The CEO Magazine: Tell us about ADMA and what you do.

Jodie Sangster: The Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) is a non-profit, membership-based organisation that embraces responsible data-driven marketing and advertising. Our members include corporations that use data-driven marketing, as well as suppliers and agencies. We have about 500 corporate members and 800 brands in membership.

The work of the Association is vast and varied. We lobby government on behalf of members, champion responsible marketing, organise a variety of events, run a comprehensive education program, create research initiatives and have expert groups meet and provide thought leadership on a variety of topics. We focus on the customer experience and the four pillars of its success: data, content, creativity, and technology.

What does it take to be successful in your role?

My job is to oversee all of our programs and to make sure members are deriving value from our initiatives and getting what they need from us. My purpose is to help marketers at all levels to be better at their jobs through education, training, and networking. I also need to understand the issues facing marketers and advertisers like the current skills gap and put in place programs to address those issues.

To be successful in my role, you have to be across a lot of issues at the same time. It’s vital to have connections with industry members at all levels, understanding their concerns and knowing what needs to be done about it.

In addition, it helps to have contacts in government and business outside of the industry. It also takes a good team who can have you deliver the outcomes, a passion and love for the work, and a sense of humour.

What is your advice to others wanting to take the same journey?

You need deep knowledge of the industry, connections, a passion for marketing and stamina! Importantly, you can’t do it all on your own; you need a good team behind you that is passionate, creative, and believes in marketing and what you are trying to achieve on behalf of the industry.

What has been a key challenge and how have you overcome this?

The challenge has been in getting the right team in place. I’ve found it pays to hire those with passion and the drive to do the job. Skillset is important, but I’ve learned you can teach skills on the job. It’s the passion and dedication to make ADMA a dynamic association that I think has been instrumental to our success.

Who helped you get to this position?

At each stage in my career I have been blessed to have a champion. When I was working at the UK DMA, it was then CEO Colin Lloyd who said I was ready and encouraged me to apply for my first overseas job at ADMA in 2001 as their Legal and Regulatory Affairs Director. Then, when I went to work in New York for the USA DMA in 2007, it was Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, who encouraged me to develop my skillset so I moved from being a lawyer to a businessperson.

Fast forward four years later, and it was Quantium’s Director, Tony Davis, who put me forward for the CEO role at ADMA, even though I was worried I was too young for it. But he had confidence in me. He has been a mentor and good friend who has provided valuable guidance to me for many years now.

What would it mean to be a winner of an Executive of the Year award?

It would be hugely flattering, humbling and lovely to be recognised. It would also be a tribute to my team for me to be a winner in the Executive of the Year category because ADMA wouldn’t be the place it is now without their support and dedication.