Ski slopes & Janet Jackson: The unusual places these 30 Under 30 winners look for inspiration

Former Editor & Content Director

Yesterday, we met some future audio leaders who take inspiration and motivation from all sorts of people and places, including Ted Lasso, but they’re not the only ones looking far and wide to ensure the future of audio is bright.

Tina Quinn learned a lot of her skills from her time as a ski instructor, not realising just how transferrable these skills would be. She combines that with her unwavering passion for audio to shape her approach to the medium.

Another emerging superstar shaping the future is Marcel Marais. He’ll do anything to shake up radio promotions and engage with listeners, including the use of… multiple Janet Jackson heads.

And Sally Cartmell has taken lessons from Simon Sinek, and led the charge last year of getting her sales team back to work safely and happily.

Read about it all – from the ski slopes to the pandemic and a house haunted by Janets – below.

Tina Quinn, radio journalist, 2SER 107.3 & SBS (29)

What makes Tina Quinn a future leader in audio? 

“Before beginning my career in radio, I worked in a number of different leadership roles across various industries. I have run retail businesses for apparel brands, where I trained and managed large teams of associates. During my time in publishing I was the marketing and publicity manager for Simon & Schuster, where I managed a small team of publicists and marketing coordinators.

“These roles have definitely influenced my leadership style, but I think the most formative experience for me was my time working as a ski instructor. I didn’t manage a team of direct reports in this role, but my job was to teach guests how to ski.

“The differences in personalities that I came across in this line of work were vast, and each had their own ways of learning, their own motivations for being there and their own challenges to overcome to achieve their desired result. It pushed me to constantly adapt my teaching style, although the most crucial factor in getting the best out of my pupils was the level of fun they were having.

“Regardless of how informative and precise I was being in my teaching, if I wasn’t making the atmosphere fun and enjoyable for them, they were never going to perform to the best of their abilities.

“It’s a lesson that I’m forever grateful to have learnt, as its held me in good stead throughout my working life. I now manage a small team of producers when I present programs for 2SER Breakfast and The Daily and keeping things fun, while also recognising each person’s particular motivations and utilising their strengths is how I approach leadership.

“The other attribute that makes me a future leader in audio is my unbridled love for the medium. As previously mentioned I have always considered myself a self-proclaimed ‘audiophile’, which really began from childhood on.

“Radio was a big part of my upbringing. My mother was an avid FM listener, and every morning I always looked forward to hopping in the car to be taken to school, because it meant I would get to hear Jonesy & Amanda on 101.7 WSFM.

“They almost felt like part of the family. It highlighted to me the special relationship that develops between a broadcaster and their listeners.

“As I myself grew older I started experimenting with different stations and formats. ABC RN has been a long-time favourite, as has smooth. While the content of both of these stations are miles apart, one thing that my preferred presenters on both share is the ability to bring the listener along with them, making them feel like a part of the conversation.

“It’s a special intimacy unique to audio which other mediums can’t provide in the same way.

“This appreciation has informed my approach to broadcasting.

“One of the most interesting developments for the audio industry in recent years has been podcasting and on-demand streaming services. While this has created huge volatility for traditional broadcast business models, the same principles still apply.”

Marcel Marais, digital content producer, Southern Cross Austereo (25)

What makes Marcel Marais a future leader in audio? 

“I believe my ambition to adapt to constant change in the social media/digital landscape is what makes me a future leader in the industry.

“For example, when the Hit Network ran a nationwide RNBFridaysLive promotion to get registrations for live concerts, hit929 in Perth, led by me, had thousands of entries ahead of any other market due to my initiative to push the boundaries.

“Instead of slaughtering our social media accounts with endless posts promoting the concert (resulting in minor interaction figures), we took an approach to get people talking about us. I set up (with the help of a few work colleagues) a ’90s focussed bedroom in one of our sound production Voice Over booths, along with integration from the Breakfast show, a 360-degree experience where fans had to count ‘How Many Janet Jackson Heads’ there was in the room.

“The game was simple, fans join the livestream (a produced video lasting five minutes, but was premiered on Facebook instead of just publishing… It gives the impression to our fans that we’re ‘live’ without live-streaming) and simply look around the room to count all the Janet heads.

“First one to leave a comment with the right number, won a double pass to the concert. Thousands of comments and nearly 200,000 views… we had a winner, but more importantly… a new standard for national promotions.”

Sally Cartmell, agency account manager, Southern Cross Austereo (29)

What makes Sally Cartmell a future leader in audio? 

“My purpose in driving positive culture and camaraderie is what shapes my future of becoming a leader.

“I’m genuinely enthusiastic when it comes to bringing people together, championing team spirit and creating an inclusive environment amongst my peers. It’s a known fact that the more positive the workplace culture is, the higher the productivity and the overall performance of the team and the business.

“I recently read Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last, and it was his concept the ‘Circle of Safety’ that really resonated with me. “

Only when we feel we are in a ‘Circle of Safety’ will we pull together as a unified team, better able to survive and thrive regardless of the conditions outside.”

“We have a saying amongst our agency sales team and that’s ‘The Conditions are Always Perfect’. No matter what’s going on around us, what’s in our control or not in our control, nothing’s going to stop us from achieving our absolute best.

“This couldn’t have been more apparent over the last 12 months when media spends declined month after month, yet we all worked as a united front to ensure that audio was not forgotten about. But if it wasn’t for the trust we have amongst the team, and everyone feeling that sense of safety, we’d have not seen this same outcome.

“An example of where I’ve really stepped up to bring the team together was at the start of the ‘return to office’ phase last year post the pandemic. After making the return as early as June, I wanted to lead by example and share my experience to influence the team and slowly, but surely, have everyone back in.

“With that, by the end of September last year we had our whole sales team back in the office, (by choice) 100% of the time, which had such a positive impact not just on the team, but also our clients.

“I’ve been in the driving seat of improving the culture at SCA since day one, from organising regular social events, practising mindfulness together and showcasing the great things we do as a team, through a dedicated Instagram page, celebrating personal and professional achievements. This has gained attention from industry bodies, clients, and potential new talent.

“Alongside this, I take huge pride in helping those around me and nurturing them in their roles, to be the best that they can be. I ensure that junior members of my team working directly with me have a progression plan with steps and milestones, so they feel they have a purpose and something to strive towards. This is supported with weekly WIPs and regular reviews of how they are tracking.

“Another example of my style of leadership and supporting my peers is my involvement within our tactics team, an internal sales initiative where I encourage different members of the team to be involved, giving them the confidence to step out of their comfort zone through sharing my experiences and empowering them to step up to the challenge.”

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