Life as Media Director: (Part I Management) The Year I Evaluated Who I Really Was and What I Could Do

Long time no see everyone. I thought I'd finally get to a post that was long overdue. If you know anything about me, you'd know I...

Long time no see everyone. I thought I'd finally get to a post that was long overdue. If you know anything about me, you'd know I'm often very busy throughout the semester. Actually, I've actually built quite a name for myself as someone who's incredibly occupied all the time.
This year more than ever before, I've been working on many things. Not only do I study full time, I have two part time jobs, and have also been heavily involved in a project that I have mentioned on many occasions, known as Multicultural Week.

So what exactly is Multicultural Week? Most people have heard me refer to my involvement in a 'club' at university. It's not often a topic I elaborate all that much on, despite the fact that it's been an ongoing project that began during the latter half of 2014.

My role in the 'club' is a Media Director. There are two of us in a Board of Directors that organise events and the runnings of the club for the whole year. Multicultural Week is a department under UWA's International Student Services, which is under the Guild. Now that the technical aspects of my role are out of the way, let's get into the details of what I've been working on for the past year.

I feel that most uni students have a huge misconception of what clubs are like and what joining means. Yes there's social clubs, clubs with a cause, clubs that join people who have similar interests. But it's not as simple and joining and never putting your $5 membership fee to use (the best part is that MCW is actually a free club!!!). A crucial aspect of understanding these clubs is how much you care about them. For me, identifying with the values of the organisation is what keeps you there. Because it's not really just about the parties or hanging out. When you move into higher positions such as director, treasurer etc. there is a lot of work to get through to keep the club running.

Most people don't consider the work that goes into even small events such as a sausage sizzle or fundraiser. Who files for the permits and approvals for food to the council and the Guild? Who organises the equipment, food, utensils, stalls? And those posters letting you know there's a sausage sizzle, where do they come from? Most clubs are where you will find people that work for free as well :)

There are several aspects of my role that I'd like to mention as key learning outcomes from my experience as a Media Director;

1. Managing Professional Commitments and the Invaluable Process Of
Many might think that as a Director, it's easy to run and manage your duties. But the reality is that there will always be a thorough procedure for our work.
  • The first step is conceptualising a method of expressing our ideas(which I will discuss at length in the next two parts of this post)
  • Once we map out our plans and establish the projects we will be working on, we will either source people to help us or we will do it ourselves
  • We will share our ideas with other directors and management
  • We must receive approval
If one step does not go smoothly, we are back to the others so from getting to our ideas to the finished product can be quite delayed. Outside of posters, we design other promotional materials. We both divide the tasks among us. I'm excited to share with you today as an example of my commitments, the process of designing a committee polo.

The committee shirt has been one of the longer projects that has I've only recently completed. The design for the shirt was the most difficult aspect as it is quite an important piece that represents MCW at all our events. We also include sponsor logos on the shirt, so it is important that it accurately represents the values of our sponsors as well.

Although we design the shirt, we have a lot of stages before arriving at a finished product. A consensus is important when coming to a decision on what the final outcome will be. We have our Managing Director and ISS Director who know our brand and values the best and have a clear vision for how it needs to be represented. Marketing is responsible for our sponsors and Finance who needs to consider the costs of printing. Our brief included a polo design, with the sponsors and with this in mind we finally came to a consensus on the theme colours. Although our theme colour is green, many felt the green was too strong for a shirt. We used black and grey instead, the same colour as Lee.

The shirts usually had an image as the focal point, but I felt that we could incorporate the image in a different way. We went with Lee's face on one sleeve, and the MCW logo on the front chest with a large back graphic with the words "Multicultural Week 2015". We left more space for the sponsor logos and kept them in clear tiers. It is quite different to the previous years.

Most importantly, as evidenced by the polos, is that the commitments we have to sponsorships directly affect how we can actualise our ideas. I think that learning about this process, and having the experience of fulfilling these commitments on such a legitimate scale was one of the most enriching aspects of developing my self management.

2. Management of a Team
A large part of being a Media Director also includes coordinating our Media committee. We have a group of roughly ten people that we regularly meet up with. The behind-the-scenes of managing a team is probably the driest part of the job. It requires a lot of commitment and organisation.

On a typical week, Elaine and I will discuss what needs to be done, and then set some topics for discussion which will be drafted into an agenda. We do this almost every week before we meet with our team. We also write up a weekly report for the board so that everyone knows where we are at with our projects.

This semester we have attempted to communicate with our members in a more personalised manner, with smaller meetings and smaller group chats where we can have an active forum of discussion with faster replies. I have really enjoyed this style of management as I feel that we have increased our productivity as well as created a better work environment where our members feel a sense of value and reward for their work. We naturally have developed a stronger relationship with those choose to be more active with projects and our communication and ability to manage these projects has become much more sophisticated.

Being a team leader is often difficult and requires an unmatched level of investment into the cause. The reality is that everyone values the cause differently. I've learned to be very persistent with follow through and ensuring things can be completed. Although I have always been extremely self motivated, I realised that many people performed efficiently when being motivated by others. The most important thing I have done is accept this and taking responsibility for my duties.

I have learned that I cannot expect others to have an equal level of commitment and I cannot, as an individual, expect things to be done in the way, speed or method that I would imagine to do them. The best way to ensure that a mutually pleasing outcome can be produced is to communicate the expectations I have and create a dialogue between my team members as to whether my expectation is reasonable.

I think that I still have a lot to learn in this aspect. Everyone has such a vastly differing work ethic and I still find it difficult to manage a team using a standardised means. Throughout the year I have developed invaluable relationships through managing a team and I've experienced many different situations that have made me realise the importance of adapting to differences within team members.

3. Contingencies and Letting Go!
The final learning outcome I would like to touch on in regards to my evaluation of my management abilities relates to self management and how I've dealt with letting go.
It is quite possible that this is the most important learning outcome for me personally, as I've really understood what it means to be me. I'm a control freak because I'm a perfectionist. If I choose to complete something, I'm very much obsessed with creating THE perfect outcome. If I feel that I can't then I won't make any effort to involve myself.
It seems so simple but is one of my biggest challenges which is to move back and draw myself out of that abstraction. I've ended up getting involved with things that aren't related to my duties and I've also ended up messing up projects that were under my responsibilities.

No matter how much I know and how much I feel I can contribute, the reality is that it doesn't matter because it's not about what I want! That's the harsh reality is that the most difficult but most important learning outcome we need to achieve is adapting to others. It's about what the team or my boss wants. My job is to fulfil that. I need to accept that my personal opinion has limited bearing on the situation.

That was Part I of my three part series on Life as a Media Director. If you will stick around I can assure you the next parts will be much more fun! With many more interesting images to stimulate your mind and break up this wall of text. x

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