Stephen Duke

Leading Marketing & Growth for Wayflyer, a global fintech.
Head of Marketing and Growth

How did you get here?

I sampled the whole buffet when I was in consulting. From automotive marketing strategies, to operational telco studies, to big bank transformations. I did a bit of everything and loved the variety. I always had the itch to join a startup, so after two years as a BA. I left McKinsey on secondment and joined LetsGetChecked - a seed stage health-tech startup with 30 people at the time. I really enjoyed the work at a startup and led LetsGetChecked’s marketing team, building out the function to drive customer acquisition. I left LetsGetChecked just after the Series B, when the team had grown to over 100. My next chapter was in Sydney, Australia. I was still obsessed with startups so decided I would go back and do it all over again. This time, I joined a fintech, Wayflyer, as their 10th employee and just before their seed round. In my role here, I was responsible for establishing the business in Australia and New Zealand, before moving into a global role as Head of Marketing & Growth.

What options were you considering?

I just wanted to work at a startup. Somewhere where I could get my hands dirty doing REAL stuff, not just advising others. My best advice if you’re looking to accelerate your career is to join a high growth company. The earlier the better. In these businesses, there are just so many opportunities to grow. If you do your job well, new doors will just open up for you. The business is growing, so there’s always new roles to be hired for - and it’s way easier to promote someone internally than to have to go out and find someone new.

How did you make the decision to take your current role?

This was an easy one for me. I knew the founder of the business (Aidan Corbett) quite well and really respected him as a leader and entrepreneur. He was also a McKinsey consultant so we work together quite well. I knew that I liked  early stage startups, the role had a big scope for ownership and impact, and because I trusted Aidan, I was able to outsource my evaluation of the business opportunity to him!

What are you doing now?

I'm currently the Head of Marketing and Growth at Wayflyer.

What does your day to day look like?

I’m responsible for two main things at Wayflyer. First, acquiring new customers. Second, building our brand. There’s lots that goes into achieving those two objectives, from our acquisition team, to product marketing, operations, brand and content teams, but ultimately, they all ladder up to achieving those two goals.

What do you love about your job?

This is easy. First, I love how easy it is to act on your ideas. There’s very little bureaucracy and everyone is biassed towards action. If I have a good idea, I can just go and run with it, I don’t need to wait for approval from someone else.

The second thing is the amount of new experiences I get to have here. We’re growing fast, and that means that we are always doing things that we’ve never done before. From managing global PR campaigns, to launching in new countries, to shooting massive brand campaigns. These have all been new experiences for me and I’ve learned so much from each of them. It’s a super fun part of the role.

What do you not love about your job?

The hardest thing about a high growth startup is managing priorities. There are so many new and exciting things happening each week. New products, new geos, new teammates. It’s a constant battle to keep track of everything and keep delivering on your objectives without getting distracted.

What advice would you give someone deciding what they should do?

Sounds cheesy… but just do something you’re genuinely interested in. If you’re interested in it, you’ll work hard at it and do a great job. If you do a great job, you’ll be rewarded and get exciting new opportunities. You can’t fake being genuinely interested in something. Now, how do you find out exactly what you’re interested in?? That’s a harder question and one for another day.

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