Never drift to the middle. Never be ordinary.
That is the credo etched in the DNA of Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), the cultural icon that has been making global waves from the banks of the Derwent for a decade.
And it is this prohibition on drifting to mainstream that forms the riding instructions for University of Tasmania alumnus Daniel Aitken (BBus 2009), Mona’s Marketing Manager.
It’s a plum gig for sure, but Daniel knows what makes Mona tick having joined the organisation fresh out of university a year before the museum’s opening in 2011.
“I started as a junior marketing coordinator in 2010, joining a team of three people,” Daniel said.
“We’re now a team of around 16, and in my current role I spend a lot of time working across strategic planning, campaign project management, and liaising with our creative and digital teams.
“It can be a pretty hectic environment, and literally every day can be different.
“My role focuses on Mona’s cultural activities. So that could mean working on exhibition launches, tourism campaigns, music and arts festivals, or any other number of projects that Mona has up its sleeve.
“For me, it’s satisfying to see Mona’s growth and its impact on tourism in Tasmania. It’s an organisation that’s never sat on its laurels and is always exploring new projects and creative ways to build new brands.”
Daniel is also Deputy Chair on the Board of Directors for Destination Southern Tasmania, the state’s southern regional tourism organisation.
Despite his obvious affinity for the profession, Marketing wasn’t always Daniel’s sole focus. He envisaged combining it with Law or Accounting.
But after moving south to live at Jane Franklin Hall and undertake a Bachelor of Business at the University, Daniel found his calling.
“I liked marketing because, one, it was interesting, and two, it allowed for creative problem solving and it could span all genres and industries,” he said.
“I was fortunate enough to have had a couple of really great lecturers. Mark Wickham in particular was a lecturer who was a bit of a character and kept you engaged.”
Despite leaving the University more than a decade ago, Daniel finds time to reinvest in his alma mater through his role on the industry board of the new Masters of Tourism, Environmental and Cultural Heritage.
He also returns to Jane Franklin for monthly dinners as a college Fellow; hosting a table of students who are keen to pursue careers in Marketing.
After a decade at Mona, Daniel said there were at least another 10 years of exciting events in the pipeline to sustain his boundless enthusiasm.
No matter where his work takes him, Daniel wants future UTAS graduates to know they can forge a serious career in Tasmania.
“If they want to pursue a career in marketing it helps to find an industry that they could be passionate about.
“But you do need to put yourself out there and try and get as much experience so by the time you do graduate you can stand out from the rest.”
This article featured in the 2020 edition of the University of Tasmania Alumni magazine.
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