazine Young Executive of the Year, already had more than 10 years of digital marketing and leadership experience under his belt by the time he joined The Entourage. Not only had he founded a successful SEO and website agency advising more than 30 small-to-medium businesses, but he had built up a vault of knowledge working with companies such as InfoTrack and Sympli.
When he first came on board two years ago it was as Head of Marketing, but it didn’t take long for him to make an impression, earning himself the title Director of Marketing within his first year. Now, having held this position for just over a year, he aims to empower small business owners and entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools to build great businesses.
His day-to-day includes team management, development and growth, overseeing a team of 15 employees both in Australia and overseas as well as working strategically with the company’s CEO and director of sales to drive revenue growth for the business.
Terrey leads the project management and execution of the company’s four annual pillar events which he describes as its “biggest revenue generators” in terms of sales. He also advises The Entourage’s Small Business community on marketing strategy and tactics both in a one-on-one capacity and at its member workshops.
A clear view
Having learnt much about leadership over the years, he believes that transparency is key.
“Here at The Entourage we are all about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs so making sure that is at the core of everything we do is paramount,” he says.
“The more transparent you can be with strategy, direction of the business and decision-making, the more buy-in you will get. This empowers your employees to follow you on the journey and makes them feel a part of the strategic direction of the business.”
Being able to turn that vision into action is also an important part of exceptional leadership. “Strong focus on strategic and innovative thinking and decision making is also important,” he stresses.
“Every reversible decision that you have to make as the leader is something that I see as missed opportunity for your team to make said decision and learn and grow from it.”
“Every reversible decision that you have to make as the leader is something that I see as missed opportunity for your team to make said decision and learn and grow from it. You need to instil the courage in your team to be decisive and take action.”
Terrey believes that ensuring you invest in the continual development of both yourself and your team is also advisable. The Entourage puts development plans in place for everyone in its marketing team so employees are always being challenged to think about what they want to achieve – and so Terrey can help them to get there.
“This process enables you to be empathetic towards your employees and understand the key drivers – why they are here and where they want to get to,” he says.
Inspirational role modelling
In terms of his own ‘why’, he draws inspiration from his very first manager and leader, Roni Millard. “A CMO50 award winner and amazing leader in her own right, Roni instilled in me a strong work ethic and a love for not only developing yourself but your team as well,” he explains.
“Seeing Roni’s constant commitment to not only her team, the business but also her young and growing family really inspired me. The way she challenged me to be better, think differently and the amount of faith she put in me is still what I see as the driving factor of me becoming the young leader that I am today.”
“We always say at The Entourage: ‘creating something out of nothing is a noble pursuit’.”
As a result of this influence during the early days of his career, Terrey tries to instil these same qualities in his own teams and is deeply committed to mentoring the next generation of young professionals. But just as he imparts his learnings to them, he draws new ones from them at the same time.
“I’m also inspired by my team, each and every day we come to work to help business owners and entrepreneurs grow,” he reflects.
“We always say at The Entourage: ‘creating something out of nothing is a noble pursuit’, and I think everyone at The Entourage buys into and is invested in this and that’s what gets me out of bed every morning.”
Preparing for the next disruption
When it comes to future-proofing your business, Terrey keeps it simple with these three top tips:
- Ensure you are asking the tough questions.
- Don’t have all your eggs in one basket.
- Ensure innovation is at the core of everything you do.