Leo Burnett planning assistant and IPA Eff Test graduate Lauren Isaak reveals how gaining an “effectiveness vocabulary” and linking creative output to business strategy is giving her the edge at work.

TCC: How long have you been in the industry and in your current role?

LI: I’ve been at Leo Burnett, my first gig in the industry, since the start of last year.

TCC: What is the best thing about your job and being in the industry?

LI: The best thing about my job is the variety – both of business problems to help solve and topics I get to dig into for research. It keeps things interesting.

The best thing about being in the industry could be the people. I might be biased but the diversity of perspectives here at Leo Burnett Melbourne makes for a very stimulating place. Add to that the clients you meet – and it’s constant fodder.

TCC: What made you want to get into the industry?

LI: The variety, as I’ve said, plus the faster pace agency-side, and a feeling of wanting to be at the forefront of marketing knowledge – not to mention culture and technology. I had a sense these things bring out the best in me. I hope I’ve proven myself right!?

TCC: What was your degree in?

LI: International business and languages.

TCC: What are your wider career goals?

LI: Two are to work in research and trends, and work as a planner overseas.

TCC: Who do you look up to in the industry?

LI: I learn a lot every day from both my boss and mentor, Ilona Janashvili, and our CEO, Melinda Geertz.

Heidi Hackemer, of New York brand shop wolf & wilhemine, is another source of inspiration. She doesn’t know it, but she’s my mentor from afar.

TCC: What are your main sources of career inspiration?

LI: People who know me also know I’ll read anything and everything, but I love a good interview, in particular. One that interrogates its subject just right. It’s the combination of finding out a person’s secrets and gaining insight into how they see themselves that’s appealing to me.

TCC: What motivates you on both a daily basis and to keep striving towards your goals?

LI: I love my job. A sense of appreciation for what it took to get here gives me perspective when I find myself dragging my feet.

TCC: What made you want to do the IPA Eff Test?

LI: A desire to better understand the world of effectiveness awards – an important part of my job.

TCC: How would you describe it in a nutshell?

LI: Learning how we can prove the value of advertising through better objective-setting and data.

TCC: What was the best thing about it?

LI: Looking at the mechanics of some really successful, iconic campaigns, and rewinding from the creative output we’re all familiar with back to the less familiar initial business problem and strategy.

TCC: What was the number one thing you were able to apply in your day to day work?

LI: An ‘effectiveness vocabulary’ to be better able to participate in conversations around campaign tracking and success.

TCC: What is your favourite project/campaign you’ve worked on to date?

LI: Tricky. A pitch we worked on last year for a government campaign to foster a greater sense of unity in our multicultural city is a project that has stayed with me. It just raised some questions that in this day and age deserve good, thorough consideration, and it was great to have the opportunity to apply ourselves to that challenge.

TCC: What’s your passion outside of work?

LI: That’s easy. Adventuring, camera in tow.