Kristie Atkins

Kristie Atkins joined Village Roadshow at the start of 2018 as Managing Director in their global marketing solutions division after serving as Chief Commercial Officer for IPMG & PMP which merged to form the largest marketing services business in Australasia (now known as Ovato).

Prior to that, Kristie spent 12.5 years with Event Hospitality & Entertainment, ultimately becoming Group Sales Director responsible for leading brands including Event Cinemas, QT Hotels, Rydges Hotels & Resorts, Thredbo and the State Theatre.

She originally began her career as a radio journalist, current affairs presenter and Promotions Director, winning a national commercial radio award and establishing herself as a communications and business professional with infectious enthusiasm, broad, valuable networks and a dynamic leadership style.

Alongside her work, Kristie is a fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI), a Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) and a head judge of the Awards for Marketing Excellence. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), Executive Women Australia, Women on Boards, the Professional Communicators Network and Senior Women in Media and Marketing (SWIMM). She also mentors top graduating talent from Macquarie University and emerging marketers for AMI.

What boards do you currently sit on?

Kristie is an Independent Director on the board of Restaurant & Catering Industry Association Australia, is a member of the Foundation board of leading medical research institute HMRI and chairs the HMRI Sydney Foundation.

When and why did you decide to become a director?

As I broadened my network and moved into senior executive roles with greater exposure at the CEO / board level, I became more fascinated as to how and why some decisions were made and about what direction organisations take. Ultimately, I would love to carve out a career in this space, so I decided to start trying to take some steps towards that during my executive career.

What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?

I am enjoying the opportunity to deliver value and support the core goal of organisations that I am serving, mainly staying ahead of what’s driving industry change. In the disrupted marketplace, almost everyone is focused on delivering change / digital transformation, greater efficiencies and how they can be more agile. I would like to think those are some of the skills I bring. I am also increasing my board experience to hopefully open more future opportunities.

Touch on the challenges and hurdles that have presented themselves, either being on or getting onto a board and how you overcame them?

Seeking advice and support from people in your network with deep board and board recruitment experience is critical. The process of getting onto a board is substantially different to the recruitment process for executive roles. In switching to a role on a board, you also need to be ready to help set the strategic direction and then get out of the way so the executive team can deliver.

Are there any directors/leaders you look up to? Why?

I feel humbled to have an array of amazingly talented and extremely supportive people in my circle. I have been heavily encouraged not to doubt my age, gender or ability in carving out board opportunities. It is great to see many boards opening themselves up to new members that bring different skills and styles. Historically we all know that was often not the case.

Have you had mentors and sponsors and how have they helped you in your career?

I have developed out a network of which I am very proud. It is brimming with exceptional people that I feel like I am always learning from, can test new ideas with and seek advice when I need it. It is great to have a circle of people around you of different ages, experiences and backgrounds that bring different perspectives. Then I think we need to do the same for others. It’s why I try as much as I can to get involved in mentoring programs for emerging leaders and upcoming talent.

What is the diversity (gender & other) like on your boards? If you sit on a mix of diverse and non-diverse boards, what differences have you noticed?

There is a mix of men and women on the boards on which I serve. I think there is need on Australian boards for further cultural diversity, but that is a space where we also seem to be improving.

How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?

My role on the board of the Restaurant & Caterers Industry Association directly stemmed from an advertisement on WOB. Their requirement felt like a strong fit for me and I would not have been aware of the opportunity otherwise.

Any tips for women starting out in their career?

Build out your network, put your hand up to volunteer for projects that might be a little different to what you usually do, be happy to participate in meet and greets, good conversation and do some reading. You never know where the next big idea will come from, you’ll meet some amazing people and have some fun times along the way too.

Any other comments or insights?

It is great to see WOB becoming more prolific and to have an organisation directly driving diversity on boards and supporting new faces to get an opportunity.