Dynamic Duos: News Corps’ Pippa Leary and Lou Barrett

In this week's Dynamic Duos, News Corp's managing director sales, Lou Barrett, and managing director of client product, Pippa Leary, share how they've connected over hard work, authenticity and bed times before 9pm.

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

Pippa Leary:

The thing that struck me when I first started working with her is the quality of relationships that she has – those relationships and her standing in the industry … that and her ability to connect to and talk with absolutely anyone and everyone she crosses paths with.

Despite her very senior role, Lou can and will talk to anybody and anyone and she does it with great warmth. There’s something a little bit magical about her. When it comes to her work she’s a bloody good operator. We all know that. But if you don’t know her in person you might not completely grasp how genuine she is.

When it comes to Lou, it’s a definitive case of what you see is what you get. There is no artifice to her. Unlike a lot of people within this industry she is not tricky … I think, speaking very generally of course, the advertising and media world is heavy on artifice.

There’s a lot of people out there who always have their game faces on. But not Lou. It’s just not in her nature. She is authentic always. She’s been in the industry for some 30 years and yet she’s still like that. You know it’s genuine too – you can’t fake authenticity and definitely not for that long.

When I say that I don’t mean she’s not forthcoming or shy of an opinion. She definitely tells it like it is. She does not hold back. But that means you always know where you stand. I love that about her. It’s a rare and much appreciated quality. And it inspires really deep loyalty which she returns.

I first met her at a lunch at a very chic Sydney location. I’d never met her before but I’d heard plenty. You know what this industry is like … I remember I liked her instantly. She had such a warmth about her. Still does of course.

I wasn’t surprised that we clicked. But I was surprised by how open she was. She was more real than some sales managers I’ve met. She was wearing her heart on her sleeve and I loved that. I wish there was more of it.

Now that we’re working side by side I can confirm my first impression was bang on. Lou allows me to be my true self – always. I don’t need to put on a game face. We spend hours and hours together and I get to be me for all of them.

We work really well together but it’s more than that. We like each other. We trust one another. We have one another’s backs. Lou and I are two women on the executive team here at News Corp Australia. That bonds us together, but also we’re both client facing. We spend all of our time making sure we can deliver client outcomes and better than anyone else for that matter. That’s our main focus, always. We never deviate from that.

We’re two women in highly-related areas. Lou is in charge on the relationships and I’m in charge of the products that she gives to her team to sell to her clients. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Given that it’s really important we’re always in lockstep. And we are. We never allow any kind of disconnect.

It’s wonderful being able to work so closely with a woman you totally trust. We both love and believe in what we do and we have no interest in anything but doing our very best for our clients. We talk about it all the time. I know I can pick up the phone at any time and talk to her about a client and I hope she feels the same way about me.

Now that I say that I wouldn’t call her after 9pm … we both go to bed quite early. If I needed to though I could call her at 6am and I know she’d pick up the phone. That’s so rare and I am so grateful for it.

Lou Barrett: 

The first time I met Pippa we were with a handful of industry people. I knew her name, but I didn’t know a great deal about her. I had no preconceived ideas. We hadn’t crossed paths. I’d been in radio and television for years and she was in digital so there was no real cross over.

My first impression … well, I was a bit amazed at how digitally-savvy she was. I could see how switched on she was and particularly in relation to the world of digital.

She’s grown up in that world. She’s one of the very first in the industry to have done so. She was there at the forefront. And she still is. Nobody knows more.

Other than that I thought oh okay. Here’s someone a little bit like me – a really strong girl. I was sitting there thinking she really knows her stuff. And I liked her immediately.

Today, I feel the same way about her. She’s a force in the industry and I respect her enormously. She’s honest too, which I appreciate deeply. We’re both a bit like that. Neither of us has any hesitation in speaking up if we see something we don’t like or think is good for the business or our clients for that matter. We’re both straight shooters. We like to be open and honest.

Pippa always tells it like it is. She’s also incredibly passionate about making a difference and that resonates with me too.

I’d go so far as to say I rely on her. And I daresay she relies on me. Our work relationship is very symbiotic. I rely on her for product. She relies on me to sell it. In some ways we can’t function without one another. Sounds bad but it’s actually great.

Before Pippa came into the business I felt like I was on my lonesome. I was a lone ranger. But not anymore. Now we’re a double act. I am so grateful for her. She understands the challenges that I have … She knows what I am up against and likely more so than anyone.

I do think the fact that we’re women cements the relationship in some ways. How can it not? But we’re not girly girls. Traditionally we’re both pretty forceful in the way we deliver things. I suspect that sometimes the two of us might scare people. But only if you don’t know us. We’re both empathetic. Just direct.

We both support one another and at all times. She is my second voice … I know she will always step in to support me and she knows I will do the same for her. That way we ensure we get heard.

We need more of that type of relationship in the industry, especially amongst women. There’s nothing quite so powerful as like-minded women working side by side. In our respect it doesn’t hurt that we’re pretty much the same age as well. We have seen it all – and I mean all. We have been there and done that and now we know how to cut through the bulls**t and fast.

We’re also pretty similar in terms of lifestyle. We’re both quite active women. We love to get outdoors. She loves skiing and I do too. We both love to be near the water. Neither of us drink much. We might have the one drink but that’s about it …

You have to look after yourself if you’re going to be doing the kind of work that we do and at the level that we do it. We’re passionate and work very hard but we also believe in work life balance. It’s an ethos Michael Miller believes in too so he keeps us in check. Together though we make sure we’re thriving both personally and professionally. I consider myself lucky to have Pippa by my side.

Pippa on Lou:

Most memorable moment with Lou: When we’re on the road with D_Coded we have plenty. But I maybe shouldn’t share them here. Although Lou might?

Best word to describe Lou: Can I choose a few? I would say authentic first and foremost. Genuine and rare too.

Lou’s most annoying or endearing habit: When it’s just me and her, she will pepper her conversation with swearwords which somehow makes everything she says hilarious. To be honest we both swear a lot – and laugh just as much.

Lou on Pippa: 

Most memorable moment with Pippa: Oh definitely when we’re on the road with D_Coded. We joke so much, we laugh like mad and there’s plenty of general carrying on. We have a lot of fun. Mind you we get it in early. We’re always the first to bed.

Best word to describe Pippa: Rather than a word I’m going with a statement. And it’s that she gets sh*t done. Always. But if I did have to use just one word it would be passionate. She loves her craft.

Pippa’s most annoying or endearing habit: She’s in bed by 9pm. But fair enough. Me too. Also, we’re the first ones up to get into it the next day.

If you and a colleague would like to submit your story to Dynamic duos, please email kwelch@mumbrella.com.au.


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