A behind-the-scenes look at the people who make us great.
Welcome to the October edition of the Cogent Crew series, where every month we’re inviting you to get to know a little more about the people at Cogent.
This month Soph spoke to Courtney about living our values through marketing, projects that share our knowledge with the wider startup community, and why a beach and a winery are all she needs for a good weekend.
Name: Courtney Goes
Job: Head of Marketing & Brand
Time at Cogent: 3 years
What does your day-to-day look like? Run us through a typical day for you.
Cogent’s really supportive of flexible working, so I’ve always worked three days a week. Because of this and the pace we’re evolving, a typical day can be anything from being involved in the strategic priorities that the business has, to scheduling social media posts, editing blog content, drafting case studies, making website updates and organising events. It’s really varied.
Tell us how you got into marketing? Have you always been interested in it?
Looking back, since I was young I’ve always loved words, and been fascinated by human psychology. So I guess the elements were always there, but when I finished high school I took a two year gap year, because to be honest I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life work wise. What 17 year old really does? When I came back, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Business because it was so vague and generic that I figured it’d buy me a bit more time to decide and then pivot into something else.
Alas, marketing was one of the core subjects in that degree and I ended up loving it, and doing really well in it – double win! I also liked PR though, so did a double major in marketing and PR.
Towards the end of my studies I did a bunch of work experience, one stint of which was in fashion PR with a major Australian retailer, and that opened me up to fashion PR which I did not enjoy! I knew that industry wasn’t for me so I skewed away from PR and have been working in marketing for the past 12 years since then.
If you could be doing one other thing professionally, what would it be?
I’m someone who is interested in so many things. Back when I was in high school, I was far more creative than I am these days. I had an art teacher who said I’d be a great textile designer and had my artwork featured in an art gallery in Queensland, so I think if success was guaranteed then I’d be an artist.
That, or a travel blogger. I actually started a travel blog way back before blogs were even a thing, and before Facebook or Instagram existed! My brother, who’s a developer, set it up for me. I’ve always loved travelling and have visited over 50 countries since then, but it seems I was too early to the trend.
Above: Courtney downhill mountain biking on ‘Death Road’ (the most dangerous road in the world) in Bolivia.
Oh, where’s been your favourite country?
My favourite country I’ve ever visited was actually Bolivia. Not to live, but fantastic to visit. There was just so much diversity in terms of the landscape, climate, the people and so much to see and do. One day I was hiking a mountain with an ice pick at 5000m altitude, the next I was in a tiny boat down in the Amazon basin fishing for piranhas. It’s such a small, tiny country, but it blew my mind and I loved it.
Above: Courtney traveling with friends in the Amazon in Bolivia
Awesome. What kind of projects are you working on at the moment?
We have quite a few strategic initiatives going on at the moment for Cogent. We’ve just gone through an annual process of revisiting and refreshing our growth strategy and there are a few projects off the back of that which marketing is a really key part of. It’s a very values driven process, and this year we’re looking at how we can work with more businesses that are really aligned to our values. This means more businesses doing great work in the social and environmental impact space, like growing health startups, and businesses in renewable energy.
I also do a bit of work for a company that Cogent Ventures has invested in called Chargefox. They’re now Australia’s largest EV charging network and are real leaders in the clean tech space. The focus is on leaving the planet in a cleaner state for the next generation, so that’s a really interesting project.
Above: Courtney with the Chargefox team in front of an EV charger.
What’s been your favourite project so far?
That’s a tough one! I think one of my favourites has been the series of free masterclasses we ran for Melbourne startup founders, which was funded by LaunchVic. From a marketing perspective, we were starting from scratch – we had an audience of zero in that startup space, so there was a lot of strategic thinking around how to attract founders who were going to get value out of what we’re teaching them. By the end we had over 400 startup founders go through the program and built a really robust audience we now have relationships with.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Cogent?
The people! Which is what everybody says, so also the fact that we have an ice cream freezer. Everyone at Cogent is smart and experienced at what they do, which is a high benchmark. There’s a ‘get shit done’ mentality at Cogent and people are really open, honest and quite vulnerable in a lot of ways. I think it’s remarkable that we have things like a mental health channel and a parenting channel in Slack, where people can openly discuss challenges they’re going through, in their personal life as well as at work.
Just a few of the Slack channels we have that support the wellbeing of our team.
I totally agree. What’s your favourite thing to do at the weekend?
I used to be quite into surfing when I first joined Cogent, and I’m looking forward to doing a lot more of that this summer. I spend most of my spare time with my one year old daughter and my partner, and at the moment our weekends involve a fair bit of house hunting, but I can’t say that’s my favourite thing to do! I love being at the beach, so an ideal weekend for me is being at the beach and then heading to a winery.
Above: Courtney with her partner and daughter in Bali.
That does sound good! If you had a private chef for a night, what would you get them to make you?
I’d want some sort of amazing sushi chef to make me all the best sushi and Japanese food ever. Endless sashimi and sushi. Endless Nobu, basically.
Yum! Final question, what’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Well, some advice that I’d give my younger self is to embrace mistakes and you’ll still be fine – in fact it’s better to make those mistakes, learn, move on and move quickly. I can definitely be a bit of a perfectionist at times, but in reality I’m not a paramedic or a surgeon saving lives. Nobody’s going to die if A doesn’t happen or B isn’t perfect. So the adviceI’d give is to just relax a bit in that regard.
That’s really good advice, for a lot of people I think, except paramedics of course! Thanks for the chat Court.
Like the idea of joining the Cogent team? Head over to the Cogent Careers page and say hello!