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Ten important lessons I learnt with The Marketing Academy from over 50 influential opinion leaders. By Alex Lowes

Over the last ten months, I’ve heard from and met over 50 inspiring, diverse and forward-thinking opinion leaders as part of The 2019 Marketing Academy, a leadership scholarship that I was fortunate to be part of this year.

The program has been transformational in so many ways. I have learnt a great deal about myself and the ingredients of exceptional leadership. Here, I share ten stand out lessons from these conversations – plus a bonus lesson which has always served me well in my years on the planet.

Accountability for your career is everything. Own the direction you are heading in and be the decision-maker about what you do. ‘Decide don’t slide’. Don’t sit and complain about something that has happened or is happening – get in and do something about it.

What is Brand You? What makes you interesting? Develop a Project ME. It’s all about you + (plus) story that will set you apart.

Always assume positive intent from those around you.  If you start from this base, it will change how you see nearly every conversation.

Leadership is about the influence you have on others.  Managers control people; leaders inspire and create an environment where people have the freedom to thrive.

Feedback is a gift from the Gods. But don’t make it about character, always focus on the behavior. Please provide feedback and seek it out regularly.

Be meticulous in the job that you do; execution crispness is everything.  Once you’ve done this, look for growth, and you can invest energy in a new direction.

Be present. Always.  Giving someone your attention is the greatest gift in a conversation. Put away your phone and your devices.

The role of a leader at work is to problem solve. It’s important to remember this. Great leaders manage their stress and put the culture front and centre when handling issues.

Persona only gets you so far. The best leaders have the thinnest walls between personas (what you want people to see) and character (what you see is what you get)

Appreciation isn’t about saying thank you  Tell someone why they changed your day, such a simple way to delight someone and course-correct their outlook.

Bonus 11. Empathy belongs in the workplace. As a parent, wife, sister, daughter, friend, colleague – I know that showing empathy to others at work is critical to better relationships and the workplace. We spend more of our time in work than out and having empathy for what other people are going through can transform your day today.

I am extremely grateful to everyone I’ve met on this journey. These above points are the tip of the iceberg from a years worth speakers, mentors, coaching and being part of such a talented cohort.

A highlight for me was the time with my mentors who have helped me evolve my thinking on my approach to so many things, both professionally and personally. Sherilyn who is a formidable force and who inspires us to be better humans, and of course, Emma, who always makes you feel heard which is most important gift any Human can give to to another.

By Alex Lowes, Global Manager, Media and Partnerships Marketing – Tourism Australia


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