aia - Sophie Redway

Name: Sophie Redway
Job Title: Head of media
Company: aia
Sectors: Media

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be either an equestrian sportswoman or an actress, until I was about 16 that it is. Then I wanted to own a restaurant. I still have that dream in the back of my mind.

Who is, or has been, your role model and who is a strong role model for young women starting their career?

I think there are now many strong role models for young women starting their career. There are now so many successful women in positions of power, or who have really achieved something amazing. But for me it has to be my Mother and Father. They both have a very strong work ethic, which they instilled in my two sisters, my brother and I from a very early age.

What has been the most exciting element of your career so far?

In my current role at aia as Head of Media, when we were bought by TMP Worldwide LLC. My role changed from being UK focused to covering Europe, Middle East and Africa. It has been a steep learning curve and hard-work but also a very exciting opportunity.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

When I was living in Australia in 1996/1997, I had no money and took a job washing dishes in a cafe/restaurant for a week. I was supposed to stay for one week to fill in for someone on holiday. At the end of my first day, the owner sat me down and offered me a permanent role in the kitchen and I soon became a manager on his staff. He said I had walked tall, with pride and a purpose, even though I was walking into a kitchen to wash dishes. He said that he knew from my attitude as I walked through the door that he didn’t want to let me go after a week. This has stuck with me throughout my career so always take pride in what you are doing, no matter what it is.

What is your greatest achievement?

Some friends and I decided to raise money for the people of Haiti, after the horrific earthquake earlier this year. We originally thought we would raise about £5,000 between us, but after 6 weeks of a lot of hard work our end total was £24,500.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Doing a bungee jump in New Zealand. I was petrified of heights but really wanted to prove to myself that I could conquer my fears.

What are the rewarding aspects of a career in your industry?

There have been many rewarding aspects but I would say number one is the people that I work with both agency and media side. It’s a small industry and you get to know people well and it really helps when you like and respect those around you.

What differences do you believe being a woman has made to your career?

I actually don’t think being a woman has made any difference to my career. It just shows how much things have changed over the years. I know this isn’t the case for all industries though.

What have you had to sacrifice/risk to get to the position you have?

I don’t feel I have sacrificed anything. I don’t have a family so don’t have the responsibilities of others at home.

What do you do to ensure you get a break at the weekends?

Luckily, In my job I do get the weekends to myself most of the time so generally do get a break.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring graduate women who are pursuing a successful career?

Think about what you want to do and don’t rush into things. Happiness is much more important than a large pay check. If you truly love what you do and are really passionate about it then you will do it to the best of your ability, which will, in time lead to more opportunities.

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