Dynamic Duos: ‘From day one we developed a mutual respect’

This week in Dynamic Duos, IVY PR's co-managing directors, Emma Bedsor and Mia Hamilton, discuss starting up the agency after working together for over a decade and how they manage joint leadership as polar opposites, while reminiscing on some of their fondest memories together.

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.

Emma Bedsor:

Mia hired me at The Red Republic in 2015 – so we met for the first time in the first round interview. She was an account director, and I was hiring for an account manager role. 

My first impression of Mia was that I had never met anyone so hard working and capable. She was intimidatingly good at what she did. At that point in time her phone was permanently attached to her ear as she jumped between calls with marine lawyers, the council and media, as she attempted (and later succeeded) in floating a shipping container hotel on the Sydney Harbour as part of the award-winning Hotel Tonight launch campaign in Australia. It was incredible to watch! 

From day one we developed a mutual respect for each other and our shared willingness to get in and work hard to get the best possible client outcome. Neither of us accepted mediocre outputs, attitudes or visions. 

We worked together at The Red Republic for years, moving up the ranks alongside each other – Mia as managing director and myself, group account director. It didn’t take long to realise how strong we were as a duo; stronger together than apart. This is where IVY was born. We started the agency together as co-managing directors, with the desire to build a brand, team and quality of work we were proud of. Which is exactly what we’ve done. 

Funnily enough Mia and I couldn’t be more different – a real left brain meets right brain situation. I crave structure and order, while Mia works best jumping from one thing to the next. I love the detail, Mia is all about the bigger picture. She has one of the most creative minds I’ve ever met. 

However, while opposite in many ways we align on the core values that matter most. We share an undeniably high work ethic, an unwavering passion and a desire to create work that drives real business outcomes.  

I have a profound level of respect and appreciation for Mia – personally and professionally. We have some big plans for IVY over the next five years and there’s no one I’d rather [have] by my side to bring our vision to life. 

Mia Hamilton:

Emma and I met in the boardroom of The Red Republic, during her interview almost a decade ago. I remember being immediately in awe of this young impressive person, who presented well above her years in both style and substance. She was a complete breath of fresh air.

I liked Emma instantly. Her energy was fresh and contagious and I found her appetite to take on anything thrown her way (and I mean anything) to be completely inspiring. She just got in and got it done. She had the face of a baby, and I loved watching her crush ageist assumptions in presentations as soon as she spoke, engaging the room with her smarts and capability. I knew we would work together for a long time.

Our agency lives soon became very interesting with a lot of change ahead. Directly after Emma joined, the agency was purchased by McCann Worldgroup which came with an incredible amount of opportunity for both of us.

We worked together throughout various roles and promotions, until we found ourselves leading a 30-person agency in 2018. I had moved from an earned media creative director to managing director and Emma was our group account director. We traveled together between national offices, quickly discovered our strength in leading people together – as polar opposites.

Fast forward a few years and we took an opportunity that was too difficult to pass up. When BCM Group approached us to build out an earned media agency from scratch, we were immediately interested. They were clever to approach us as a duo, as by that stage we were happily married professionally.

And so we began IVY PR, our agency love child – something we could grow from the ground up without any pre-conditioning, inherited issues or boring political constraints. Despite our opposing positions on the personality spectrum (Emma the structure to my barely hidden chaos), we shared a number of important foundations. We despised mediocrity, and loved building great things with great people. We wanted to make work that mattered and to grow a team fit for the challenge.

This year IVY turns three and we celebrate this milestone with a number of wins under our belt. Solid teams nationally, heavily awarded work and renewed passion for what we do. Turns out that starting from a blank page as a duo was exactly what we needed to create the business, work and environment we’d always wanted.

Emma on Mia: 

Most memorable moment with Mia: The State of Origin Shield Tour with Suncorp. A hugely successful campaign that started with a bump in the road when DHL misplaced the (one and only) Queensland mascot, Kane the Cane Toad weeks out from Game 1. Once found, Kane had to travel with us regionally on all flights and in all cars – remaining in close and stinky proximity throughout. Something we can both laugh about (only now). 

Best word to describe her: Ingenious or brilliant.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: Email mailbox miss-management!

Mia on Emma:

Most memorable moment with Emma: Sitting next to Emma as finalists for Mumbrella CommsCon Agency of the Year, and Pro-bono Campaign of the Year and heading on stage to accept the award for our Lifesaving List campaign a few weeks ago. I was incredibly proud to be acknowledged at that level just two and a half years in, and knew I couldn’t have done it without her.  

Best word to describe her: I need two! Powerful and purposeful. 

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: Indecisiveness about food, specifically at around 12pm just before lunch. 


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