Joanna Lawrence is MD, Strategy & Client Development, Telegraph Media Group. In career spanning two decades, she joined The Telegraph in 2017 from OMD EMEA, where she spent 11 years, leaving as Chief Content Officer.
Who is your media hero?
There’s so many heroes over the years that have taught, challenged and motivated me.
Two heroes who I loved working with at important points in my own career are Louise Johnson at Fuse and Laura Fenton at OMD UK. They are both super smart, have boundless energy, determination and focus and are a total pleasure to work with for colleagues, partners and clients alike.
It’s brilliant to see them both now be CEOs of their respective agencies.
But my media hero for creating agenda-setting journalism is Anna Kessel, Telegraph Women’s Sport Editor.
What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?
Anna launched Telegraph Women’s Sport two years ago with the ambition of rewriting the script on sports coverage. Since then, she has used this platform to relentlessly tackle issues that haven’t been written about before like sexism in professional sport, to campaign for positive change across the industry on subjects like sponsorship funding and told the rounded story of what it means to be a sports person, not just the glory moments.
It’s so much more than just getting parity of media coverage for female sports people.
How has her heroism helped drive media?
Media has to be about quality content that people want to spend time with and that creates a unique value. Anna has absolutely done that with Telegraph Women’s Sport. Across Print, Digital and Social, she has told new types of stories, in new ways, to new readers.
She has collaborated with major sports stars to shine a light on issues impacting sports such as training opportunities, body image, menstrual cycles, endometriosis, age and more. In addition to that, outside of the newsroom, and as a passionate sports fan herself, she is also really active in the industry, from the grass roots right to the top.
What are the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?
Bringing together the silos.
One of the most exciting things about working in media is the ongoing explosion of new techniques, skill sets and data to pore over. But making sense of it into a cohesive and focused communication strategy is more challenging.
We need more heroes to show how new ways of working across the widest range of media disciplines result in a positive business impact for brands that is greater than the sum of all the many parts.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in media?
To put myself out of my comfort zone by doing different types of roles throughout my career, rather than taking a more obvious linear path. Then applying those different experiences and skill sets to bring fresh perspectives to the work I do with clients and our team.
For all our talk of diversity in the industry, it can sometimes seem like the exception to move across departments, sectors or industries. To the question above, we’ll only need more of that in the future.