Hilary Badger has already been described as a “next-generation leader” by those at Ogilvy. She worked her way from copywriter to ECD, over a 10 year period. A significant climb up the ladder.
Her newest role, appointed to her at the beginning of this year, has already overseen significant achievements in producing content that has been loved by all. Although, this success shouldn’t come as a surprise to those of us who spent our childhoods in the library…
LBB> How did you get into advertising and what inspires you about it?
Hilary> I flirted with the idea of being a solicitor, but I realised at the end of law school that I was not up for thinking in such a dry and linear way, every day, forever. So, I took my love of words, conceptual thinking and making cogent arguments and dived into advertising. What I love about it is the inverse of what I dreaded about the law. In advertising, you’re always surrounded by creative people who share your love of novel, thrilling, paradigm-shifting ideas. Not briefcase-toting naysayers who spend their days dealing with the worst of human nature.
LBB> Who or what is your muse?
Hilary> Having had the privilege to work on some projects involving Aboriginal cultures, I’ve really been able to reflect on this country’s 70,000+ years of continuous human history. If that isn’t truly awe-inspiring, I don’t know what is. Then throw in Aboriginal cultures’ resilience, pride and courage over the last 200 or so years…that is a strength that makes anything I could ever experience disappear into insignificance.
LBB> What is your mantra/philosophy in life?
Hilary> In times of high drama, it’s hard to beat the stoic philosophers for tried-and-true wisdom. The idea that you can only control your own character and the way you treat others is very liberating. Worrying is pointless and futile; just do what you can control, which is to ensure you act with integrity. The stoics are also big on regularly musing on the certain death of your loved ones, to remind you to make every moment you have with them count. The whole “daily reflection on inevitable mortality” situation is a touch bleak for me – sorry stoics! But many of their other ideas I return to often.
LBB> Are there any social causes/projects that you are passionate about and would like to share about?
Hilary> Throughout my career, I have so often been the only woman in the room, invited to projects not for my ability but for “casting” or “optics”. That has literally been said to my face, without a trace of shame. These experiences are so infuriating, and I strongly feel no woman should ever be diminished this way. So, I am extremely invested in promoting women in creative industries, in correcting the diabolical lack of senior women and in showing other women coming up through the ranks that it’s not a foregone conclusion that leaders are men.
LBB> Could you share more about your passion for writing children’s books?
Hilary> As the daughter of two librarians, I feel this side hustle was in my genes. My most lasting childhood memories are of my dad reading aloud to me from a beanbag beside my bed (to be fair, it was the 80s). That undoubtedly gave me a lifelong love of words and stories. If I could create that for other people, that would be quite a legacy. My dad does not come with the deal, however. He is not for loan and is quite busy helping me care for my own two children these days.
LBB> What’s on your “bucket list” of dream things to do in life?
Hilary> Definitely go to Antarctica and see it before it melts. And ideally, make a contribution to the world that in some way arrests the climate crisis. Is that a dream, exactly? Or just a way of dealing with existential dread? Either way, it’s pretty high up on my bucket list.
LBB> What does your crystal ball say about 2023 and what you’ll be facing?
Hilary> Well, already I can see I will not be twiddling my thumbs in 2023. But however busy I am, my overall drive remains the same. How can I do justice to the opportunities I find myself presented with, creating the coolest ideas with the best results for the agency and our clients? And do it all in a way that’s ethical and humane to the people around me – colleagues, family, planet? So, you know, the small stuff.