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Kate Burn, Global Marketing and Communications at Shuttlerock LIVE

Corporate grad roles are not the only path available out of University. Kate shares her career story of how when applying for the often highly sought after grad roles in Auckland, her intuition kicked into gear and sent her down a completely different path. Now applying her talents in sunny Nelson for Shuttlerock, Kate could not be happier. Thanks for sharing, Kate.  

Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?

That’s a hard question… I talk to a lot of people on the computer! 

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

I love all the different responsibilities that my role entails. When it comes to day-to-day, most of my time is taken up with meetings, ideation+planning sessions, and ‘doing’. The doing part varies from running Virtual Creative Workshops for global advertisers and working on our marketing strategy for our recently launched Shuttlerock LIVE division. 

What are some of the common misconceptions about working in tech?

That everyone working in tech is either a developer, engineer or data scientist. There are so many non-technical roles available in areas such as marketing, operations and product design.

“..my idea of ‘working in tech’ was the tech-team at high-school that would fix things in the computer room.”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

Definitely not, my idea of ‘working in tech’ was the tech-team at high-school that would fix things in the computer room. That aside, growing up I never had a clear view of what my future would entail. I loved making things and thought I’d land within the creative industry - doing what, I had no clue!

“Upon returning to NZ, I started the graduate recruitment process for a couple of big corporate players (which we’re all brainwashed to think are the holy grail of grad employment).”

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Shuttlerock?

During the last year of my Commerce degree, I crossed paths with my (now) colleague who was presenting at an event on digital marketing. I remember being fascinated about the global vision he had in mind for the small team at Shuttlerock and I went up to him afterwards to pick his brain on what his job entailed. 

However, following that initial introduction, Shuttlerock remained off my radar for a couple of months. During that time, I was fortunate enough to be involved in an exchange program with Xiamen University in China to learn Mandarin - a language and culture I had always been interested in. 

Upon returning to NZ, I started the graduate recruitment process for a couple of big corporate players (which we’re all brainwashed to think are the holy grail of grad employment). 

Feeling very underwhelmed by the prospects in front of me, I reached out via LinkedIn to the Shuttlerocker I had met and asked if I could buy him a coffee and get his perspective. Long story short, one coffee led to a flight down to Nelson (a secret HQ I didn’t know existed) to meet with Shuttlerock’s CEO Jonny Hendriksen. 

The culture that Jonny was creating in Nelson aligned with my values and there was a natural opening for a role I was confident I could grow within. Plus, Jonny didn’t have to do a hard sell on the benefits of working in the beautiful Nelson/Tasman region. I moved down a week and a half later to join the team. 

Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like?

When I joined Shuttlerock there were only seven people in our Nelson office. For a good couple of months, I didn’t know exactly what my job entailed and I was definitely thrown into the deep end. Looking back, I’m so grateful that I did. That experience accelerated my growth, making me more rounded as a team member and individual. 

The nature of a tech startup is that it’s all hands on deck all the time, especially in the early days where there is always so much to get done. The cool part is that you get exposed to so many different areas of the business, so you definitely don’t feel siloed in what you’re doing. 

I distinctly remember receiving a phone call one Saturday morning, with Jonny asking me to fly to LA the next day to assist our North American team. That kind of thing is very true to ‘Shuttlerock’ style - you never quite know what opportunities are going to pop up, and I really thrive on that.

“You don’t have to be the smartest, most qualified, or experienced to do anything. You just have to be the one who wants it the most”

Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker? 

You don’t have to be the smartest, most qualified, or experienced to do anything. You just have to be the one who wants it the most. And listen to your gut, and what it’s telling you, because it’s usually right. 

Lastly, Shuttlerock continues to evolve.  What kind of candidates do you think Shuttlerock is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

2020 has thrown a few curve balls to the advertising industry this year. I think the biggest lesson we have learnt is the importance of staff that quickly adapt and role with these changes, because many of them will be lasting. 

It’s fair to say that speed is really important to us, with Shuttlerock’s culture built around positive people who are not afraid to roll their sleeves up and get the work done. We are constantly evolving, and finding new ways of doing things, so dedicated people with a self-starting attitude will always be sought out, regardless of their experience level. Also if you like a Dad-joke, don’t take yourself too seriously, and enjoy a good chuckle - you’ll fit right in.

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