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April, 2024

My Brillant Career

My Brilliant Career

Celeste Moroney, Director at Run Partners and AMI Non Executive Board Member

I used to think that a career was linear. Then I found myself close to the top of the mountain (that I had created in my head) and asked, so what now?   

I have always loved working. I actually remember thinking when I was young… is this work? This isn’t that hard. What are people complaining about? Ironically this thinking was what I have come up against the most. The notion of ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. More on this later.  

Part time jobs were a big part of my school life. I didn’t realise it then, but I was chasing new learning experiences, responsibility, excitement and money. Interestingly during this time the highest paid job turned out to be the most boring!  

After school I enrolled into a Hospitality Management degree for the reason that I really enjoyed people and creating great experiences for them. Then in the first year I had a marketing subject ‘Buyer Behaviour’ and this changed everything. I was completely drawn to the science, creativity and psychology of people behaviour, and how this impacted business. So without any hesitation I changed to a Marketing degree.

Marketing from the start to this day has kept me. It’s one of the most strategic spaces in a business. It’s also creative on so many levels and exposes you to the entire business (including all stakeholders). 

After university there were no marketing jobs. It was in the very early 2000s, and it was dry as a bone. I saw so many recruiters. One in particular told me that I should start in sales for six months and then try to get a job in marketing from there. I wasn’t having that. I wanted to work in marketing. In the end I took a Direct Marketing Role at Standards Australia. I was here for six months and learnt loads about copywriting, key messages and cut-through. I also had the opportunity to do a direct marketing course with ADMA. 

I then was hired as a marketing assistant role at NSW Lotteries. This was the start of my career ladder so I thought. I was here for 2-3 years. I learnt a lot about ‘above the line’ marketing – TVCs, creative development, production, media placement, results analysis, impact on sales, and brand health scores. 

I then moved to FMCG. At the time everyone knew that the best marketing career experience, learning and development was in FMCG. I loved everything about this job. It was fast paced, the people were fun, I learnt so much about category management, product development, agency management, global brand marketing, product development, customers behaviours and key stakeholder relationships. I had a boss that got us to read everything we could get our hands on, which is when I learnt that marketing requires a thirst for continuous learning. Just because you have a degree under your belt – it’s really only the beginning. 

My next role, still in FMCG, was at Baiada Poultry. At the time they owned the Lilydale brand and were in the process of acquiring the Steggles brand/business. I was here for six years. I learnt so much and was given significant autonomy and responsibility – that I am extremely grateful for. Working in an integrated business like this allows you to be involved in the entire product process. From breeding and hatching right through to the finished product. My role during this time expanded to leading both marketing and product innovation. 

My boss early on gave me two pieces of great advice that when I look back, was miles ahead of other Managing Directors still to this day, which was:  

  1. Everything is marketing. This includes how you open the door, how you speak to someone, whether you show up on time. It’s not just limited to building a brand. 
  2. Do yourself out of a job. Build your team to a level that they don’t need you. This eliminates micro-managers and empowers your team to step up, and it’s also great for you… because it forces you to look beyond the horizon for your next. 

This was my leadership phase of my career. I couldn’t read enough about leadership. Attending a world leaders global conference had a major impact on me. Through all of this the big ‘hit you in the face moment’ was the realisation that great leadership is selfless, i.e. that it’s no longer about you – the accolades, the work, the wins, the losses – it’s about how you lead your team and the organisation to be the best versions they possibly can. 

It was all roses up until then. The real vulnerability and growth was coming. I knew it. That’s why I went down this path, the transition from a corporate career to running my own business… I just didn’t know how deep it would go! And it’s still going to be honest. 

As marketers we become very good at analysing other people’s behaviours… it’s always a lot harder to see ourselves. By this stage I started seeing patterns in myself. The roles I had, the reasons I left, the drivers and motivations, etc. So I knew the next phase had to be different. Cue ‘Run Partners’ a marketing and brand agency. The name was inspired by my running days. The idea being that without great partners, running marathons/going the distance, is not only a lot more challenging, but you may not even have considered whether you have a marathon in you. 

Run Partners has been running for 9 years now. I have changed my business model several times – due to it either not working or it wasn’t working for me. I have also continued to changed. To the point I raised earlier – ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’ is something I remind myself of often. At times I can find myself involved in uninspiring projects, but time has taught me discernment and essentialism (recommend author: Greg Mckeown). 

What I have loved about Run Partners, aside from the many opportunities I have had to be involved in the growth of Australian businesses (that are owned by really great people and families) through marketing strategy, brand strategy, brand development, film production, website development, is that I am learning more than ever and in a ‘hands on’ way that I love. 

From the loads of courses (after university) I have taken, the two that have stood out the most are design and film making. They have given me the opportunity to go deeper into the sweet spot between marketing and creativity. 

So here we are today… I still love people and bringing the best out in them… particularly in relation to understanding the drivers behind their behaviours and creating products and experiences that make life better for all stakeholders.

I feel very grateful that marketing continues to be a reliable channel for my own growth and development (which inturn improves the contribution I can make to Australian family owned businesses)… This is my ‘career brilliance’ barometer!