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Career Confessions with Isabel Thomson-Officer, Manifest Melbourne

Tell us what you do in one sentence?

I manage my amazing team, send a tonne of Slack messages about anything and everything, juggle lots of weird hours with our other studios across the globe, oversee everything from client relations to new business, recruitment and more — because of all of this I drink A LOT of coffee!

Best day in the history of your career?

I’ve been fortunate to have a few best days in my career. Hearing that I’d got the job at Manifest back in 2019 in New York was pretty awesome and certainly up there. And I can’t forget the day Manifest Melbourne officially became a thing in December 2020, nor making our first hire only six months after opening. Other ‘best days’ include working on the world’s most expensive festival ticket campaign for Secret Solstice Festival in Iceland, and landing an exclusive for it with Time Magazine — that video and article is still my favourite piece of coverage! Interviewing the Black Eyed Peas was also pretty cool, as was covering Burning Man for back in 2015. That story ended up being in their top three most read pieces that week.

Worst day in the history of your career? Very early on in my career I accidentally used the ‘cc’ not ‘bcc’ button. It’s a mistake you will only ever make once! Thankfully it was only an internal email but I learnt my lesson the hard way.

What’s your professional motto?

Let’s remember it’s PR, not ER. Everyone needs to calm down.

And to quote Richard Branson, “Fun is one of the most important — and underrated — ingredients in any successful venture. If you're not having fun, then it's probably time to call it quits and try something else.” Amen to that.

What advice would you give your younger self, just starting out?

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

You’d be surprised by the number of senior people who are willing to lend you their time — you have to remember they were once in your shoes too. Lots of emails will go unanswered but be persistent, follow up, and don’t take rejection to heart.

About Isabel Thomson-Officer Isabel is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at Manifest Melbourne. Part of the award-winning Manifest Group, Isabel is a Melbourne OG, first joining the agency in New York, before heading back to her hometown to open Manifest’s first Australian outpost in December 2020. Having worked as a journalist and a publicist with early-stage startups through to billion dollar valuation companies in virtually every industry, Isabel is a jack of all comms trades with more than 10 years experience on both sides of the Pacific. Brands she's worked with include Logitech, Tommee Tippee, Pirate Life, Accolade Wines, MoVida, HelloFresh, Business Australia, Westpac,, Nine Digital and more. Isabel holds a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) from RMIT University and is due to graduate with an MBA from RMIT in mid 2022. About Manifest Group In a world defined by experiences, it’s not enough for brands to simply stand for something – they must stand up for it. We are a brand communications agency built for this new purpose-driven era. We are the world’s first global small agency. We love big strategy, big ideas, big data and big hearts. We are powered by creativity and pride ourselves on finding real solutions to real problems. We have offices in London, Manchester, New York, Stockholm & Melbourne and we complain about the weather in all of them. We love our work, we’re never boring and we always buy our round. Above all, we work hard and we’re nice to people.

Image by Kim Jane Photography.


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