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7 Questions on Leadership with Jake Hay


Name: Jake Hay


Title: Partner


Organisation: PopShorts


Jake Hay, a partner at PopShorts, has driven influencer marketing campaigns for top entertainment brands, garnering more than 40 industry awards and delivering billions of views on social media. As President of AAF Austin, he is a dedicated leader, fostering community growth while mentoring students from multiple colleges and inspiring the industry's future pioneers.


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!


I hope Jake's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Cheers,

Jonno White



1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


The most challenging aspect of leadership for me has been balancing the dual roles of visionary and executor. While it's critical to keep an eye on the long-term strategy and vision, the day-to-day operations require equal attention. This is especially true in the fast-paced environment of influencer marketing, where trends and algorithms change rapidly. The challenge is to not let the urgency of the "now" overshadow the importance of long-term planning and vice versa.


2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?


I started as an enthusiastic professional in the advertising industry with a penchant for digital trends and innovation. Through hard work and a relentless focus on delivering high-quality campaigns, I began to make a mark. The turning point was when I joined PopShorts. I realized that leadership isn't just about leading teams but also about guiding an entire organization toward a shared vision.


3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?


My day typically starts early with a quick review of my calendar and emails. I prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, making sure to allocate time for strategic planning. The workday is interspersed with client meetings, team check-ins, and business development activities. Given our client list, maintaining a high level of attention to detail is crucial. I also set aside time to engage with the Austin advertising community through AAF Austin. My evenings are often spent reading or networking, continually seeking opportunities for growth and learning.


4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?


One lesson that has recently resonated with me is the importance of adaptability. The digital landscape is ever-changing, and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. As a leader, I must be agile enough to pivot strategies swiftly and efficiently to stay ahead in this competitive industry.


5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?


The book "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek has had a profound impact on my leadership style. It reinforced the concept that leadership is not about being in charge but about taking care of those in your charge. This lesson has been particularly beneficial in building a cohesive team at PopShorts.


6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


Invest in relationships—both inside and outside your organization. Your network will be your greatest asset, providing diverse perspectives, mentorship opportunities, and the collaborative spirit needed for innovation and growth.


7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?


One story that stands out is our collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which earned us a Streamy Award for Social Impact. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in regions affected by conflict. Not only did we exceed our KPIs, but the campaign also had a real-world impact. This experience was a powerful reminder that our work can transcend beyond numbers and make a tangible impact on communities.

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