As Head of Marketing at Priceline, Australia’s leading pharmacy, health and beauty store, every day is different for  Gabrielle Tully. But a shock cancer diagnosis in late 2021 stopped the fit and vibrant Gabby in her tracks. Michelle Ruzzene caught up with the inquisitive and talkative girl from Ipswich who shares her inspirational story and secrets to career success.

What was your first job?

 Maccas! I got a job as soon as I was legally able to at 14 years and nine months. I remember my wage was $5.14 per hour back in 1990.

What lessons did you learn from that job?

 While hosting birthday parties was the top job, you had to start somewhere and cleaning the dining room was my job. But I worked hard and soon got the opportunity to do drive through and host some birthday parties!

You were shockingly diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2021 while in your mid-40s?

It was a shock as I had no family history nor symptoms. We had a talk a few years ago at work about BreastScreen and what I learned is that women in their fifties are proactively encouraged to have checks, whereas women in their forties won’t be reminded but are in fact eligible to have checks. I booked in straight away when I was about 43 and everything came back normal in that screen. Then Covid-19 hit and my check was delayed –  I kept a post-it note in my diary to remind me to keep ringing. In October 2021 I had my follow-up appointment and after the screen, I was then asked in for more tests. I went to St Vincent’s in Melbourne for a half a day of more testing. I’ll never forget it because it was the Wednesday after Melbourne Cup Day and by Friday morning, I knew it was serious.

Priceline’s patron of the Sisterhood Foundation Ita Buttrose and Gabrielle Tully.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been undertaking surgery and radiation – have you fully recovered?

  For now, yes! I’ve had two lumpectomy (breast-conserving)  surgeries and following the second surgery, I  had four weeks of radiation therapy. I’d go to Peter Mac (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) every weekday. That in itself wasn’t very painful, but I was tired and it was mentally draining. I didn’t tell many people at work – just my boss, my direct reports and a few others. I didn’t want people asking me every day how I was as I just needed to get through it. I’m forever grateful for the support the Priceline HQ team provided. There were a lot of people quite shocked once I became more open post all my treatment because I presented as being ‘normal’. I was still working every day and looked fine on the outside. I would even walk into the hospital and security would always ask me: “Visiting someone?” and I’d reply, “No, I’m a patient”.

How have your priorities changed since your diagnosis?

When I was sitting in the waiting room every day at Peter Mac, I wrote a Bucket List,  except my list rhymed with “bucket” and started with an “F” (if you get the picture). This list was all the things I want to do in my life! When you’re in your twenties you’re invincible, but this diagnosis was quite sobering and while I work hard, I really do want to enjoy my time while I am still healthy. Now it’s just time to start executing my list and having some fun. I have a few overseas trips and Michelin-starred restaurants to look forward to.

What does a typical weekday look like to you?

I love an early morning walk so that’s how I start my day. Then I’ll head to our office and relish in the silence before people arrive to work out my priorities. I am often in back-to-back meetings most days so I use my WFH days to do quiet thinking and focus work. I won’t use the cliched line that “every day is different” but guess what…every day is different.

Tell us about your role as Head of Marketing at Priceline

My team does a number of things which I oversee: brand and media, which includes developing campaigns and media buying, as well as social media and sponsorships. Then I have a PR and events team and also a product and trade marketing team. And then what I call the ‘engine room’ of marketing activity which is channel development through to local area marketing which services our 470+ stores around the country.

Gabby’s hero beauty product is  a bold lip in red or hot pink. Her go-to at the moment is NYX Professional Makeup Soft Matte Lip Cream.

What does it take to put on an event like The Beauty Prescription?

It’s a big event! It takes months of planning – from working with our merchandise team on which brands to feature through to developing the presentation, it’s a mammoth feat. But oh, so much fun too. Nothing beats getting to the end of that day after seeing all the media and content creators. But the best part is seeing all my team’s hard work come together.

Tell us about your career highlights

Definitely coming up with the idea to do The Beauty Prescription LIVE all those years ago. Some other highlights include our Beauty Runway at the Melbourne Fashion Festival just before the pandemic was declared and our recent 40th Birthday campaign featuring Chrissie Swan. What we do in marketing spans everything from promotion of vaccine services through to developing engaging campaigns with Chrissie – but the really special part is always doing that with Priceline’s unique touch of magic.

Tell us about your career challenges

Heaps! I remember wanting to break into PR after I graduated from Journalism school in Perth but I had no experience. Getting my first job was incredibly tough. I’ve had some terrible jobs too – telephone sales being one of them but they’ve all taught me resilience and to relish in having a job that you enjoy being at. I’d prefer to do a 10-hour day doing something that I love rather than an eight- hour day of something that I hate.

What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?

Work hard. Show your boss that you’re reliable and really keen to learn. I graduated high school during the recession of the nineties so getting jobs was really tough. One thing I continue to do is couple my work ethic with creative thinking and challenging the status quo; this has really helped me in all the jobs I’ve had.

Where do you see the future of the beauty industry headed?

We spoke about ‘conscious beauty’ at The Beauty Prescription LIVE. That will definitely continue its rise in the beauty world. And I think we’re starting to really see a shift in beauty brands and retailers focussing on authenticity and relatability in everything they do.

What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?

 The people around me. I learn so much from others. And I read and watch a lot of things. My brain never turns off. I also had a mentor Judi Hausmann who runs The Haus group of agencies. She offered to be my mentor years ago. She definitely encouraged me to believe in myself and take on more senior roles.

Who are the three people who have been the most influential to you?

 My Mum – a very strong and funny woman. She grew up in a time when women couldn’t have children AND work. So she lied and told her employer she didn’t have kids. Can you believe that! When she confessed, they couldn’t believe a woman could have kids and hold down a job. That’s a story in itself. But also some really great bosses I’ve had over the years. And lastly some really good friends I’ve made in my adult years. My best friends are those people I met in my twenties and thirties.

What would you pick for a last meal?

Easy: if I’m going fancy it’d be Vue du Monde with a heap of my friends. If I’m not, a KFC blowout – but washed down with Veuve Clicquot.

Gabby’s daily skincare routine

Morning – Cleanse with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Apply Garnier Vitamin C Brightening Serum. Apply La Roche Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+

Evening – Cleanse with Sensibio H2O Micellar Water. Cleanse with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Exfoliate with Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub a few times per week. Apply AHC Luminous Glow Real Eye Cream for Face. Apply The Ordinary  Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. Apply No7 Restore & Renew Multi Action Night Cream.


Weekly – Apply Clear Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Mask OR L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Mask.

This article was published in the Summer issue of Retail Beauty:

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