This Woman’s Work: Lee Callagher, SBS Australia

Working women receive a slew of advice — lean in, lean out, be aggressive, but not too aggressive. We’re constantly inspired by the women who are paving the way and taking charge in the ever-evolving world of technology. Welcome to This Woman’s Work, a series highlighting how various women are advancing the tech industry, both professionally and personally.

This month, we’re chatting with Lee Callagher, National Digital Operations and Technology Manager at SBS Australia

Q: To start, can you tell us how you started your career in advertising? How did you get your start in programmatic, specifically?

A: I started as a media planner and buyer in New Zealand, working for TVNZ and booking commercials into a DOS system using function keys like “F1, F2”. Can you believe it?! I then moved to London and talked my way into the wonderful world of digital, where I started as an Account Executive. I worked my way up over five years, and during that time, entered the even more wonderful world of programmatic — working for AOL, who were launching their own DSP and SSP at the time.

Q: What makes you so passionate about this industry? What made you want to continue your career in this space?

A: It’s ever-changing and there is always something to learn. I never thought of myself as  a restless person, but I have quickly realized the reason why I love digital, and specifically programmatic, so much is because there is always something to learn.

Q: Now, tell us about SBS. What first attracted you to this company?

A: I was previously at The Guardian and found a real sense of pride working for a purpose-built organization. SBS represents that same passion for me. It’s at the forefront of on-demand content, and the service they provide to our multicultural society and community is so important for our country.

Q: What’s your journey been like at SBS thus far? What does your current role entail?

A: Honestly, I would not be where I am if not for my amazing co-workers, managers, and teams. Every person I have worked with has taught me, mentored me, and pushed me to succeed.

My current role involves leading SBS into the next commercial operation and technical evolution for their business.

Q: In the theme of teaching others, what advice would you give to other women hoping to progress at work? How can women across this industry climb the ranks, and what advice might you give to your younger self?

A: Don’t give up and don’t  get swept up in the small stuff. Focus on the business goals, or on your own success measures and KPIs, and aim for those. Having a good mentor really helps, too.

Regarding what I’d tell my younger self, I’d say don’t be so hard on yourself all of the time, and take risks while you are young.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you navigate it?

A: Being a working mother of two has been the biggest challenge, by far, in my career! It’s a constant struggle every day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Q: As a working mother, what are some personal goals of yours? What’s a skill you’re looking to master outside of the office?

A: At the moment, it’s a handstand and cartwheel to satisfy my four-year-old. Suffice to say, there is more practice needed…

Q: Best of luck with those cartwheels! We’ll end on a fun note: what movie title best describes your life right now?

A: Office Space. Though, COVID-19 has taken mine away.