Permission to imagine

From study abroad to a global career

It’s not always that we take our Dad’s advice, but when Kendra Rogers was considering her options after high school in Canada, a pearl of wisdom from her Dad made a huge impact.

University is about learning how to learn,” he told her.

Kendra has carried this with her throughout her career, leading her to the role of Insight and Strategy Director at London based marketing consultancy agency, pslondon . But it hasn’t been a linear journey. In fact, it’s taken her around the world which she says has been pivotal in shaping her career, and who she is today.

From the Rockies to the escarpment

Kendra studied Communications at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. With a love of travel, she knew that an exchange program was always in her destiny.

“Australia seemed like the furthest and most geographically different place from my home. I chose to do my exchange at UOW because it had a great reputation in Communications, and as a university in general. Not to mention its enviable proximity to the beach, and how central it is for travel – just a quick train ride to Sydney but with the friendliness and charm you sometimes miss out on in the big city.”

During her study abroad program, Kendra lived at Marketview along with students from all over the world. She was able to travel and see parts of Australia she had dreamed of. She enrolled in classes that were different from the ones back home – commenting that she often references her “Happiness” and “Social Justice in Children’s Literature” classes to this day.

A squiggly path

Kendra says studying abroad was one of the best decisions she made at university acknowledging it profoundly built her sense of confidence and ignited her ambition to find answers to complex problems.

After creating some unforgettable memories in Australia and finishing her degree back in Calgary, Kendra embarked on a self-proclaimed “squiggly” path.

“I was studying for my LSATs (the law exam in North America) with the plan to go to law school, when I got a job at a marketing agency in Calgary. I intended for it to be a way to save money before training as a lawyer but I never left.”

Drawn to the dynamic environment of the marketing world, Kendra felt like she was finally in the right place.

Secret weapons

When asked how she progressed so quickly into a job that she didn’t know existed prior to entering the marketing world, Kendra shared her “secret weapons” that helped her get there.

  1. Replace “I don’t know” with “let me figure that out.”
  2. Offer value in every encounter. It will open doors and you will find people more willing to give help and guidance in return.
  3. Actively seek out mentors from a variety of industries. My mentors have helped me navigate job changes, negotiate salaries, practice huge pitches, and manage less-than-ideal situations with confidence and grace.
  4. Oh – and work hard, even when you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, you will figure it out along the way!

In her role as an Insight and Strategy Director, Kendra often reflects on her UOW study abroad experience and the importance of thinking outside your bubble.

“I engage with people from all over the world and I need to be able to speak and to understand different points of views and perspectives. My experiences around the world at university and throughout my travels have helped me to be more open-minded and respectful.”

Permission to imagine

In a time that is shaped by “unprecedented” experiences and “uncertainty,” Kendra shares how she combats these difficult times and how effective leadership can be the catalyst for change.

“In the face of uncertainty, the greatest tool we have is imagination. At psLondon, our FutureThinking Methodology is based on a report called the “Merlin Factor” that suggests true leadership shows up by taking a long-term view, imagining brave and bold new futures, and working with the team towards those futures.

“The most valuable skill you can cultivate is problem-solving. Things almost never go exactly according to plan, and that’s why I have always encouraged myself and my team to look for solutions. They don’t have to be perfect and there are often many potential avenues, but the act of coming up with a way to solve the challenges you’re faced with creates room for collaboration, growth, and new perspectives – and that is where the true value lies.”

As many businesses struggle to survive and scramble to adapt to the new normal, Kendra puts it simply.

London today, the future tomorrow

With the United Kingdom being heavily affected by COVID-19, Kendra says the sense of community online and through windows in London has been incredibly heart-warming. The pandemic has not only changed the way people interact and engage with one another, but has fundamentally changed one of the greatest and most complex cities on earth.

“Neighbours have become friends, and strangers have been helping each other get groceries. I think we’ve all had a lot more time to ourselves to reflect as well, and you see that in the interactions that people have on the streets – it does feel like London has changed, I think for the better.”

With signs thanking the National Health Service (NHS) and support of the Black Lives Matter movement from the windows of city apartments, perhaps with a little imagination and hard work, there are signs of a better world ahead.

Kendra Rogers
Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies, 2012