Montarna McDonald | Who's Your

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Montarna McDonald

Founder and Director of The Audience Agency
Montarna McDonald is the founder and director of The Audience Agency, an innovative communications firm based in Sydney. A dedicated player in the competitive PR industry, Montarna began her career while still at University, landing a highly sought after role in fashion marketing on completion of her degree. When other brands began calling, she knew it was time to start her own dynamic agency. Well-travelled, fashionable and with a fast-growing client list, Montarna and The Audience Agency are ones to watch.

Home is… Sydney, Australia

What do you do? Director of The Audience Agency

Current it-bag of choice and your must-have handbag essentials?
I’ve had my eye on the Saint Laurent Sac du Jour black suede tote. It’s sleek, classy, no frills, not quite all-business but certainly not a party bag either. This would be the bag that would see me from AM to PM. My daily handbag essentials include the iPhone, iPad, Hermes notebook, ball point pen, VOSS water, metal teasing comb, Tom Ford lip gloss, Eclipse mints, JSHealth bliss ball (as a back-up snack on the go) and a Lucky You Cleanse Spicy Lemonade juice.

Favourite hour of the day and why?
8am. Every morning I sit down with my team and a white board and we outline our strategy for the day. It’s a great team building exercise as well as keeping us all on track.

What are you reading?
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso (founder of Nasty Gal) and The Clean Life by Australian wellness expert Jessica Sepel.

On highest rotation in your wardrobe?
The Aje ‘Johnson leather jacket’ in Olive.

The strangest thing you’ve had to do for your job?
PR involves all sorts of interesting ‘outside of the box’ tasks. I’m doing strange things 24/7 – especially as The Audience Agency focuses on creative activations and strategies rather than traditional PR. A typical day can see me up at 5am to visit the flower markets ahead of a client event, and close the afternoon sitting round a boardroom table with investors thrashing out a communications strategy.

You’ve recently started your own PR and Marketing agency, The Audience Agency – congratulations! What are your top three tips for young entrepreneurs?
-Think long and hard about your potential business; you must be confident that you can do the job brilliantly, and that it’s a role that will challenge you for years to come. Starting a business is a huge commitment and one that can’t be taken lightly – this will become your life and you have to sacrifice holidays and down time to make it work in the early days. That said, if you are lucky enough like me to work in an industry that inspires you every day, it really doesn’t feel like work!

- Work hard, and when I say that I mean 24 hours, 7 days a week to ensure your clients are happy. You don’t get a second chance to make an amazing first impression with your opening portfolio of brands.

- No matter how busy you are and how much pressure you are under, always remember to be nice to those who help you with your new business. Send thank you flowers, write handwritten notes, and return favours. Great working relationships start this way.

Best piece of work advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s difficult to pinpoint one single piece of advice, as I’ve had the benefit of various business mentors in my career to date. One of the best moves for my business was the decision to work with a branding expert to develop The Audience Agency ethos ahead of launch. We devoted months to crafting the brand and its creative, which meant I could launch a professional agency that has a unique voice in the industry.

Style queens…and why?
-Kate Bosworth, so glossy and gorgeous, and always wearing designer with an edge.

-Stella McCartney, rocks her own creations in a perfectly effortless way. The queen of understated elegance.

-Kate Moss, do I even need to explain? She is just an incredible fashion icon who doesn’t wear trends, she creates them.”

How do you define luxury?
I’ll turn to Mr. Lagerfeld for this definition: “Luxury is the ease of a t-shirt in a very expensive dress.” Luxury for me is something that is the epitome of expert craftsmanship, which can be used/worn/enjoyed for life and not just one season.

What are your tips for looking chic while travelling for work?
Keep it simple and sophisticated. A neutral colour palette always works well, as bright colours can wash out the skin after a long flight. Plan your outfits and looks for when you arrive, taking in to account overseas temperatures and seasons.

I would never wear…
I never say never, as I like to be creative with my fashion choices!

Best place in Sydney for;

After work drinks?
The Paddington Inn – chilled, stylish, and dangerously close to my favourite designer stores.

The Parlour Room, Clovelly – a fabulous independent salon with fun interiors, signature nail colours and even a yummy lolly bar to tuck in to while your nails dry.

Finding the perfect home accessories?
Coco Republic in Alexandria. Incredible pieces from around the world.

Seafood platter?
Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach – a Sunday favourite for me and my girlfriends to debrief on the week.

  • Running your own agency is busy work - who’s your personal trainer that keeps your fitness on track?
  • Chris from 98 Riley St Gym is the best trainer in the biz and extremely motivating! I'm not normally a gym goer however Chris has been able to change my perception on exercising. The boutique feel he has created at the gym makes it a less daunting experience too.