Career

Girl you need to know: Michelle Battersby, marketing director for Bumble APAC

Meet Australian Michelle Battersby, the ultimate brains + beauty combo who is helping dating app Bumble take this part of the world by storm.

Since landing the job of launching Bumble in Australia in 2016, she has taken the dating app from strength to strength. Now associate marketing director, she has overseen the launch of the brand in New Zealand, the Phillipines and Bali and will continue to oversee all expansion in the APAC region. This has taken hard work, some smart decision-making and hiring – but also a lot of gut instinct, something 28-year-old Michelle swears by.

Read on to find out how Michelle landed her dream job, what it’s really like to work for one of the world’s most exciting tech companies and what advice she’d give to others who want to walk in her shoes:


Full name, age, current location and hometown:
Michelle Battersby, 28, Sydney

What is your current job title?
Associate Marketing Director, APAC

What does a day a typical business day look like for you at Bumble?
One of the first things I do in the morning is jump on Slack and run through my emails to check what has happened overnight. Working in a global company means someone is always online to chat to! After I’ve caught up I try to get into work early. I like to arrive in the office before my team to get a head start on the day. After that, there is no such thing as a typical day! We are encouraged to be as innovative as possible at Bumble so no day is the same.


You started out initially in banking before moving to Bumble, can you explain to us your career path to date?
I studied a Bachelor of Arts and then did a Masters in HR. I worked in corporate banking for four years in HR business partner roles. I felt challenged, but I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing so I began to explore other options.

I was referred to Whitney Wolfe Herd (founder and CEO of Bumble) by a mutual friend. I quit my job the very day I spoke to Whitney for the first time on the phone. This conversation took place in the very early days of Bumble, and I was the first person employed in Australia. My role then was to essentially launch the brand and build the team, and it has grown and expanded in many ways since.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvDAjK8AKqo/

The launch of Bumble in Australia was a big task which would have been a huge responsibility for you. Can you tell us how that went – the challenges you faced, what you were most proud of, what you learned about yourself etc?
Hiring the team was one of the biggest challenges initially. It’s hard to believe today that some of the potential candidates I approached said no. Things certainly started to shift after the initial launch in March 2017!

The launch event itself was a huge challenge at the time; I was worried that no one was going to come. I had never planned an event and never studied marketing or PR. However, the opportunity to feel fear was very short lived. Things needed to move so quickly there was no time to second guess myself. The thing that kept me on track was the US team. I was fortunate to have a very supportive team behind me, willing me to succeed from the other side of the world. Our first event went off with a bang, and from that moment on it’s not showed any signs of slowing down.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwgKhY5gukq/

You’ve recruited quite a millennial team to help with marketing and research – how do you think this has played a part in the success of Bumble Australia?
With my limited marketing experience, I found what was guiding me was intuition and gut instinct. I realised that if you know the brand, have a great product and are part of the target demographic, it’s pretty straightforward what you need to do, a lot of it is common sense.

From the moment I started, I knew I was already too far removed from the university scene. I needed people who were more connected to that lifestyle than I was. I didn’t know where was cool anymore, what students on campus were spending their time talking about, or what it was like to date.

The difference between millennials and Gen Z is vast. Gen Z are so incredibly progressive in their thinking, they’re connected, well informed and open to new things – I’m unable to think like that because I am not one of them and you need people around who are the individuals you’re trying to target. Initially, it was a lot of millennials that I hired, now I am becoming more focused on Gen Z, diversity is key really!


What’s been your biggest ‘pinch me’ moment on your Bumble journey? I am trying to remember all the times I have cried of happiness.  I cried in the Birdcage at Melbourne Cup, just from taking a look around at who was there, what we had created, and all of the hype around Bumble. That feeling was insane.

I cried of happiness the first time I landed in the Philippines. I couldn’t believe I was a part of this. Thinking about how scared I was at the start, hoping this was going to work and be a good decision for me. I always knew it would be, but I was always only focused on Australia. To take a moment to reflect and think wow it worked. You launched it in Australia and New Zealand and now you have this task to launch Bumble in an Asian market. The weight of the brand, and the power the whole team have unlocked to spread our mission globally is surreal.


What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given throughout your career?
It is hard to choose just one but one is:

“You can have it all, but not all at once.”


Quitting your role to try out something completely new was a courageous act; when did you last act so fearlessly?
I feel I have to act fearlessly every day. Trusting your gut definitely requires you to have no fear.


Climbing the corporate ladder is no small feat. Do you believe working for Bumble – a company which strongly values female empowerment – was a factor in your success?
I think I owe everything to Bumble. I’m so grateful for the opportunities this role has given me.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bnxj3QghvaO/

Climbing the corporate ladder is no small feat. Do you believe working for Bumble – a company which strongly values female empowerment – was a factor in your success?
I think I owe everything to Bumble. I’m so grateful for the opportunities this role has given me.


You travel quite a lot with your role, namely to Bali and the Philippines. How do you manage to have a good work/life balance with your trips abroad?

I have a couple of rules that remind me to stay grounded and focus on myself when I need to. I am constantly in meetings, chatting to members of the team, attending events – talking, in general, is a huge part of my job.

Sometimes I need to put myself in situations where I can be quiet and have time for my own thoughts. I meditate every night, just for 10 minutes before bed. If I don’t do this, I have a much harder time switching off my mind. I also have a weekend rule, where I have to be back from work-related travel by the weekend at least for one day – it makes a huge difference and the benefits of having some time to myself far outweigh the rush of a quick in and out trip!


What are your travel essentials?

Lamer Eye Concentrate and Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Mask. Any kind of mask in general – Tatcha also does a great one. And of course, a good book!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsg5Cl2nR74/

Do you believe that there is a key to success that’s lead you to where you are today? What is it?

I’ve never shied away from a challenge, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. I have been in so many uncomfortable positions, things that scare the hell out of me but you have to do it. You also have to be okay with being putting your ego aside at times – I have chased people down the street to get a download and humiliated myself on endless occasions.

Whitney’s husband Michael challenged me to invite Usain Bolt (in person) into our marquee at Melbourne Cup – he said no (in person). YOLO!W


Out of Bumble Dating, Bumble Business and Bumble BFF – what is your favourite category and why?

This answer could change depending on my mood! The best thing about Bumble is it can evolve with you as you go through different life phases.

At the moment I love BFF because it’s hard to make friends as an adult. There’s a loneliness epidemic and there are more lonely young people than there are lonely people in their sixties. With the pressure of social media, you can often find yourself feeling isolated or alone, comparing yourself to others. BFF has a powerful message in all of that. It’s here to help you on your nights out, or nights in. Connecting with other women for friendship and support is a beautiful thing.


Who do you most admire in business?
Whitney is the ultimate game changer.


Do you have any advice for young women wanting to land a job in your industry?
When I was younger I only saw tech as engineering – which at the time honestly didn’t interest me. I am kicking myself now I didn’t study engineering, I wish I had done something more technical like that. I’m putting myself through a coding course this year out of curiosity. Tech is so much more than just coding though, which I think sometimes is overlooked. The tech industry includes communications, design, marketing and digital. If we can entice more women into tech from these angles, that will serve us well in the long run.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Blm9PA4BJfu/

Do you have any advice for young women wanting to land a job in your industry?
When I was younger I only saw tech as engineering – which at the time honestly didn’t interest me. I am kicking myself now I didn’t study engineering, I wish I had done something more technical like that. I’m putting myself through a coding course this year out of curiosity. Tech is so much more than just coding though, which I think sometimes is overlooked. The tech industry includes communications, design, marketing and digital. If we can entice more women into tech from these angles, that will serve us well in the long run.


What are your top 3 beauty items you can’t live without?
Benefit Brow Gel, NARS Laguna Bronzer (been my go-to for as long as time), Lamer Eye Concentrate. 


What is your go-to outfit for when you want to feel ‘pow’?
Skinny jeans, power shoulder blazer, heels.

What would you describe your style to be and how does this impact your confidence?  
My style has always been quite simple, I don’t try to overdo it because I don’t want to distract from my voice. I have never tried to stand out appearance wise.

I am 5’11 and I hated that for a long time because it did make me stand out. That may seem unbelievable given I post photos of myself regularly, however, its the truth! I get asked a lot if I modelled because of my height, but I never wanted to be a model because I didn’t want that attention.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnS9mBMB2se/

You’ve already achieved so much, what’s next for you?
I loved launching Bumble in Australia, I now feel so fortunate I have been able to do that three times over – soon to be a few more times too. The excitement of creativity, learning a new market, then watching the results and impact you’ve helped create is a thrill.

I will keep launching Bumble in new markets and spreading our mission far and wide for as long as possible. If that ever ends, I would love to do this for more new brands, assisting startups to launch into the Asia Pacific region. We shall see!


Photos: Instagram

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