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B&T Women In Media Profile: Anna O’Dea

This article was written by Lauren Croft for B&T.

The B&T Women in Media Awards are almost upon us – and in less than two weeks time, this annual awards programme will recognise the amazing women in this industry, and celebrate their achievements in style.

And in the lead-up to the gala awards night, we’ve been profiling a myriad of inspiring women. Next up in line is Anna O’Dea, founder of Agency Iceberg and all-round power woman.

O’Dea is a judge for this year’s Women in Media Awards and is a recruitment expert – having placed thousands of employees in Australia’s best workplaces and working with award-winning creative teams, brands and global and boutique agencies.

In 2015, she invested $50,000 to found the Leading Ladies project, which promotes visibility of senior women in leadership positions across advertising, marketing, digital and PR and has since grown astronomically.

“Prior to launching Iceberg, my role was about placing talent and making money for the business I worked for and taking home some commission,” she said.

“I’d hear from talent that they were being bullied or harassed and assaulted, or paid less than men in the same role. I couldn’t sleep at night, I couldn’t cope with what I was hearing. The money didn’t matter any more. I went to my boss and asked if I could start a blog series but was shut down.

“I realised I was never going to join the big boys table, so I quit to start my own business and tell the stories of the women on a platform where nothing’s off limits.”

Off the back of #LeadingLadies, O’Dea was named a global LinkedIn Top Voice in both 2016 and 2017 – and was the only woman in Australia in the social media and marketing category to do so.

Without question, the recruitment guru said that this recognition remains one of her proudest professional moments.

“When [editor of LinkedIn New York, Chip Cutter] asked me to do a submission for the LinkedIn Global Top Voices awards off the back of #LeadingLadies it was really cool.

“He loved what we were writing, the stories we were telling and the fact we were using the LinkedIn platform to get it across,” she said.

The #LeadingLadies platform aims to bridge the gap between men and women, and O’Dea reiterated that while it’s important to have women in the workplace, broader diversity is just as important.

“People shouldn’t be discriminated against based on sex, background, ability, or any other factor,” she said.

“The world is diverse and it should be reflected in every workforce. People are stronger when they work together. When we collaborate and come together, we achieve more.”

This can be seen clearly in agencies like McCann, which has recently appointed a new national leadership duo, CEO Nicole Taylor and CSO Fran Clayton, and has strong female leadership representation at state level across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

However, O’Dea said that many senior leadership teams and boards are still missing the mark – and that something needs to change.

“We’re lucky in the media and PR industries that we do have a lot of female senior leadership, but I’d like to see this flow through to all sectors we recruit for,” she said.

“If you look at advertising, many boards and senior leadership teams are mostly male which is disgraceful. I’d like to see a shift here.”


B&T‘s Women in Media Awards 2018 will be held on Friday 17 August 2018 at Doltone House – Jones Bay Wharf.

Grab tickets to the event here and find all other info on the website.

Image by Courtney King.