Modern technologies have created exciting new forms of entertainment for consumers, with innovations from the printing press to the internet forging more and more opportunities for women in the workforce.
Someone who has wholeheartedly embraced the excitement and start-up nature of innovative tech companies is Leanne Cartwright-Bradford, Country Manager at Audible.com.au. Audible, an Amazon company, was launched in Australia in 2014 and provides audiobooks and Audible Original podcasts to consumers.
“It’s always been important to me that I work on brands and products that I would happily use and pay for myself, and I’ve always been interested in entertainment,” Leanne says. “Audible allows people to listen to books at moments when they couldn’t read a book; in the car, on a crowded bus or when they are out for a run.”
Leanne explains that despite her love for reading and Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, she had no idea she would end up working for a spoken word entertainment company. “I didn’t even really know what there was out there to do,” Leanne says. “Audible combines my passions for literature and entertainment, while challenging me to tackle new problems while developing myself, my team and the business.”
Between leading the Audible business in Australia and raising two young boys, Leanne naturally finds it difficult to carve out time in her day to read. “When I’m deep into an audiobook I’m always desperate to find more time to listen”, Leanne explains. “Now my commute is my me-time, and I listen to it all – from business books like Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novels and time travel romance like Outlander.”
Leanne’s story is not unique, and explains why Audible.com.au customers listened to more than 50 million hours of audio content in 2018, and an impressive nearly three billion hours globally. As people get busier with the demands of their lives, it gets harder to dedicate chunks of time to read, learn or be entertained. Beyond this, there are many situations where our eyes are busy but our minds are free, explaining the growing shift towards audiobooks over traditional books.
Joining the business more than five years ago as Audible’s Marketing Director, Leanne recognised a promotion opportunity to Country Manager while on maternity leave. “I was successful and my manager, Matthew Gain, offered to undertake both my role and his while I finished my maternity leave which is pretty unheard of,” Leanne says. “Also, I suspect, while I was away, he had forgotten how annoying I can be. I think he remembers now.”
Along with these growth opportunities, it’s the people that have kept Leanne at Audible. “We hire people who are whip smart, passionate, comfortable dealing with ambiguity, and who truly love what they do,” Leanne says. “Our people keep me on my game every day, and no matter the problem, I’m always confident our team will find a solution for our customers.”
In line with Audible’s focus on its People Principles, Leanne is empowered to work with her team in Australia, the broader international team, and Audible’s agencies to always put people at the centre of everything they do. For Leanne, her day to day operations is measured not on the what but the how of her role.
“I’m in a unique position where 75% of my performance is focused on how much I activate caring. This means not just caring, but actively making a difference,” Leanne continues. “This empowers me to put my focus in the right place, firmly on my team and our customers. It’s everything from ensuring we are fostering new talent and contributing to greater representation of local voices, through to how we can drive flexibility in our workplace and adopt to our people’s needs.”
Leanne adds, “We also talk a lot about cake, our children and their inability to sleep throughout the night, Beyoncé, compost and recycling, and of course the latest podcasts and audiobooks.”
Leanne also credits the opportunities that come with being part of the Amazon ecosystem. “Working at Audible feels like a start-up, but with the backing of a huge brand,” Leanne shares. “We are empowered to fail fast and have the investment to be able to truly build awareness of audiobooks and work with some of Australia’s best talent.”
As a result of these freedoms, Leanne and her team launched Audible.com.au’s first Original Content program in 2019 as a commitment to investing in and creating compelling audiobooks and exclusive podcasts by Australia’s diverse creative community. This year Audible will release original content by Nikki Gemmell, Marc Fennell and other Australian creatives.
Currently listening to Zero Day Code by John Birmingham, narrated by Australian voice actor Rupert Degas, Leanne can support the product she believes in and tick another book off her “crazy long” wishlist while balancing the day-to-day load of being a working mum.
Get your first audiobook free with a 30-day trial at Audible.com.au. After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.