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Busy as a Bee
They say fortune favours the brave and the phrase could not ring more true when considering Michelle Battersby’s leap of faith and meteoric career trajectory. The former Bumble Director of Marketing talks to us about relocating cities, her career journey and an exciting new role.
Tell us how you got to where you are today, your career journey.
I was fortunate enough to be referred to Whitney Wolfe-Herd, the CEO and founder of Bumble by a mutual friend. The introduction came at a time when I had been working in corporate finance for 5 years and was unsure I could see myself doing it for the rest of my life, the timing of this introduction felt right.
After a phone call with Whitney, I was hired as the Australian Country Lead and tasked with launching the brand into the Australian market. It was a relatively unknown brand at the time but I believed in Whitney, her mission and felt I had nothing to lose but my own pride (and whoreally cares about that) so may as well give it a go.
I embarked on a three year ride that truly transformed my life, my career experience and defined my passion for marketing and working for brands with purpose.
Whilst at Bumble I went on to become the Director of Marketing for the APAC region, launching the brand into New Zealand, the Philippines, Bali and Hong Kong. I loved my experience at Bumble, but I always had a gut feeling my next role would come via the incredible businesswomen I met along the way - that feeling turned into a reality when Laura Henshaw and Steph Claire Smith approached me with an offer.
The offer was to join Keep it Cleaner as CMO and help them scale up the business. The fire was reignited inside me. I believed in them, their brand and believed I could help them.
The decision to take the leap was the hardest decision I have ever had to make because I felt so indebted to Bumble, but at the end of the day you have to keep challenging yourself. I think I was scared to have that initial chat with Laura and Steph because deep down, I knew it was the right time for me to make that move. I am really excited about the opportunities for KIC.
What has been your proudest career moment thus far?
Bumble. To have taken a chance on something like that, with no experience - naivety is power sometimes. My team and I wanted everyone in Australia to know what Bumble was, then to know that it’s the App that empowers women to make the first move and I feel like we got there.
To have left with 3 million Australians on the App is an accomplishment I hold close to my heart.
You’ve recently moved across to Keep It Cleaner as CMO, what excites you most about the new role?
The opportunity for growth. Laura and Steph have built such an incredible brand with a unique brand voice and loyal community. To spread that to other women around the world brings me back to the early days at Bumble and that’s exciting.
As well as that, I love working with a team that can adapt and influence the product, a benefit that definitely comes from being at HQ. The team is super agile and ready to take the next step, so I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
I have been fortunate to work for brands that have wanted me to feel empowered each day and allowed me to lead with great autonomy and creative freedom – that really does breed motivation and loving your work.
What’s the secret to your work/life balance?
Working for Keep it Cleaner definitely helps! The workouts are SO achievable, quick and I never get bored. I was in such a rut previously, I couldn’t find the motivation and since joining I have never committed to a program more.
Ultimately it really comes down to finding something that works for you within your schedule - that will look different for everyone. Sometimes I’m exercising every day, other times I’m reading, walking, or listening to a podcast.
When do you feel most empowered?
I have been fortunate to work for brands that have wanted me to feel empowered each day and allowed me to lead with great autonomy and creative freedom – that really does breed motivation and loving your work. I do tend to get a wave of adrenaline when I start to talk about a campaign concept or close in on a partnership.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
You can have it all but not all at once. I have said this 1 million times but Jackie Frank said this and it’s so true. What this means to me is that you don’t need to have all cylinders firing at once. I find I can put so much pressure on myself - friendships, business, relationships, finance, family etc. - sometimes you have to let one or two of those things down and that’s ok - or maybe you’re 80/20 split with a couple, but it always ends up coming back around and my philosophy is there will be a point in your life when you will have had it all!
You’ve recently made the move to Melbourne, after growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, how will you be preparing your wardrobe for a Melbourne winter?
Any fashion regrets?
Do we all remember the giant arm cuff phase? 15cm gladiator style cuffs? Partaking in that would have to be a regret.
What can we expect from Michelle Battersby in 2020?
This year I’ll continue to challenge myself both professionally and personally. I’m excited to grow into my new position at KIC and truly immerse myself into the incredible KIC community. I am looking forward to the challenge of a new city and new opportunities.