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Executive in Residence - Holly Kramer

From the Archive

News created: 21 Nov 2011

The Executive in Residence lecture series program is an initiative of the Department of Marketing and Management, with the purpose being to expose students to the real life industry experience of various business professionals. The lecture series highlights the many shifts and turns that can happen during a career path, with the hope that students will keep an open mind about their own career direction.

Holly Kramer is the Group General Manager, Homewares at Pacific Brands. She is a board member for The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, and a member of the Faculty of Business and Economics Industry Advisory Board. Holly came to Macquarie University to speak with our students about her marketing career, and to impart her knowledge from the lessons she has learnt in a career spanning 20 years.

Holly has a degree in Political Science from Yale University, and after graduation began working in the non-for-profit sector. It was during this time, she decided to enter the business industry with a goal of working overseas at some point. Holly went on to obtain an MBA from Georgetown University and upon graduating began her business career working for Ford.

Holly's first piece of advice to our students:

  • be open to opportunities - as these can take you in different directions than what you had initially planned.

For Holly, this was the opportunity to leave the United States and work overseas in Australia as the Head of Marketing for Ford. Following her tenure, Holly moved into the dot com industry and worked for E-Corp for several years. Following her success at E-Corp, Holly was headhunted by Telstra, where she would eventually become Chief of Marketing for both consumer and retail divisions. After 10 years of service with Telstra that Holly knew it was time for a change. Her advice:

  • "Do the hard yards." She spoke to students about the importance of doing a good job and by working hard, you will create opportunities to further your career.
  • There is no one right path - have confidence in yourself, even if it means you may take a wrong turn.
  • Take calculated risks, and enjoy the job that you do.

Her passion was to move into a managerial based role and to essentially run a business. This is when she moved to her current role as the Group General Manager, Homewares at Pacific Brands.

Holly shared her own personal case studies of marketing campaigns that had both succeeded and failed to hit the mark with the consumers. For young marketer's, her advice was:

  • Go the extra mile for your customers, don't assume you know what they want
  • Do your market research
  • Think about your return on investment when devising marketing campaigns
  • If working in product marketing - use your own products
  • Remember your attention to detail and remember the 4 P's (product, price, place and promotion) when it's time to launch your product or service
  • Be mindful of the total business and think in a broader context. As a marketer, you are part of the bigger business puzzle
  • Finally, she spoke about the importance of staying close to the market. This can happen by talking to your company's sales people and those who have direct interaction with the end consumer
Holly also shared some general business advice such as respecting those you work with and the importance of networking by continuing to build professional contacts. For our soon-to-be graduates, Holly suggested:
  • Be well prepared for your job interview
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Work in an industry that interests you
  • Be prepared to get your hands dirty (especially if you are just starting out)
  • Go the extra mile to make connections and make the effort to stay in touch.

We thank Holly for her invaluable advice and for being part of our Executive in Residence lecture series.

Listen to Holly's lecture in its entirety below.


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