How I Got Here: Harris Galloway

What were you like as a kid, what were your interests? 

As a kid I was hyper-energetic – the running-on-the-back-of-the-couch type, which is a bit of a contrast to what I’m like now. I was always bouncing a ball of some variety – basketball, footy, hitting a cricket ball. As an only child, I grew up with just me in the house, so I had to learn to occupy myself. That sparked my love of reading – I would read anything and everything, which hasn’t really changed.

What do you think were your biggest influences?

My dad was a big influence, he was always introducing me to new things. He’s a muso, so there was always music in the house – Radiohead and Michael Jackson were big ones, and he took me to my first concert, Stevie Wonder. Dad also introduced me to the world of electronic music – a core memory is him playing Daft Punk to me in the car.

But I kind of developed my own taste and once I got to uni, it was pretty mind-blowing going to clubs and festivals to see DJs and electronic acts live.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When we left primary school, I remember we had to say what we wanted to be. I think I said I wanted to be like a Hamish and Andy-type radio host. 

But in high school, I had no idea… English and psychology were my two best subjects, so I started there.

What did you study at university? 

I chose to do an arts degree because I could do psychology and a few other things all at once.

I got to the end of second year and still didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Around that time I heard about the Master of Applied Psychology – a new degree for the students who liked psych, but didn’t want to be a clinician. It was all about using those skills in an industry context. 

How did you then get into agency work?

I took a gap year after my undergrad and worked full-time for 6 months at the local supermarket before travelling through Europe from July-November 2019. It was a jam-packed tour – 25 countries in 4 months. But it was really important to get away, because I was burning out and it gave me the chance to experience a lot of new cultures.

I came back and started my Masters – and then COVID hit. Studying online, I did subjects like Psychology of Advertising and Consumer Behaviour – all of this stuff that made me realise that that was really where I wanted to go after the course.

A really big drawcard was that there’s an internship built into the degree, so for a semester, you go out and do an industry placement – I landed at Keep Left for 7 weeks and never left. 

Tell us about your current role 

I started as a Junior Planner on the strategy team, and have just moved into a mid-weight Strategist role. I’m involved in brand, content, creative and comms planning.

A huge part of my role is developing audience personas for strategic work and new business proposals. It’s my job to get a handle on who we’re talking to, what their motivators and barriers are, and what really makes them tick – beyond just their demographics. 

What do you love about it?

I find developing insights for new business proposals really fun – it’s probably one of my favourite parts of the job, getting to learn about new and different categories and companies. 

What would you tell other people who may be in a course or career with no idea where it’ll lead them?

It’ll all work out in the end. Don’t worry too much about where you’ll end up, as long as you’re getting value out of what you’re doing now – meeting people, learning skills, opening doors.