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Australia’s corporate titans reveal what they were doing at age 25

By Dana McCauley,

THEY’RE at the top, running multi-million dollar firms with thousands of employees. But everyone has to start somewhere.

One top executive got his lucky break dressing Kylie Minogue’s dancers.

THEY’RE at the top of their game, running multi-million dollar companies and managing large numbers of employees. But everyone had to start somewhere.

We asked Australia’s high-achieving corporate bosses what they were doing when they were 25-years-old — an age when many of us are still trying to work out what to do with our lives.

While some were already achieving far beyond their peers, others took a more colourful route to corporate success, proving that the road less travelled can take you beyond your wildest dreams.

Here’s what some of the finalists in the 2015 Executive of the Year Awards, which are being held in Melbourne tonight, were up to when they were 25.

The year was 1994 and the thought of running a media agency couldn’t have been further from Jason Dooris’ mind.

The 25-year-old Londoner had just returned home from travelling around the world and was on his last $500.

His parents, with good reason, told him it was time to get a job — and that there would be no more hand outs.

Through a friend, Jason got a job working at street designer market Hyper Hyper, where he spent most days sitting on a chair selling risqué club wear from a stall.

At this time, he was also sending out hundreds of CVs to the banks in the hope of getting a job (a la Gordon Gekko).

He did not get a single response.

He did, however, meet Kylie Minogue, who purchased several pairs of silver foil shorts — which Jason was wearing — for her touring band.

He began building relationships with various media types, as they often bought clothes from the stall for fashion shoots and music videos.

Jason was eventually offered an intern position by the newly launched FHM Magazine, at a time when men’s magazines were beginning to bloom.

He began dealing with advertising agencies on a daily basis and, a year later, was offered an entry level position at the prestigious London agency Ogilvy & Mather.

Although a marginally late starter, he was successful as Rookie of the Year and his career began to grow with a very healthy balance of luck and energy (and street smarts) in the corporate world.

Up until the time he was offered a position at FHM Magazine, Jason didn’t even know the media industry existed.

He often refers to this period as a time that taught him two things: Number one, you need to make your own luck. And number two, persistence and stamina will reward you.

Jason went on to survive the Bali bombing attack in 2002, when he was seriously injured (the blast partially severed his left knee, which has since been reconstructed), and lost his best friend.

Post Bali, Jason has ferocious focus on work life balance and people, with the philosophy that if you care about your people, they will care about you and the business.

Jason is a CEO of the Year finalist.

About Jason Dooris

I have created and designed marketing and growth strategies for some of the world’s recognisable brands including Amazon, Deloitte, Saatchi and Saatchi, Optus, Virgin Mobile, Big W, Woolworths Supermarkets, Dan Murphys, Nespresso and Landlease. I have also worked with many Government departments on culture change and identity branding.

I am passionate about people leadership and development - empowering and engaging large marketing and brand teams through coaching, training, and mentorship for performance excellence. I currently lead a global/remote team across multiple locations including Australia, Argentina, Hong Kong and China.

I have a proven history of achievement in delivering corporate growth plans, and successful marketing initiatives to stimulate revenue growth and outperform sales objectives and have strong digital technology capabilities in advertising, communications, social media, marketing, and creative agency management.

My career experience has enabled me to present and speak across numerous platforms and industries as a subject matter expert, namely: ABC News, Sunrise, for the Australian Government, IBM Annual Global Conference, Emirates Annual Conference, AMP Board, New York Art Directors Club, Media & Marketing Europe, Australian Financial Review, and Web Summit.

I also volunteer my time and give back to the community via Board and Committee memberships.

Some key achievements and skills:

Ø Exceptional abilities in the development/implementation of marketing and growth innovations, ensuring business sustainability and continuous growth while cultivating strategic partnerships.

Ø A high impact leader and influencer with proven expertise in directing/coordinating all top to bottom functions of marketing, media, data analytics, traditional, & digital creative campaigns, business processes and performance groups.

Ø Completed large scale advertising and marketing projects, managing the entire product lifecycle, including research, prototype development, manufacturing, sales, branding, and marketing.

Ø Outstanding business and financial acumen with a forward-looking approach and collaborative styles.

Ø Interpersonal dexterity and executive influencing skills to build and sustain strong and mutually beneficial professional relationships with key stakeholders, clients, and staff members.

My area of expertise includes Brand Awareness & Integration, New Business Development, Team Leadership & Direction, Public Speaking Abilities, Consultation Services, Growth Strategies Implementation, Commercial Business Acumen, Hard-Hitting Negotiations, Stakeholder Engagement, Course Marketing, Business Transformation, Marketing & Advertising, Product Development, Risk Mitigation, Advertising and Media Solutions.

Feel free to email me at or visit my personal website

“Its been an exciting first half!” Jason Dooris

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