Founder and Managing Director of Tsuki, Edweana Wenkart MBA BA, has more than fifteen years experience in marketing and communications, building sustainable brands and sales growth. Her client portfolio includes Australian and global brands such as Baz Luhrmann’s Bazmark Film, Volvo Car Australia, Q Station, Musica Viva, and Twentieth Century Fox; B2B clients such as Creative Instore Solutions, Sixty40 and. PumpTV; and industry organisations including SPAA and ASTRA. In the entertainment field, Edweana has worked with Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Isabel Lucas and has film production credits on Moulin Rouge, The Matrix and Australia.
Edweana celebrates a love of travel which has seen her live in Osaka, Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York. She currently resides in Sydney with her husband and daughter.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Positive, determined, energetic
What is your life motto? Happiness comes by focussing on what’s important. Look for the good in those around you.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? I’ve followed an untraditional career path. After graduating from the University of Sydney, with a BA double major in Japanese and Psychology, and spending my early twenties travelling and living in New York and Tokyo, I discovered the film industry. Originally pursuing a career as a feature film producer, I re-evaluated my career path when working on Moulin Rouge. I loved the film industry, the range of inspiring creative and technically proficient professionals I was able to work with. On Moulin Rouge I was in the fortunate position of assisting with unit publicity, which opened my pathway into public relations. Public relations enabled me to continue to work with the industry and people I loved, but without the grueling hours demanded by a film production schedule. This experience inspired my current career path which has evolved from former roles at The Coop marketing agency in Los Angeles and Becker Entertainment in Sydney.
In 2003, I founded Tsuki, whilst also embarking on an MBA from AGSM. Tsuki began as a film publicity agency and has since expanded into a public relations agency working across film, entertainment and lifestyle with clients including Volvo Car Australia, ASTRA (The Australian Subscription Television Radio Association) and 2K Games.
My career path evolved, it wasn’t something which I always knew I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to have my own business, but wasn’t sure what it would be. With regards to becoming successful, I guess it depends on how you measure success. I haven’t made it to the BRW top 200, but I have a gorgeous two year old, love my husband and am inspired by my team and the work we create with our clients. This brings happiness to my life and I think that makes me successful.
How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? Dreams are wonderful because they inspire you to create and then they adapt to become new dreams. So, I’m still pursuing new dreams every day and I hope that this continues throughout my life. With regards to investing time into my career – there’s an old saying that it takes about 10 years to master a skill and I think that’s about right. You may have started very young, without even realising, but there’s no substitute for determination, drive, persistence and a serious investment of time into something you love.
Describe how difficult the business really is? Public relations has low barriers for entry, but developing the skill set, intuition and knowledge base to strategically advise clients, develop cut through campaigns and produce positive results can’t be developed overnight. It’s a team effort, so I look to surround myself with people who complement my skill set whilst celebrating the same drive and vision to create something special. Like everything in life, you get out what you put in. I don’t think public relations is any harder or easier than any other business per se, it’s about your alignment, attitude and commitment to the profession, the work and the people.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? I realised early on in my career that it’s important to have the right team around you. As well as inspiring each other and sharing a united vision, a team is more powerful than an individual. It’s also important to understand your team and let everyone work to their strengths.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? I read this quote when I was younger, and it always stayed with me: ”Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” —Calvin Coolidge
In your mind, is formal training essential? Formal training, such as an MBA, provides a structure and framework to clearly communicate with corporate environments which is highly valuable, but it doesn’t necessarily make you smarter or more successful. Formal training, such as university, may also teach and inspire strategic thinking and equip students with a tool kit to make informed decisions. However, some educational institutions simply apply rote learning, so it really depends on the kind of training you receive and how it complements your existing influences and talents. I believe that exposure and connectivity, coupled with the ability to research and analytically deconstruct and reconstruct knowledge is powerful. There are two wonderful clips which illustrate my thoughts called WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson and Changing Education Paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Mentors are wonderful if they are connected to your experience and point in time. I had a mentor who was very helpful in focussing my attention on the financials of the business. However, when it came to resolving day-to-day issues, because his own professional experience was so removed from that of a small business, I was reliant on my own decision making process.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? It’s inspiring to seek knowledge about the career you are interested in pursuing. So, look at established professionals and understand their lifestyle, earning capability and level of happiness. Then decide if this career pathway matches the life you’d like for yourself. There’s also a globally renowned saying which rings true on every occasion “Just Do It”.
What kept you going when you felt like giving up? I’ve never felt like giving up, but I have felt like seeking a business partner on occasion. Usually blue sky thinking, exercise and an inspiring break is all that’s been needed to realign my passion and commitment. When I’ve hit hard times, it’s just made me more determined to focus on the important aspects of the business and to understand what I can do better to make it work more efficiently and successfully. What’s wonderful about business is that you always find new ways to improve – on a daily basis. I love the concept of the “sigmoid mindset” which suggests that the strategy is to jump off the about-to-decline sigmoid curve and land on the bottom of a new sigmoid curve on our way to increased success and exciting new pastures.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Luck is having the repertoire of knowledge, talent and awareness to ‘seize the moment’. I believe that there are many ‘lucky’ moments which may pass us by and then there are those which we recognise, capture and embrace which result in positive outcomes – sometimes referred to as luck. I do believe in following one’s intuition and trusting an informed gut instinct.
For more on Edweana Wenkart’s Tsuki go to: www.tsuki.com.au