AdNews Industry Profile: Jane Combes
OMD Australia
23 November 2023

AdNews Industry Profiles take a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry. Original article posted by AdNews

Jane Combes, National Head of Strategic Investment and Partnerships at OMD Australia


Time in current role:

I’ve been at OMD for over six years now, and in my current role for eight months. I’ve been supported with great career growth at OMD, with three different roles and each giving me exposure to new and exciting opportunities. My current role is no exception, I’m really enjoying it.


How would you describe what the company does?

OMD works with amazing brands and we help connect them with consumers, to drive results. We expertly craft media campaigns via strong media partner collaboration, delivering innovative strategies, and executing plans. Of course, we have seamless media investment solutions at the heart.


What do I do day to day?

No day is the same for me and every day is interesting, which I love. I help to deliver strategic investment solutions for our clients, with our partners and OMD’s people. Ultimately a lot of what I do focusses on developing and fostering strong, collaborative and transparent relationships with our media partners. I really resonate with OMD’s Performance with Integrity ambition and the agency values – at the end of the day, we really strive to always get the best outcome not only for our clients, but for our media partners as well. Day to day, I find opportunities and bring them together with our clients’ brands but only where it makes sense, and where we can deliver an outcome. I always aim to challenge the status quo, nurture and develop our team and help drive our fun culture.


Define your job in one word:



I got into my industry because:

I was studying journalism at uni and not enjoying my second year. My flatmate at the time was studying advertising and everything she was doing looked interesting, whilst I wasn’t resonating with my course. I made the decision to transfer over to advertising and the rest is history. Straight out of uni I started working at ZenithMedia and haven’t looked back.


What’s the biggest industry wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?

The ability to think critically, problem solve and challenge the status quo – with the uptake of automation, and economic pressure on the industry, this needs to be a focus as we bring through the next generation of talent.

This is being driven at OMD by ensuring we retain a focus on our people – we’ve built a strong, very connected investment community and encourage everyone to interrogate, challenge and think critically to find solutions to problems. We believe in not being data driven but data fuelled, which is an important distinction. We also do this through fostering healthy debate, everyone is encouraged to have an opinion and to really think about the information in front of them. We’ve also tactically introduced an internal debating forum where we tackle relevant industry topics with all levels. Our ultimate aim is to upskill our omnichannel investment community and to future proof their careers. As part of this, we are aiming to lead the way in thought leadership and analysis of data – rather than just doing what the computer says.


Previous companies:

ZenithMedia, a short and fun stint at Opti before moving to the UK where I worked at Walker Media. Since returning to Australia, I have held positions at Mitchells, MediaCom and Carat prior to joining OMD.


Notable campaigns/initiatives:

When I first joined OMD I worked with team Telstra and had the opportunity to work on some amazing campaigns including relaunching the Telstra brand. Apple has been great fun – particularly their Apple TV+ launch in the Australian market, and countless films for Sony Pictures where I’ve supported the team with negotiations and partnerships.

I also loved working on Marks & Spencer in the UK. Working with NRMA at the start of my career was exceptional, as was my foray into an election with some ALP advertising – there’s nothing quite like working as a TV and print buyer during a federal election campaign.


Who has been a great mentor to you?

I really believe if you’re open to it, there’s a learning in every interaction you have – whether that’s with the assistant on your team, with a media partner, or with the CMO or CEO of a business. If you take the time to really listen, you can learn. People can add as much value to your perspective as you allow them to.

I’ve come across some fantastic minds and characters throughout my career. Most recently I am learning a lot from Marelle Salib (OMD’s Chief Investment Officer) who is doing an exceptional job leading and following through on our investment vision.

I thoroughly enjoy the debates I have with Genelle Sharples at Telstra as we enter into any negotiations season – she keeps me on my toes at all times in a constructive, mutually respectful way and every year she teaches me something new.

My boss in the UK taught me that being direct with your staff is a good thing – we always knew where we stood, good or bad, but it’s all in the delivery. I learnt boundaries from a number of people and experiences. I learnt how to build and foster a high performing team from others as well. I think making mistakes, and seeing others make mistakes and move forward to find better solutions, has also helped me grow.


Words of advice:

Make sure you enjoy what you do, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. Also, surround yourself with people you like working with and remember you’re only as good as your team.


If I wasn’t doing this for a living:

I always wanted to run a café by the beach. I think more so I could spend my days on the beach drinking coffee than anything else.


My philosophy is:

I’ve learnt, somewhat the hard way, that you really only get one chance at this life. Do everything you can to enjoy it. Make the most of it. Appreciate the good people around you. If it brings you joy, go for it.


My favourite advert is:

I can’t go past the Aussie cult classics but it’s too hard to choose one. I do love a bit of humour – AAMI’s Rhonda and Ketut, ‘Not happy Jan!’ from Yellow Pages, and Carlton Draught’s ‘It’s a big ad’.



  • Apple Music is getting a really good work out this year – I’m listening to a lot of music.
  • Audible so I can listen to fiction for escapism
  • Netflix, Disney, Stan and Apple TV+ of course.


In five years’ time I’ll be:

Enjoying life, critically thinking about my café on the beach maybe?

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