In this careers feature, Liz Foster asks the question, with the number of corporate marketing roles shrinking as you climb the ladder, where do all the brand managers go?


Kerri Rodley, business owner Domestic Downsizing – Declutter and Design (professional organising business based in Brisbane).

When and where did you work in marketing?

I started in 1991 as marketing assistant straight out of uni in Sydney at a seed company. I then worked in various marketing roles in the agricultural industry for 10 years around Australia, finishing at the Woolmark Company working on the Sydney Olympic Games uniforms! I then changed industries to tourism and worked within that industry in Australia and US for another 10 years with my last role being advertising manager for ACT Tourism (if you can succeed in marketing Canberra as a holiday destination, you can pretty much market anything!)

Highest marketing level reached? 

Marketing manager of a marketing consultancy.

What do you do now? 

I own a professional organising business. I help people to declutter, get organised and do interior design.

Did you choose your path or did it choose you? 

It chose me. When I first moved to Brisbane I was still looking for a new marketing role in tourism. With the GFC it became a lot harder to get those key roles, so I thought I would start a business part-time and keep looking for a marketing role. It is impossible to start a business part-time so it quickly became my full time occupation!

What’s the most important skill that you’ve taken from your marketing days? 

Writing and design skills. Low cost marketing strategies. Also knowing how to write a marketing plan was a bonus but do you know how hard it is to write one for yourself? 

If you had your time again, would you climb the corporate marketing ladder? 

No, although I did enjoy the journey, I think 20 years was enough and I got as high as I wanted in the corporate world. I didn’t want to go any higher in my last role as the positions above me became more about making the Minister look good rather than marketing the product.

What were the best and worst parts of your role as BM?

Using your creative juices! I loved the brainstorming sessions. Thinking of creative ways to promote the same thing year after year was a challenge but fun. Working with advertising agencies and media buyers was a great perk too.

What career tips would you offer an aspirant or current BM?

Put yourself out there and form relationships with others that will help you up the ladder. Don’t be afraid to speak up, no matter how far out your idea. Better to be seen as an innovator rather than a follower in this game.

Now that youve left the world of brand management, are you satisfied with your current role? If not, what are your future career aspirations?

Yes, very satisfied. My learning curve in starting a new business is higher than in the last 10 years of my corporate jobs. I get to wear 10 hats and all responsibility for my business and my clients falls on my shoulders. And funnily enough, I have much less stress as I am in control and only have myself to answer to. My future career aspirations are to create a passive income stream through my writing or selling organising products online that still leave me time to deal with clients hands-on.