Jemma Wong

City: Melbourne

Business: Australian Football LeagueGirls Who Brand

What: Marketing Manager New Audience Lead for the AFL Women's. Creator of Girls Who Brand


What was the catalyst for you launching your business?

I’ve been in Marketing for over 9 years, specialising in the Australian Entertainment industry and over the past 16 months I’ve been fortunate to lead the marketing, strategy and brand work for AFL Women’s, the new national competition for women footballers.

I’ve always been curious and nurtured a disruptive spirit. Working on AFL Women’s has been a life and career highlight. I’ve had the opportunity to build the brand from scratch, work with talented female footballers and to work towards creating a positive female brand culture for the industry. The best part about AFLW (aside from seeing women smash ceilings on field) is seeing how it builds advocacy for not just women in sport, but for women in leadership (PREACH). This is something extremely close to my heart.

Everything happens for a reason. As serendipity would have it, it was while I was working on AFLW that I decided to create and launch Girls Who Brand – a network and community for young women in marketing to learn, disrupt the field, challenge one another and tear down the fear that’s circling in our industry. I’ve specifically created this for young women, entering the field, to help them accelerate their talents and to step into their confidence early on, rather than waiting for a senior title 10 years too late.

I’m so passionate and determined to give more women the credible platform to grow their profile and to break stereotypes of gender in marketing. I could really talk about this for hours!

What do you love most about what you do now?

Blending my creative and commercial talents to do something that has never been done before. Championing and sponsoring young women in the field and helping them own their careers. And seeing the impact AFLW is having on women and men, existing sports fans and new. It’s going to be a serious game changer.

Describe the biggest setback you faced when establishing your business? How did it affect you and how did you push through?

When building Girls Who brand, the biggest setback has been time – the gradual, daily slippage of time. Finding the hours in the day to compartmentalise my GWB work and my AFLW work and stay sane and able is a tricky juggling act. I can often fall into a guilt complex about it, but then I encourage myself to think about the end game not the short term outputs.

Everyone has days where they feel flat or uninspired - do you have any tricks or tactics for overcoming these feelings?

There are some days when you feel as if you’re pushing paper, running in circles, living off caffeine and putting out fires. Whenever I need to lift, I read over the inspired comments, messages and emails I’ve received from young women footballers or women in my GWB network. From Houston to Melbourne I can see the small impact I’m having on women in the field. There is also a quote that I live by, which I’ve saved as my phone screensaver. It reads ‘feel the fear and do it anyway‘, Because sometimes the inspiration we’re looking for can only come by our own steps and actions.

What has been your most effective marketing tactic or strategy?

Investing in content, quality distribution and good ambassadors – because when you break it down, marketing is all about connection and building meaning. Make sure your business stands for something of a higher order and people will gravitate towards that. Like the League!

Words of Wisdom / Personal Quote

You’re in this to change behaviour, to change the game, to change a generation of thinking. Shut down the small plays. Go big and keep at it.

And one of my favourites from Walter Lippman – ‘When all think alike, then no one is thinking‘.

Pitch, own and embrace your difference.