A Day in the Life of a XuKeeper: Johanna


Meet Johanna Grahn, an Account Director based in the Sydney office. Johanna has been a XuKeeper for 5 months, but before landing at the Xu she held a variety of positions including working as a Jillaroo.


How do you explain your work to your friends/family?

I say “I‘m an Account Director for a programmatic marketing and analytics software company”… Then people look at me all confused and say “Oh cool, that sounds interesting, so what does your company do?” The funniest was when I told one of my friends what the company I work for is called (I say it the Australian way – DaaaataXu), and he said “so what is Doctor Zoo?”

Johanna at a Swedish Midsummer Festival

Swedish Midsummer Celebration

How did you land at DataXu?

I’m from Sweden originally, but I studied at Macquarie University in Sydney and ended up staying here. I did a Bachelor of Arts – Media focusing on Digital Media and Journalism, as I really wanted to be a journalist and save the world. After landing my first writing job for a digital publisher however, and had a strict template handed to me on my first day which I had to follow for everything I wrote, I realised that I was nothing more than a copywriter with a misleading title!

I really loved the digital aspect of it though, so my next job was as a Digital Campaign Manager for a B2B publisher, which was great! There I saw well-educated journalists writing for swimming pool magazines, cleaning magazines and caravan magazines, and that’s when I decided once and for all to abandon my journalistic dream.

I was very lucky and got headhunted for an Account Manager role by a small, local DSP. I was intrigued by the programmatic space and I love working directly with clients, so I jumped on the opportunity. The company was a bit too small though so I couldn’t really see that much room for growth there, and at the same time Matt Joyce added me on LinkedIn (he was scouting for another Account Director), so one thing lead to another, I ended up applying for the job and got it. I’m so happy that I joined DataXu, it’s an amazing company with such intelligent people – it’s inspiring to be a part of that.

DataXu’s core values are: Excellence, Collaboration, Innovation, Trust and Customer Obsession… the value that resonates with you most is….

In risk of sounding cheesy… I think since I’m in a client facing role, Customer Obsession resonates the most with me. The other values are equally important though when it comes to proving our strengths to our customers, but I do think I’m a bit obsessed with my clients.

Johanna surfing in Sydney

Surfing in Sydney

If you weren’t doing this for a living, what might you have ended up doing instead?

I’d be running a yoga & surf retreat on a remote island in the South Pacific – and maybe blog about my wonderful, tropical life!

What would you say is your greatest strength that translates to the workplace?

I grew up on a horse farm and competed in equestrian showjumping until I left Sweden, so I’m extremely competitive, but also very patient. I think those are great strengths when working on the Sales team and in a client facing role.

Johanna working as a Jillaroo

Working as a Jillaroo

What is your life motto?

Always be open to trying new things and say YES as often as possible! I think life’s challenges, good or bad, lead to valuable experience!

Favorite perk of working at DataXu?

I love the Friday lunches we have in Sydney, it’s always a good time.

Johanna on the beach

My tropical life

Favorite snack in the DataXu kitchen?

Well, since we’re only three people in the office, we all have our say when it comes to what snacks we stock up on.. but we always have raw cashews and I love them.

If you could have coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Kelly Slater (11 time world surfing champion), I think he’s amazing! (But if it can be a fictional character, I’d sit down with Anakin Skywalker, I have so many questions to ask him.)

Johanna in the Australian Outback

The Australian Outback

What is a fun fact about you?

My first journalist gig was for an Australian Cowboy magazine while I was still at university. Over time, one thing led to another, and I ended up working as a Jillaroo (Australian Cowgirl) on a sheep and cattle station in the Australian Outback for three months. We were 4 people, I was the only girl, on a 100,000-acre property – that was really my “Into the Wild” adventure!