Dynamic Duos: A case of the ‘rivals to friends’ trope

In this week's Dynamic Duos, Enigma Media's managing director, Justin Ladmore, and general manager, Amy Dasciano, reflect on nearly 20 years of working together, the challenges they throw at each other, a three pitch win moment, and their close bond as colleagues.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two colleagues with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Justin Ladmore:

Amy and I met at Mediacom Sydney in 2006. I worked on the planning side and Amy on the investment side. We hated each other… well Amy hated me. It could have been that I used to plan unachievable campaigns and promised the client the world and then handed that plan over to Amy to try and deliver it. This continued on for a few years until we were strategically paired up in a team bonding workshop. We got to know each other properly outside of work, we started to understand each other and instantly became good mates.

I left Mediacom to work at Enigma in Newcastle. I knew Amy grew up there, her family was there and it wasn’t long before I was able to get her up to Newcastle and to Enigma. The dynamic duo begun!

I remember when Amy first came to Newcastle and there were only a few of us in the media team. I showed her our process, some media plans and explained that she will need to do it all from planning to buying to sending out MI’s. There were never any complaints from her. She knew what we wanted to build and she was on board. The only complaints in the early days were the Newcastle prices for coffee and avo on toast.

Amy and I are Yin and Yang, which has made us the perfect partners to grow a media business. I am the dreamer with lofty ambitions and Amy the pragmatist with the media smarts that can make shit happen. We have got to know each other well and we always know what each other is thinking. We know when to push and when to leave it alone. Amy has taught me so much about media and continues to do so.

Building a successful national media agency outside of a metro market sounds like a ridiculous idea and it has taken a special partnership to make it all work. We have also been lucky to be surrounded by such a talented and awesome team.

Amy Dasciano:

Justin and I started working together at Mediacom Sydney, we literally sat on opposite sides of the office in different departments. I mostly referred to Justin as the crazy curly-haired digital guy turned client service/planner, who literally ran out of the office at 4.55pm every afternoon like he was scared of something!

It wasn’t until mid 2010, when I’d returned from a 3-month travel sabbatical, that I was asked to work with Justin on the yearly planning for the Canon portfolio. I was stitched up. Oh…what a ride! Let’s say, Justin and I had many robust conversations about what the TV networks would and wouldn’t allow us to do within an in-program segment, and NO, our budget won’t allow us to sponsor all those programs, and NO we can’t do TV, cinema, outdoor, radio, print and digital with that budget. Plus your ‘BIG idea!’

Despite all the challenges Justin seems to throw at me, it’s actually why I’ve enjoyed working with him for so long; his adaptability and innovative thinking is what sets him apart, and that has pushed me out of my comfort zone. We think very differently, Justin loves the big picture, creative solutions and often pushes boundaries to think outside the box. I’m slightly more practical and love the detail, and often would prefer to stop and pause, versus just leaping out of the plane, yet I feel Justin loves this rush!

Moving back to Newcastle wasn’t something I ever thought I would do, Sydney had become my home. However, after meeting with Lisa and Justin at Enigma, growing and building a media department from scratch was a career challenge I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do, and it’s been exactly that, a challenge. Having the ability to merge my love of media and marketing, with the ability to move back to my hometown and build a team of talented media professionals in Newcastle has been a truly amazing experience and Justin’s really driven this vision. His approach to work is meticulous and his infectious energy and positivity has always kept us on track.

I actually can’t believe that it will be 10 years since I joined Justin at Enigma. Time has flown by. We’ve had some great wins and some hard losses, but we are always trying to navigate the changing media landscape, grow our team, and build the best product in the market. We have laughed, and yes, I may have cried a couple of times, but I feel when you work in an agency where you really care about the people, the product and the work, it starts to mean more than just a job. Beyond Justin’s professional skills, he deeply values working collaboratively with people and understands the pressure of agency life, never taking himself too seriously and that for me is really important as life outside work is something I value highly.

Justin on Amy:

Most memorable moment with Amy: A few years ago, there were three big pitches that came in all at once. There were lots of tears (mainly from me) but we were able to win all three and it was the first time where we both thought we were on to something.

Best word to describe her: Passionate.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: Amy talks to herself out loud all the time and then answers herself… I guess it’s because she doesn’t think she will get the right answer from me… or that she is always right.

Amy on Justin:

Most memorable moment with Justin: There really are too many, but overall, whenever Justin has an opportunity to sing or perform it’s memorable. From taking over the band for the Christmas party, or singing a staff happy birthday in Māori, starting a sing-along on a bus to an event, these are Justin’s finest moments.

He’ll be sure to tell you, he was once in a band!

Best word to describe him: Perfectionist. You could say, in some situations, a *slight* control freak.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour he has: He can be a little OCD, if you have ever worked with Justin, he loves formatting!

Plus, you’ll know when Justin is stressed, as he will start to bite his thumb, which kind of looks like he is sucking his thumb!


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