Q&A with Lahnee White – Winner B&T’s 30 Under 30 Award

Last month, Westpac’s Lahnee White, Senior Manager, Retail Planning and Activation was recognised as one of the B&T’s 30 Under 30 winners. In an ADMA exclusive, Lahnee, discusses the marketing and advertising industry today, and why it just comes back to having a passion, relentlessly pursuing that passion and sharing that passion with those around you.

Lahnee also provides us with insights into co-starting ADMA’s new 30Below Community, and why it’s dangerous to become too insular as a creative, suit or marketer, and why we need to evolve and grow as our industry does.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your role at Westpac and your involvement with ADMA?
I currently work at Westpac as Senior Manager for Retail Planning and Acquisition.  This involves overseeing the marketing planning cycle for Westpac’s SME and Commercial segments, ensuring that deliverables from briefs to creative execution meet the agreed requirements and timeframes.  In addition to this, I’m focused on aligning plans between Marketing and Westpac’s Retail Network, including campaign activation in over 600 branches nationally.

I’ve been actively involved with ADMA for the past 12 months.  My awareness of ADMA had grown over the years but it was seeing the impact ADMA had on the careers of two mentors that really compelled me to get involved.  Both mentors were past ADMA Direct Marketer of the Year winners and were huge advocates of the work that ADMA did across the industry.

My opportunity to really participate came through the launch of the 30Below committee – an ADMA project to create a group exclusively for Under30s.  I was offered the chance to get involved and I jumped at it!

2. What is the 30Below all about?
30Below is an outstanding initiative, designed to connect up-and-coming talent across the industry.  It creates a forum, whether that be face-to-face or online, where young advertisers and marketers can come together to share and learn.  We want to start a conversation about issues impacting Under 30s – over breakfast, over drinks, over blogs.  Since launching, we’ve revamped the Young ADMA awards, built online portals and are in the process of designing new events.

3. What would you like to achieve in the next year with the 30Below?
I guess the sky is the limit.  We’re really looking for our members and newly elected committee to help us shape the next year, but there are a couple of things I’d like to see happen: 1. GROW 30BELOW – The more people we connect, the more ideas start flowing and that can only mean good things for the industry and our members. 2. CONNECT WITH INFLUENCERS – Create forums where we can start a dialogue with the industries best, to learn, but also to enable members to build their profile and enhance their career opportunities 3. HAVE FUN – Creatives, suits and marketers do have a reputation as the teams that are most likely to let their hair down.  So let’s show them what we’re made of!

4. Why is it important to marketers? 
It’s dangerous to become too insular as a creative, suit or marketer.  Trends are constantly evolving and if you don’t take the time to look around you and speak to those around you, then you run the risk of losing touch with your customer.
30Below is the ideal forum to keep your finger on the pulse and the best part is you can be as active as you want.  If you prefer to absorb information through reading blogs and articles, we’ve got that.  Or, if you want to start a dialogue then you can proactively engage via our social media or at one of our networking events.

5. You have been nominated for a number of awards and have been recognised in the prestigious B&T’s 30 Under 30.  Can you tell us what that means for you and what have been the key steps towards your achievement?
It’s very cool to be recognised by your peers and leaders across the industry. I’ve invested in my career to date – through a commitment to performance at work but also by volunteering to promote marketing at an industry, community and company level. For me, achievement really just comes back to having a passion, relentlessly pursuing that passion and sharing that passion with those around you.  When you get recognised for doing this, then that’s just a fantastic bonus!

6. If you had to give one piece of advice to an under 30 marketer trying to make it; what would that be? 
Don’t compromise on your values – if you don’t believe it, don’t do it.  There is always somewhere or someone that will share your vision, you just need to get up and go find it.

7. Your role has focused on customer acquisition, what has been your favourite acquisition campaign to date? 
Not sure I have one favourite, but here is one that I respect for its innovation and honesty.

Dove – Evolution – the viral video promoting Real Beauty.   It’s more of a branding campaign than anything, but any strong brand campaign will inspire action in customers and I certainly responded to the ad.  The interesting part of this campaign was that it stripped back the façade of flawless beauty that had been built up by the cosmetics and fashion industries by showing the impact of photo-shopping.  It also leveraged new social channels at a time when the idea of viral was relatively new.  So a refreshing proposition and groundbreaking execution – what’s not to like.

Find out more about 30Below here and how you can get involved.

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