Locality's Ann Hailer Shares Her "Guide to Leadership" with Alliance for Women in Media

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Ann Hailer, President of Broadcast at Locality, recently delivered an impactful presentation and Q&A session on thriving in the dynamic media industry for members of the Alliance for Women in Media. With a remarkable 26-year journey at Locality, Ann's personal insights are invaluable for professionals seeking career advice. In this session, she highlighted key strategies, lessons, and pivotal career moves, which we've distilled into a three step "Guide to Leadership" to inspire media industry leaders, both current and aspiring.

A Guide to Leadership: Ann Hailer's Inspiring Career Journey

In the ever-evolving landscape of the media industry, career paths are no longer linear. Ann feels the best way to get ahead is to just get started. You’re building your personal brand right from the start, and the way you conduct yourself today and what you become known for, (i.e., being dependable, creative, empathetic, self-starter), is what stays with you as you evolve into tomorrow's leader. Ann has had a remarkable career journey, marked by her commitment to staying true to herself and her unwavering ambition for growth and excellence. Ann’s path is just one of a million ways a career can develop, but she feels some of the universal themes integral to her success have been in identifying opportunities, navigating transitions and challenges, and the power of networking and marketing oneself. Here, we delve into her personal guide to leadership, drawing inspiration from her career.

We are all constantly learning from each other. Find your champions and role models. Early in your career, you may get a lot of help from the people around you to learn how to drive success. As you grow and become a leader, those people and relationships will continue to do so. Be grateful and show gratitude to your champions! Build those relationships and trust, and help others learn and grow.

Look at the people ahead of you and picture yourself in those roles. Recognize what you like and what you don’t like, and model yourself based on that. A leader also needs their own personal trusted board of directors to lean on for ideas and different points of view. Raise your hand and voice your ideas, offer suggestions, and help solve problems. Be the person that people go to. You can be a leader in any role.

Some of the best advice Ann received was from a former boss who told her to read everything and sign up for every trade magazine she could. Ann followed the advice and learned that there is great value in becoming an expert in your field. Learn all the roles in your business and be curious about your customers. Be open to understanding the bigger picture. Leveraging these opportunities for growth, ultimately leads to a successful career.

Consider if you’re on the path to where you want to go. If not, how can you change it? One of Ann's strengths is her ability to navigate transitions and challenges. When offered different opportunities, Ann had to decide between staying and growing in a familiar position or moving on and redirecting – staying wasn’t always necessarily the safest choice.

It's very easy to fall into imposter syndrome and question whether you’re ready for the next step. Ann has learned at each level of her career that you’ll always be in “on-the-job training,” even as President of the company. There will be times when you’ll feel in over your skis and must make hard choices. Not every day is going to be running in strategic mode. There will be days when you’ll have to pivot to crisis mode. Those are the days when your team building pays off and you remember you’re not alone. You will depend on that personal board of directors to work through the inevitable challenges.

The key takeaway here is that you're never going to feel 100% ready for a new role. The job itself is the best teacher. Embrace it. Growth happens fast when you take advantage of opportunities and don't let fear stop you.

Take advantage of the resources available to you and the opportunities that present themselves. Keep raising your hand and put yourself in places that are outside of the normal trajectory of your business unit or group that you belong to. Take help when offered and help the next person behind you. Have empathy and remember that people rely on you, it feels good to help someone. Every interaction, whether with customers or partners, contributes to your network and resources for growth. It doesn't have to feel opportunistic and it’s good to be ambitious!

The digital age has brought the pressures of social media and the competition it fosters as you may see your peers moving ahead faster than you are. Ann's advice is to give yourself some grace. Everyone is on a unique path, and you should measure your success by your own goals that you set for yourself, not what others are doing. Always be true to yourself. That’s not to say that social media isn’t important, all platforms are a reflection of yourself. Use them to advocate forYou and build your personal brand. Maintain an active presence on LinkedIn, be visible and stay connected.

The Takeaway

When looking back on her 30 years in the media industry, the themes that kept repeating themselves to Ann were to be true to yourself, and that no matter what people try to say about matters of business, it is personal. Don’t let anyone degrade the effort, sacrifice, and passion you’ve put into your career by saying, “it’s just business, it’s not personal.” Ann’s story highlights that career decisions need to consider personal aspects. As a mom and a wife, she has had to weigh many of her decisions on the impact her choices would have on her family. Navigating these important personal aspects is integral to one's journey. Ann acknowledges that, given the chance, there are choices she would make differently, and it's a reminder that we can always do better.

Ann Hailer's career journey serves as an inspiration and a practical guide to leadership. Her experience at Locality showcases the importance of seizing opportunities, embracing change, and nurturing relationships. Aspiring leaders can learn from her example, making strides in their own careers while staying true to themselves. The path to leadership, as illuminated by Ann's personal journey, is a multifaceted adventure of growth, challenges, and networking that can lead to remarkable success.


About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes, and educates women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media. AWM harnesses the promise, passion, and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress. For more information, please visit allwomeninmedia.org or email info@allwomeninmedia.org.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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