From Graphic Designer to Sales and Marketing Leader: One Woman’s Inspiring Career Journey

Sascha Sinclair has worn many hats throughout her multifaceted career, gaining valuable experience across a range of industries and roles.

From graphic designer to head of sales and marketing, her career path exemplifies adaptability, passion and courage.

As she says, she wants to inspire others to drive their own path, move beyond job titles and bring value wherever there’s a need.

Getting her start in graphic design

Sascha began her career in graphic design, spending 10-15 years honing her skills at agencies and small businesses.

As she describes: “I spent the first 10 to 15 years working in a number of different agencies and small businesses – marketing companies, advertising agencies and local newspapers.”

After a family holiday in Canada, she took her career there for another 12 years justifying her original decision to study graphic design because she knew the skills would allow her to work anywhere in the world.

While in Canada she lived and worked in small tourist towns and larger cities, offering graphic design services for local businesses and marketing companies.

Making the pivot into management

This experience paved the way for her to return to Australia with a considerably enhanced skill set, where she made the pivot into design team management and marketing roles, first at a B2B agency
and then client-side in financial services, where she headed up a brand and design team.

“What I loved about that role was the opportunity to work on brands end-to-end, which gave me a chance to really develop their value proposition and engagement with customers, building advocacy
and driving repeat business,” she said.

“One of my key achievements was to bring the advertising function in-house, saving an annual budget of $250,000 on agency fees. It resulted in higher return on investment per campaign year on year across all channels. I also developed a team of inhouse creatives that leveraged off a deep knowledge of the business and its customers including writers, digital designers and graphics support.”

After 7 years in financial services, Sascha explored other industries to expand her perspective even more. She spent time in government and non-profit roles while also taking on freelance projects, giving her a valuable chance to experience different business models.

Systematiq: management to marketing

Eager to get back to the energy of a small business, Sascha joined Systematiq initially as a graphic design contractor. She quickly impressed the team and was brought on full-time as Brand and Marketing Manager, forming a new department of one.

In just a few short years at Systematiq, Sascha has already made a huge impact. She has contributed to the development of a creative services team supporting training and e-learning, bids and proposals, and marketing activities.

She not only expanded the Marketing function but has recently been elevated to the executive leadership team within Systematiq as head of sales and marketing. This is in recognition of her achievements and leadership ability. She developed the company’s brand personality and value proposition, by identifying key initiatives that sets Systematiq apart from its competitors: supporting women in STEM industries, providing ex Defence personnel with career transition pathways, and supporting supply chain SMEs.

One of her proudest achievements has been to host series of industry networking events that have supported an inclusive environment in what are considered very male-dominated industries and providing opportunities for women and men to connect off the golf course in meaningful ways with their industry networks.

“To hear feedback from colleagues, managers, and industry professionals that they feel this approach represents the working environment of the future, is really inspiring. It’s an example of, ‘if you build it, they will come,’ because it came from a hunch and has proved to be a successful model. And it’s established long term industry relationships.”

Elevating client success by providing enhanced support

Thanks to her vision, Systematiq now provides the following marketing services to amplify results for clients:

  • Brand Development: Aligning brand identity and value propositions with business strategy and objectives to distinguish from competitors
  • Marketing Strategy: Customized strategies and plans tied to client’s goals and budgets
  • Marketing Collateral: Brochures, videos, and other visually engaging assets
  • Media Planning: PR, events, and tailored industry outreach

According to Sascha, providing customers with our marketing services gives Systematiq a competitive edge.

She said, “It was an opportunity to fill a gap in the market. And enhance our ability to provide marketing services to our clients who are unfamiliar with the defence and rail markets.”

Marketing wins at ASDEFCON submissions

Sascha cited one such project as a significant milestone. It required creating a comprehensive marketing campaign aimed at bolstering a client's ASDEFCON Request for Tender (RFT) submission.

The campaign entailed a multifaceted approach, involving stakeholder and competitor analysis, a compelling value proposition, the crafting of key messages and win themes, as well as the strategic execution of marketing initiatives across various platforms, including social media, traditional media, event support and website content.

The outcome of this campaign? Highly impactful as it achieved key objectives, resulting in a noticeable increase in exposure and engagement across all marketing channels, and ultimately new business for our client.

Navigating defence: another key talent

Speaking specifically about Systematiq’s defence clients, Sascha says, “From my personal experience the value that Systematiq brings to the table is that we have a deep level of understanding across, not only the defence sector, but also the stages of the defence program life cycle which provides insight into the intricacies of project procurement.

“This particular industry has long lead times, and many variables, not to mention its own unique terminology which can be quite intimidating for SMEs or advanced manufacturers wishing to break into the sector.”

According to Sascha, Defence is looking for innovation and agility from local suppliers and manufacturers. She says, she enjoys bringing the two together to create opportunities for Systematiq’s clients, while contributing to an industry that is vibrant and cutting edge.

Key takeaways from Sascha’s career journey

Sascha credits supportive managers throughout her career who pushed her to “develop outside of a job description” and pursue her interests. This advice gave her the courage to continuously adapt, learn new skills and expand her capabilities.

“I’ve had some great mentors and role models along the way – managers who have encouraged me to see beyond my subject matter expertise and leverage this into leadership, which is one of the most challenging aspects of transitioning into management.

But once you let go of this, the opportunity to grow a team or capability in a business suddenly opens up because the gold comes from collaboration and seeking others’ knowledge and strength to achieve an outcome.”

Some key lessons that have fuelled Sascha's successful career evolution include:

  • Leveraging transferable skills across industries and roles
  • Pursuing lateral moves to expand your perspective
  • Finding managers who support growth by encouraging you to follow your interests
  • Not being afraid to pivot and reinvent yourself
  • Bringing passion and courage to every role
  • Looking for challenges outside your job description
  • Aligning your passions with the opportunity to do fulfilling work

Following a recent leadership restructure, Sascha’s marketing management role was expanded to include sales, which she believes will provide her with the insights she needs to better serve clients by integrating the sales and marketing teams.

Her varied career shows that adaptability, curiosity and passion are essential for success. While her experiences as a graphic designer, brand and marketing leader and now head of marketing and sales exemplify the power of embracing new challenges and opportunities.

Brydon Johnson, director strategy & projects and Sascha’s manager says, “Systematiq is proud to have such versatile and values-driven talent leading our marketing and sales team. Sascha’s career is an inspiration for all professionals aiming to do meaningful work they love.

“Systematiq’s recent leadership restructure delivered a well-earned promotion for Sascha and several other team members, demonstrating that we’re constantly seeking to exploit the best skills we have in our organisation, enabling our people to evolve and deliver their best.”

Balancing the virtual and the vibrant: Sascha outside the office

When the weekend rolls around, you’ll catch Sascha living her absolute best life on the Sunshine Coast, where she’s taken up residence amidst one and a half acres teeming with sub-tropical rainforest. She’s a green thumb with a penchant for gardening but is banned from solo trips to the nursery!

Sascha is also quite the water enthusiast. Whether she’s in it or on it, she’s in her element. After managing her role remotely through Covid, she was able to continue working flexibly, combining working from home and traveling regularly to touch base which she says is vital to maintain trust and a solid foundation with her team and colleagues.