Future of Marketing Summit 2 - 4 September 2024
Gold Coast | Australia

Q&A's with Sarla Fernando

We sat down with Sarla Fernando about her upcoming session's at our iMedia summits.

Sarla Fernando, ADMA's Director of Regulatory and Advocacy Advisory is a globally experienced, digitally-grounded professional, who is passionate about using her legal and commercial skillset to help businesses navigate through the sometimes complex world of data governance and Privacy. Join us as she shares with us some insights on what to expect at her upcoming sessions at our iMedia events.


Sarla Fernando

Director of Regulatory & Advocacy Advisory


If AI could take any life admin task off your hands - what would you choose to delegate?

"My diary management… I seem to have a lot to fit into my 24 hours a day both on a work front and personally and would like that to be done better so that I can be more present in my personal life. Oh, I also wouldn’t mind delegating submission writing (but the AI would have to represent accurate views from across the industry and relate it to the latest regulatory developments locally and globally…. And be presented in a respectful and helpful way)….

We are still a ways away from this, unfortunately."

Without giving too much away, what can the marketers, brand leaders and media professionals hope to gain from your upcoming sessions at both iMedia’s Modern Media Summit this July, as well as the Future of Marketing Summit in September?

"They can expect to have a better understanding of what is happening in the regulatory space and why as a function of marketing they need to care. There are so many headlines about data privacy, dark patterns, ai and the various digital platforms inquiries that it can either be overwhelming or become white noise. My session will (hopefully) help marketers better understand why they need to pay attention so that their own day-to-day functions are run in a way that best benefits their customers and the business that they are representing.

There is no way to avoid the developments, especially in data privacy laws – they are going to be changed soon and for any marketer that uses data, it is a must-understand. I will be going through where those updates to privacy law stands at the time of each conference and how it needs to be considered alongside the other developing areas."

What outcome do you hope to achieve when it comes to taking (any) stage to address the marketing, media and advertising communities? 

"My aim in this role has always and will always be to de-mystify compliance and developing regulation and to help marketers understand what matters, why it matters, how it falls into their day-to-day world and how to apply it in a way that mitigates risk but also allows them to do what they need to do. Compliance doesn’t have to be the thing that stops marketers from doing what they need to do to engage their audience – it is just the framework within which to operate.

At the end of the day, compliance builds consumer trust and protection that is at the core of every marketer."

Are there any particular agencies and brands coming to our Modern Media event that you’ll be interested in chatting? If so, Why?

"Always keen to speak to ADMA Members about what great Member Benefits that they may not yet have tapped into (and also get their perspective on the regulatory developments taking place and how they will be impacted by them)… and for non-members... Id love to speak to them and see why they are allowing themselves to miss out on being part of a great community. (I'm kidding)

I am keen to understand their views on developing regulations too – after all ADMAs advocacy is for the whole data-driven marketing and advertising community… so we need to understand the challenges in order to present this to government at the opportunities we get to."

Are there any particular agencies and brands coming to our Future of Marketing Summit that you’ll be interested in chatting? If so, Why?

"I’d love to ask the team from IKEA whether they have a decent collection of Allan keys. I quite like an IKEA build – the easy ones and am fascinated by how it is all done with that one tool. It is a special talent to be able to build something satisfying with just one tool. However I guess that is the core of ADMAs guidance for marketers… make your key tool ‘best practice’ – it is the one principle that crosses compliance, optimisation, risk mitigation, efficiencies and consumer expectations….

I'd also be interested to speak to the team from Officeworks – because a fair chunk of my salary does go there."

You’re hosting a dinner party for 6x guests and can only invite CEOs - who are you selecting and why?

"Hmmmm… well I would need to know whether I was doing the cooking (as I would probably need to invite CEOs I don’t love… that says a fair bit about my cooking talents).

If it was being catered… then I would need to understand budgets for that – and if they allow for a good meal – I’d be inviting those CEOs that inspire me most. If the rules allow for CEOs that are both alive and dead – that widens the scope….. No – I’m not revealing who any of those groups of 6 are 😊


Enjoy Sarla's keynote "Navigating a constantly changing Privacy and Data regulatory landscape " on Day 3 at both iMedia Modern Media Summit Australia this July and iMedia Future of Marketing Summit Australia this September on the Gold Coast, Australia.