Dynamic Duos: Tessa Gallagher and Jacqui La’Brooy of Urban List

In this week's Dynamic Duos, Urban List's head of content, Tessa 'Tessy' Gallagher, and Jacqui 'Jacs' La'Brooy, chief commercial officer, share how despite living on opposite sides of Australia, their bond withstands the distance.

Tessa Gallagher:

I still remember the moment I met Jacs in our Melbourne Cremorne office because she was wearing the same Etre Cecile jacket as I own and I thought she looked very cool and fun and confident. I had heard a lot of great things about her and I remember I liked her instantly.

We both head up the two biggest teams at U:L. We have a lot of respect for each other and what the other person brings to the table—we would be nowhere without the dollars and she would be nowhere without the content!

While we look after very different parts of the business, the crossover is huge and we work together very closely on team management, strategy, projects, deals, ideas and presentations. We talk every day and I’ve found that the more we’re across each other’s priorities, the better the business and our people perform. We really try to instill the importance of collaboration in our teams too. The more the commercial team is across content, the better they will be at their jobs and the more that the content crew understand the commercial side of the business, the better they will be at creating content. No one is winning unless everyone is winning.

I’ve worked with a lot of salespeople in my career and Jacs is as authentic as it gets. She knows everyone in the industry and everyone that knows her loves her. I’ve never met anyone so commercially savvy but also so empathetic, excellent at managing people and building relationships.

I’ve learnt so much from Jacs and continue to be wowed by her every day. The thing about Jacs is she has no ego. What she has done for Urban List over the past three years has been remarkable; she just takes it all in her stride.

We have an all-female exec team at Urban List and I think we both realise how lucky we are to be in this privileged position. We have a running joke in our exec team that Jacs is good at everything she does – piano, netball, tennis – you name it, she can do it – but everything she touches truly does turn to gold.

Jacs and I both have two kids around the same age so she really understands the work/home juggle and how hard it is sometimes. We lean on each other to get us through the tough times. She is proof you can have a big and ambitious work life, a thriving family and a very social personal life and her doing it gives me the confidence that I can do it too.

We have a lot of fun together – I have had more dinners and drinks and general hilarity with Jacs than I can remember. I love her energy – she always brings great vibes and can go from closing deals to drinking martinis in 5 minutes flat (maybe she has even closed deals while drinking martinis before?)

She shows that you can kill it at work and still have a lot of fun.

Jacqui La’Brooy:

I was lucky enough to meet Tessy in real life in the first week that I started at Urban List. That sounds crazy, but Tess and I live on opposite sides of the country. I’m in Sydney, and she’s in Perth, so it’s always precious time when we are IRL and not conversing over a Google hangout!

Urban List were presenting partners of an epic festival called Can’t Do Tomorrow, Melbourne’s first street art and culture festival. A crew of us from all over Australia and NZ got together to entertain clients and support the team on a few panels they were speaking on. I met Tessy there, she was wearing a sick pair of Golden Gooses, and I knew just instantly that our head of content was someone I wanted to get to know better.

Tess is a veteran at Urban List, a loyal MVP that had been here 5 years before I started. I was in awe of her smarts, and her cool and collected nature, I remember sitting in those first few weeks of meetings just being wowed by how much she knew, she had this gig down pat and I have so much respect for the team she has built, and the powerful and clever strategy behind the content that they churn out every single day. (30,000 recommendations per hour, by the way!)

Tessy’s superpower is her ability to lead with clarity and accountability. She is always the most prepared in any room, and you walk away knowing exactly what needs to be done. I’ve learned a lot from her style of managing, and her tenacity for smashing KPIs is something I truly admire.

In my past roles at media publishers, content and commercial have always been church and state, it’s the nature of what we do. Cutting through this barrier, and collaborating has been easy with Tess, she is the most commercially minded head of content I have ever worked with, and she has helped nurture her team into adopting the same mindset that in turn has accelerated the gains that we have seen commercially. We both know why it’s so important that each team sees the value one another creates, as we would be nowhere without each other! Something magical happens when content and commercial truly collaborate, and we have reached that holy grail.

Together, we’ve been able to grow the commercial value of our content, and 2 of the biggest teams at Urban List to deliver incredible results. We are continually evolving the way both our teams work together, and we both push each other to step outside of our comfort zones to grow both personally, and professionally.

Tessa on Jacqui:

Most memorable moment with Jacqui: Camp U:L last August in Sydney sticks out for me because it was the first time in U:L’s history that we were all together and I think we were just both on this huge high for three days straight.

We also co-presented U:L’s Upfronts in Perth last year which I loved and we have had some very memorable strategy planning trips across Australia.

Also shout-out to our incredible karaoke performance of Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas Is You at some random pub in Melbourne last December!

Best word to describe Jacqui: Impressive

Most annoying or endearing behaviour Jacqui has: I would say this is more endearing than annoying – haha – she loves a singalong (preferably 90s ballads). She can add remembering obscure lyrics to her repertoire. What can I say, she loves a good time.

Jacqui on Tessa: 

Most memorable moment with Tessa: I get so excited whenever I get the chance to hang with Tessy in real life, which is usually at least 5 times a year across the different cities that we operate in.

We drink way too many martinis and eat at the best restaurants our locals have to offer—fun fact, Tess actually has a second stomach, purely for bread.

My most memorable however would be presenting our annual Upfronts together in Perth. It felt like a truly collaborative moment, the two of us presenting together felt electric and I’m so grateful that she was a part of that.

Best word to describe Tessa: Passionate

Most annoying or endearing behaviour Tessa has: Endearing but also annoying because it makes me feel really unread. She is a bookworm!! And has literally read a million more books than me.

She also does a mean backflip, which is pretty cool.

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


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