Q&A Session with Tami Iseli, Marketing Manager at Luminary

We had an interview with Tami Iseli, Marketing Manager at Luminary.

She shared her career journey, work culture at Luminary and the activities she does in her free time. You can see the answers of Tami Iseli and her opinions on the people-first-oriented team culture of Luminary:

1. Can you tell us about your personal journey and your current position at the agency?

My career path so far has been less of a ‘ladder’ and more of a ‘choose your own adventure’ story. Along the way, I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a lawyer, a freelance writer, a content strategist and now a marketing manager.

I decided very early on, as a junior lawyer, that predictability and the well-worn career path were not for me. I also learnt that a company’s culture is a critical component of my job satisfaction.

Every day my role brings something new and varied. I handle all of our marketing operations, from internal cultural initiatives to social media, sponsorships, awards and more. I also help our clients with their content strategies.

Although I haven’t had a linear career path, I feel that every job I’ve had in my life has, in some way, led me to where I am now. I am doing what I love, in an agency I love, with wonderfully talented people.

2. How diverse is your team? Do you believe agencies should take further actions to diversify their teams?

Overall we try to ensure a good gender balance at Luminary and I think we do a pretty good job of that. In some areas of the business it is easier than in others. For example, it can be difficult to find female back-end developers, simply because there are currently more men than women who choose this career path.

I don’t really believe in artificially skewing the numbers – I think an agency should hire on merit. However, there are certain things that can be done to ensure that the hiring process is fair – like involving women in the selection of candidates.

At Luminary, we also have an internship program where we endeavour to help young people get a foothold in the industry. Many of our interns are women. In fact, we currently have a female front-end developer interning with us. We also sponsor the Tech Visionary category of the Victorian Young Achiever Awards. Last year’s winner was a very talented young woman who started a platform to help people with restricted mobility find suitable places to go out. Behind the scenes we are also in discussions about developing a female mentoring program for junior developers – watch this space!

Of course, diversity is also about more than gender alone. Culturally, Luminary has fantastic diversity. More than a third of our team identify as being part of an ethnic minority. This makes for a pretty spectacular feast when we celebrate Harmony Day!

3. Do you think there is a gender gap in the digital marketing industry? If yes, what are the main reasons for that?

Digital marketing is quite broad. I think there are plenty of women in digital marketing roles, but less so in the more technical roles, like software development and IT. I think the main reason is that, despite all the good work being done to encourage girls into STEM subjects at school and university, there is still a perception that science and technology are primarily the domain of men.


4. How can we support the next generation of female marketers entering the digital marketing industry?

I think the more we can showcase the work of female role models and provide female mentors for young women entering the industry, the more likely we are to be able to even up the balance.

5. Considering the industry dynamics, do you think it’s more challenging for women to become leaders in the digital marketing ecosystem? Why/why not?

There is always the argument that women take on the bulk of childcare duties and are therefore disadvantaged in terms of leadership opportunities, but I believe we will see a shift in this following the pandemic. Never before has it been so acceptable to work remotely – particularly for leaders. This means that it’s now a lot easier to balance family responsibilities with work. I think we will see a lot more organisations realising that it is possible to successfully balance leadership with family. And hopefully, that will result in more women taking seats at the leadership table.

6. Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and why?

At the moment I am most inspired by NZ PM Jacinda Ardern – for proving that you can lead a whole country successfully with a small child in tow! I also really admire her insistence that you don’t have to have the stereotypical ‘masculine’ qualities of being loud and domineering to be a leader. She leads with compassion and empathy and is absolutely unapologetic about it.

7. Why do you think your agency stands out from other digital agencies?

I’ve never come across an agency – or any business for that matter – that cares so much about its people. This permeates every aspect of the way Luminary operates, from career development (we have a coach) to social events (including many that partners and families are invited to) and personal wellbeing (too many initiatives here to mention!).

At Christmas, we all receive gifts from the Directors that are personally and thoughtfully handpicked for us. They get to know every team member on a personal level. There is never a sense that you’re just a resource, there to do a job. It’s a very far cry from my early days as a young lawyer where we were all told we had to aspire to become “viable economic units”!!!

8. How does being a DAN member contribute to your agency’s success?

Being a member of DAN enables us to reach an audience that we otherwise might not have access to. It also gives us a platform to showcase who we are and what we’re all about.

Bonus: What has been your favorite lockdown activity to do at home?

My two favourite lockdown activities were painting classes (run by a friend over Zoom) and ‘Cooking with Nanna’. My mum is a chef and during the lockdown she did a weekly online cooking class with my two young boys.