Integral Ad Science’s SVP APAC Laura Quigley and country manager ANZ Jessica Miles talk about how an interview in an unassuming café in 2017 turned into a close professional and personal friendship that saw the pair make the most of an unplanned stopover in LA.
In Dynamic duos, Mumbrella each month asks two members of the same organisation with a professional and personal affiliation, to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly work-from-home world.
Laura Quigley: Jess and I first met at a café in Barangaroo, Australia. We were adding to our growing business, and Jess had applied for the sales director role. Within minutes of meeting her, I immediately knew she would be the right fit for the position and the excellent company culture we’d worked so hard building.
After five years, Jess and I still work together at Integral Ad Science and still passionately demonstrate the value of ad verification and media quality across the region. Jess has risen from strength to strength, and now she leads the ANZ team.
I admire that Jess is empowering future generations of women to one day step into her shoes. She is beyond-driven, a strategic innovator, a fantastic storyteller, and admired by her team, and her competitive nature is behind her success. Our rapport and relationship are built on mutual respect and healthy competition in raising the bar for ourselves and one another.
On a sunny day, early in 2017, I sat down at an unassuming café, unaware of the exciting journey I would embark on at IAS. On that day, I met an incredible team. One of those teams that oozed rapport and a formidable competitive spirit, and on that day, I also met a wonderful colleague and friend in Laura. We have worked together for five years, starting in the Sydney sales team. Laura’s drive and competitive spirit have always motivated me (and annoyed me if she beat me at whatever was worth competing for).
When I stepped into the country manager role, I knew I’d be set up for success with Laura, our fearless leader, at the helm for APAC. IAS APAC is known for our collaboration cross-country and our energy and enthusiasm, and this is all down to the fantastic culture that Laura has built.
I’ve watched her journey from Sydney to Singapore (in a senior regional role) and witnessed her take on risks that others would shy away from. She has conquered new markets and adapted to new cultures. I continue to be inspired by her hunger to be better and win more but still demonstrate genuine care and empathy for her team. She’s an authentic leader that I continue to learn from every day.
While some friendships dwindle with time apart, I feel that I’m working more closely with Laura than I ever have before. Even though COVID has impacted our ability to collaborate in person, the rapport, friendship, and understanding that we’ve built over the years have meant that we work stronger together today than ever before.
Laura on Jess:
Most memorable moment with Jess: There are so many fun memories; however, the one that trumps all is our NYC odyssey. Every year, IAS has a kick-off event in NYC, our headquarters, and Jess and I had the most fun exploring NYC together, like checking out underground clubs, attending basketball games, or ice-skating in Central Park, you name it. One year we got stuck in Los Angeles on a long layover, hired a sports car, and drove across the city.
Best word to describe Jess: Meticulous
Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: In 2017 Jess had only been in the business a few months, and she approached the leadership and asked if she could attend a course at Harvard to upskill.
Jess is constantly finding opportunities to upskill and reinvent herself. I admire her self-reflecting and striving to be a better version of herself. This quality is one of her most endearing qualities.
Jess on Laura:
Most memorable moment with Laura: I know this is a bit repetitive, but nothing demonstrates our relationship much more than running for a connecting flight at LAX, laden with bags and relatively messy. A flight that we subsequently missed. Pounding the LA pavements for a “cool” car first thing the next day and driving all over LA, hitting up the beaches, eating at the “hippest” restaurants, and then racing back to the airport to get home (we cut it fine!). Talk about making the absolute most of a situation! One particular event distilled the dynamic of our friendship. Laura was driving our Corvette (top-down, of course!) up to the Griffith Observatory, but we did not expect so much traffic or lack of parking, and time was not our friend. Laura dropped me off right at the top of the hill. I sprinted to the Observatory, snapped some fantastic shots as she made a loop around, and picked me up on the way back. Now, if that isn’t a partnership!?
Best word to describe Laura: Strategic
Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Laura is exceptionally confident, and I find that very endearing about her.
She is very skilled in her trade and knows what she wants. No matter who she is dealing with, whether C-suite or Associates, she asks questions and probes for answers unapologetically. This confidence in herself and her abilities has made her so successful and a perfect embodiment of solid female leadership.