Sophie Morgan-Short is a digital media dynamo working as a Paid Media Manager in London, England. Relocating from Australia three years ago, she splits her time between establishing a killer career in digital marketing and touring the European countryside.

From interning with the anti-gun lobby in Washington DC, to working with a start-up and relocating to the other side of the world, Sophie’s insights on following your nose and establishing an international career are not to be missed!

Sophie Morgan-Short


Madeleine:

Sophie Morgan-Short thanks so much for sharing your story with The Grapevine Club. Before we launch in, run us through the basics – where do you live and what do you do for a living?

Sophie:

Well I currently live in south-west London, near Wimbledon. I’m a Paid Media Manager at a top digital marketing agency in London. We run digital campaigns for a large number of clients across different industries.

Madeleine:

You are living the London dream! You’ve been there for three years now. Where were you based before you made the big move?

Sophie:

I was born in the US, and grew up in a few different places! My parents were in the military so we moved a lot. Besides Australia and the US, I also spent my childhood in Ireland and England. I went to high school and university in Brisbane, Australia though and that’s where my family are currently based.

Madeleine:

For people who aren’t familiar with the marketing and digital media space, can you give us a quick rundown on KAU Media and what you do there?

Sophie:

Basically we help our clients reach their customers digitally. A key part of that is advertising on search engines and social media, mostly Google and Facebook, but we also do things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which helps websites rank higher in search results.

We work with small to medium-sized businesses like dentists, lawyers, online education companies and e-commerce sites. We help get their services in front of people who need them, and convert those people into customers.

On the job in London

Madeleine:

It sounds like an interesting gig! Digital marketing is growing really quickly at the moment with our ever-changing technology. What does a normal day in the office look like for you?

Sophie:

My day to day job is managing the performance of our marketing campaigns – basically crunching all the numbers and working out if they’re performing or not, and if not – why and how to fix them.

While this does mean a lot of time sat at my computer, I also regularly have calls & meeting with clients, and sometimes training days at Google & Facebook HQ which is always fun!

Madeleine:

Was a career in digital media something that you always wanted to do?

Sophie:

I actually didn’t know this job existed when I was studying Communications and Arts at university! But I kept following the most interesting thing in front of me and ended up here. It’s a great job which blends creative & analytical skills, and digital media changes so quickly that there’s always something new to learn.

Madeleine:

I can imagine, I feel like I get new app updates for Facebook and Instagram every five minutes! Digital media is evolving all the time. What was your career path into this line of work?

Sophie:

I studied at the University of Queensland, and while I was studying there I started a marketing and communication internship with the Australian Cervical Council Foundation. It was a wonderful experience and opened my eyes to how writing & creative skills from my degree could be used in a business context.

From there I did more internships, and started a marketing role when I graduated. Since then I’ve specialised in digital performance marketing, which was always the most interesting area to me.

Reaching the Snowdon Summit in Wales

Madeleine:

Speaking of internships! What was it like interning for the anti-gun lobby in Washington DC?

Sophie:

That was one of the most interesting work environments I’ve been in, particularly as an outsider. Something that seems such a no-brainer for us Aussies is such a polarizing issue in the US. Being at the front line of an organisation trying to change hearts and minds was so rewarding, but not without its challenges.

While I was there I got to take notes during meetings with anti-gun violence think tanks, which was super interesting. I also did things like drafting emails to their supporter base and monitoring and reporting on media coverage about gun violence.

Madeleine:

Your first professional job in London was working in marketing for a start-up. There’s so much hype about start-ups these days, what was that experience like?

Sophie:

It was a learning curve for sure, but it was a great start to my career and taught me a lot. It was a global education & networking app for medical professionals, and a real career highlight for me was helping to build the user base to almost half a million members – that was quite exciting!

Working for a start-up was hard work and a big commitment, but it allowed me to gain experience in lots of different areas of the business and take on a lot of responsibility from the start.

Madeleine:

You were 21 when you left Australia and moved to London on your own. What has that experience been like? How have you found living away from home and having to establish yourself professionally overseas?

Sophie:

It’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done. I miss my family for sure, but it’s so worth it. London is the best city in the world, and there’s so much to do. Europe is on your doorstep!

In a professional capacity, it was absolutely terrifying to come over here and try to find a job with no local experience, but it ended up being not quite as scary as I’d thought and it was immensely gratifying when I achieved it. You can always find people willing to help you, whether friends of friends, uni or work contacts, or even recruiters! I hope that having overseas experience will set me up for an international career.

Taking in the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Madeleine:

There are so many other young women who want to work abroad so I’m sure they will find your journey inspiring! A big city like London never sleeps – what does work/life balance mean to you?

Sophie:

I’m definitely a work hard/play hard type of person, and there’s so much to do here. I get so much satisfaction out of my job, but I definitely need the evenings and weekends to let my hair down, or just have some chill time. You’ve got to have both! A great day for me is smashing out some deadlines in the office then going for dinner, drinks and dancing with my mates.

Madeleine:

What has your experience as a young woman in the workforce been like?

Sophie:

For the most part, I’ve been so lucky and privileged to have had supportive managers and mentors in my career who encouraged me and helped me to grow. In my industry being a young woman and somewhat of a digital native has worked in my favour.

But I’ve also had some negative experiences, and worked with people who have really knocked my confidence. Not everyone you work with is going to respect your time and effort. When you find yourself in those situations you’ve got to just put your head down and focus on doing your best work, so that when other opportunities come around you’re experienced and ready.

Madeleine:

Who are your professional role models?

Sophie:

I’d have to say my mum! She’s a doctor and works so hard, but also prioritizes her family and friends. She’s constantly seeking to learn something new and has worked in so many different types of medical roles, both in Australia and abroad. She has an amazing work ethic and commitment to work/life balance that I hope to emulate in my own career!

And also, I’d have to say Sheryl Sandberg. Lean In is one of the best books I’ve read in recent years (if you haven’t read it, go get it!). I have so much admiration for how much she’s accomplished in a tough, male-dominated environment.

Snowboarding in Hopfgarten im Brixental, Austria

Madeleine:

What advice would you give to other young women just starting out in their careers?

Sophie:

Focus on your short term goals and work really hard at whatever’s in front of you. Life changes so quickly, and your dreams do too. Not to say that you shouldn’t have long term goals – but just don’t let them limit you when other great opportunities pop up! If you follow your gut and do your best at whatever you’re doing right now, you can always look back and be proud of what you’ve done. And more than anything, being proud of your work will give you the confidence to get where you want to go.


My key takeaways from Sophie Morgan-Short:

  1. Follow your nose! Be open to new ideas and new skills set. If you experience something you love, learn more about it and be open to saying yes to new opportunities.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take the leap and move abroad. If working overseas is on your heart, then trust your gut and make the move. Establishing yourself professionally in a new country can be daunting, but it might be the best thing you ever do!
  3. Focus on your short term goals – don’t be so attached to your long-term goals that you forget to focus on what’s right in front of you. If you work hard and give it everything you’ve got, you’ll always look back and be proud of what you’ve achieved.

Thank you to Sophie for sharing her career story with us. Got a question for Soph about relocating overseas or life in marketing? Leave a comment below, or drop me a DM here. Keen to hear from more young professional women? Hear from ballerina Sophie Zoricic and journalist Harriet Tatham.

Until next time,
Madeleine Thornton