24 hours with MediaCom global ECD Gemma Hunter

In this 24 hours with, MediaCom's global ECD Gemma Hunter wakes up at 5am on a Saturday, gets muddy and obtains a new-found appreciation for beer.


Alarm goes off, confusion. Hang on, it’s Saturday why is my alarm going off at 5am? Why is it going off at all? That’s it: I’m off to Sydney for some work and play with the team. Better get moving.

I jolt out of bed, wake the dog in the hall, his face says ‘no chance I’m getting up, it’s a lie in day mate.’ I suspect he will soon replace me next to the hubby. On return from the shower my suspicions are confirmed.


And I’m almost out the door, I hear ‘good luck you nutter’ murmured from the bedroom. The hubby is in full support of today’s game plan. Good to know as I’m feeling scared right now.


As usual I’m running to the gate as they are boarding. I scrape it. I fly most weeks and don’t like to waste time in the airport, so I think I have the whole timing plan from home to plane seat down to a fine art. I’m kidding myself. Don’t fly with me if you like a relaxed meander through the airport. I’m a live on the edge of time kind of girl.


And I’m off the plane, soy cap in hand and banana in bag, (instructions from PT) as I make my way to the rendezvous point I see several members of my team waiting by the car, pointing and staring at me, I later discover they are discussing ‘what will she be wearing off the plane?’

Do they think I’m Posh Spice? Ok, I love a killer heel and some couture but darhlings when you travel this much, comfort is the name of the game especially when running to the gate.


We arrive on site at Tough Mudda and the first thing I do is check the branding and activation set up for Biozet for whom we are activating today. I can’t help myself, I give the promo staff a little nudge even though my team have things perfectly under control.

But this is not in fact the reason I’m here today. I’m nervous. People are being zapped on the final obstacle. I’ve just signed a death waiver – just what you need to pump you up.


We enter the warm up zone. Yep, I’m about to do Tough Mudda with 15 of my team and I’m petrified. People pay for this?


We’re at the start line and the hype up guy is doing his thing, I think I am I going to throw up. “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons blares. I look around and see the smiling and encouraging faces of my team and I know I can do this with them leading and supporting me.

We are here because we believe culture is vital and the team is so diverse in makeup and passion points – from someone with a PHD in advanced maths who speaks ‘python’ to an award-winning copywriter who started his career in the media investment team. Every couple of months someone chooses what we do for a team activity and then most of us have a go. We learn more about each other and how to work as a high-performance team on these days than any other. “Feel the thunder” continues to blare – it’s time to go.


The safety debrief culminates with the emcee firing us up to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” – I’m beginning to notice a pattern. The legs are warm. The gun fires and we rampage the first obstacle, The Wall of Doom, double, double doom, the fear kicks in again but with a lot of help I’m yanked over the top.

Over the next 2.5 hours I do things I never thought I would or could do, on each leg of this journey I run / walk with a different team member, we talk, we laugh and before I know it I realise that I’m having a shit load of fun. An icy wind sweeps through the valley, the rain falls, I’m wet, cold and covered in mud from the neck down and it’s glorious.


And we see the finish line ahead, I’ve purposely ignored the markers. I realise that I’m not dead, I’m not broken, I’ve conquered fears, I’ve fallen even more in love with my epic team and together we cross to glory.

I’m handed a beer, I don’t really like beer that much – I’m more of a vintage French champers or cup of tea kind of a girl – but let me tell you, this beer is AMAZING, liquid gold.


We are all back at the Biozet Brigade Station, a place for Tough Muddas to wash off in a Biozet washing machine at the finishing line, snap a pic with their comrades and score themselves some product to help with the muddy clean-up.

The Biozet Brigade is a regiment or group of individuals coming together to complete a single mission (Tough Mudda) and that sums up the philosophy of what my team do daily. We stick together and help everyone over the line. The best way to prove the idea worked was to do it ourselves and I couldn’t be prouder right now.


The team is freezing, some have showered, some are still queuing and on the way back my impulses get the best of me and I score a bagful of steaming cinnamon donuts that the team devour in silence. I hope my PT isn’t reading this. To this day it’s the best donut I have ever tasted. Sometimes it’s the little things in life.


They drop me off at the Sheraton on the Park, I’m still muddy and coated in cuts and bruises and frankly I look like I’ve been in a fight and lost. Badly. There are a couple on the steps on route to a black tie do, they give me some strange looks. If it wasn’t for the grin across my face I don’t reckon reception would have let me back in.


After bath number three, a quick call to call to Hogarth, our production company. Is my favourite editor available to cut the footage and will I ever be able to face him again after he sees me like this? Apparently yes and yes.


Sleep and dream of mud and glory, One MediaCom our rallying cry.


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