Human on the Inside with GrowGetters’ Tanya Garma

Podcast

We’re big believers in the power of human skills. But don’t just take our word for it – the evidence for excellence powered by human (‘soft’) skills is everywhere! In this engaging, ever-enlightening series, we speak with industry leaders, innovators and game-changers to learn a little about their personal career journeys, and how human-led strategies, philosophies and cultures are proving a force for good in their working worlds …

Welcome Tanya, and thanks for stepping into the #SuccessIsHuman Spotlight!

You’re an award-winning digital, brand & experience strategist, a writer and a podcaster with over 15 years working with some of the world’s leading organisations in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Germany. Currently you’re the Content Director at 19:13 – a boutique communications agency in Munich, Germany, but also the Co-Founder of GrowGetters – a weekly podcast and membership that focuses on skills of the future for women.

In 1 sentence (ok, we’ll give you 4), what do these epic roles entail?

At the very heart of all these hats I wear is people – putting people at the centre of the work I do is fundamental. Whether it’s resonating with customers through a mind-blowing brand experience, touching someone’s heart through a written piece, helping women learn through the medium of podcasting, or driving human connections via a club membership – it all comes down to moving people.

Your impressive career has involved an array of brand strategy, content design, ad strategy and media publishing experience both in-house and agency side. How does all this work speak to your personal purpose and what drives you as an individual?

Since I was a kid, I’ve loved creating stories, plays, magazines, even comic books. Creating is part of my DNA. With GrowGetters (together with my co-founder Tiffany Hart) I’ve found the perfect marriage of creativity and purpose. What intrinsically drives me is a vision for a world where there is diverse and equal representation of womxn* in decision-making positions. A world where womxn are paid equally to their male counterparts. A world where womxn are valued beyond the superficial. GrowGetters exists to future-proof womxn, because we believe that the more womxn in business and leadership there are, the better the world will be. To be able to apply my creative and strategic nous to a purpose bigger than me is super motivating and exciting!

*Womxn includes all trans, non-binary, and self-identified women.

Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

Haha great question! I absolutely LOVED high school. I had a passion for my chosen subjects, and I excelled. But when it came to university, I felt really out of place, and there were some subjects that I literally despised. The one awesome thing about my uni course, was it included one year of professional experience. I had the opportunity to work as a junior at a digital agency – just when the digital wave was rising high. This “digital” experience led to opportunities to work abroad in the UK, in my hometown Melbourne, Sydney, and back abroad to Germany. Whilst my degree was a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) I naturally gravitated towards a more creative route – working in digital marketing, advertising agencies, innovation and communication consultancies. I’ve learned so much more on the job than I ever did at uni – and I’ve kept picking up additional qualifications along the way in more future-forward fields such as Design Thinking and Growth Hacking. It’s super critical to keep yourself up-skilled to maintain relevance in such a competitive workforce we’re in. And now with so many brilliant digital tools at our disposal, you can make a splash professionally without spending a cent (you can start a podcast, a YouTube channel, be a content creator). By actively using these tools, you’re also teaching yourself many of the most in-demand skills employers are looking for today.

If you could share one piece of career advice to your 21 year old self it would be …

Listen to your heart and do more of what makes you happy. Take the risk, because it will pay off later!

Maximising the potential of individuals, communities and businesses through the power of human skills is the reason Maxme exists. Can you tell us a little about the role and / or value of human skills in your workplace right now?

I think human skills are absolutely fundamental no matter what industry you’re in. And as we enter into the age of automation (driven by AI and machine learning) human skills become more critical than ever before. Having the ability as a leader (or leader-in-the-making) to empathise, to negotiate, to listen, to learn, and to communicate is not only fabulous for cultivating a healthy workplace culture, it also provides a breeding ground for innovation and creative problem-solving. And organisations NEED to innovate in order to thrive and weather future storms (such as the pandemic we are in right now). The research shows, and I honestly believe it, that human skills are the foundation for innovation. At GrowGetters, we make it our imperative to teach womxn the skills of the future – and this of course includes human skills.

Self Awareness sets the critical foundation for all Maxme learning experiences. With that said … what’s your strongest trait / personal super power?

My personal superpower is the ability to analyse vast swathes of information and creatively distil it and communicate it in a way that resonates with people

And on the flip side, what’s one human / ‘soft’ skill you’ve had to really work on improving over the course of your career?

I am constantly learning and finetuning my skills in the art of negotiation – in all aspects of my life! Negotiating isn’t about getting what you want, it’s a way of communicating so that all parties feel heard and satisfied with the outcome. It takes listening, empathy, and effective communication.

If you could share one piece of career advice with recent Uni graduates or candidates keen to work at a company like 19:13 or GrowGetters, what would it be?

It really helps to go the extra mile, sometimes be a little creative. For example, sending an email with your CV/LinkedIn/personal website is fine. BUT you could take it a step further! You could create a video talking about what you love about the organisation and where you could fit in. You could attach a 1-page strategy of where you would love to add value. You could tee up a Zoom call and give your perspective on ways to connect with a Gen Z audience. Do your research into the organisation and clients/customers – and find a cool way to demonstrate how you can add value.

You’ve been granted approval to add one University graduate to your team, but have 100 applicants, all with outstanding academic results. How do you find your perfect candidate – what are you looking for?

I want to see passion! Is there a hobby or a cause that you are completely invested in? That you absolutely love? It can be something totally separate to the industry you’re looking to enter. The point is that it shows you have depth, that you care, that you are driven. Even better, is it something you can tangibly demonstrate? For example, do you have a website/YouTube channel/podcast about it? Have you explained it on your LinkedIn profile? Do you share content about it on TikTok or Instagram? I love seeing this kind of passion in young people, it’s very appealing to employers.

In the words of John Dewey, “education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.”
What’s next on your #learning agenda?

Great question!
The amazing thing about GrowGetters Club (the membership arm of GrowGetters) is our Peer2Peer learning approach – so all members actually teach each other their unique and specialist skills. This is so inspiring and fun, and it really sets the membership apart from others.

I also aim to keep up-skilling in areas that are in huge demand in my industry. So next up for me is:

This year:
Google #IamRemarkable Trainer (#IamRemarkable is an awesome Google initiative to raise diversity and female voices within organisations)
Certified Business Model You Trainer (this is a great tool to apply business model thinking to individuals – highly recommend reading the book!)

Next year:
Certified Design Thinking Coach (I already have the base qualification, and I’d like to step up into becoming a coach)
LEGO Serious Play Certified Facilitator (such a cool way to drive innovation within an organisation!!)