Q&A with Comms Council boss Margaret Zabel

Margaret zabelIn a piece that first appeared in Encore, CEO of The Communications Council, Margaret Zabel, talks about a desire for a visionary political leader and her secret passion for architecture. 

Who is the most powerful person in Australian media and why?

At the moment, I would say our political leaders. How I wish it was a charismatic and authentic visionary but that seems to evade us.

What one medium could you not live without?

The internet.

Your one guilty media pleasure?

Fashion mags at the hairdressers.

The next big industry trend is…

God knows. The one thing that will prevail is great storytelling. I also believe
that people will look to companies and brands for greater meaning and utility 
in their lives.

If you weren’t doing this for a living what would you be doing?

I would still be attracted to creativity in some form. Architecture is a secret passion of mine although probably more like a job in my dreams. I was very influenced as a student by The Fountainhead – Howard Roark embodied creative idealism and passion at the time for me.

Your best piece of career advice…

“What are you afraid of?” So often our fears, which can be unconscious, get the better of us and hold us back. My fear was being afraid of not enjoying a ‘bigger’ job. I saw many before me stressed and doing things that did not appeal to me. A wise person suggested to make what I want of it. That helped reframe my aspirations.

If you could poach any one person who would it be?

Hugh Jackman… On a more serious note, I love working in great teams. There are so many people I have enjoyed working with and many more I would love to still. The best team members are egoless, innovative, can do (anything) and they make me laugh. Sense of humour is essential. I’d be happy to poach great team players that fit this description.

Would you recommend working in this industry to your kids?

Yes as an option – they need to find their own paths. My nine year old has already stated he would like to go to AWARD School.

What is your favourite Aussie ad?

Qantas “I still call Australia Home”. Australia is my adopted country and I have travelled many long hours on a plane to stay connected. It grounds me and makes me proud – it embodies why I am here.

 Margaret Zabel is CEO of the The Communications Council.

Encore issue 29This first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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