People work their entire careers to achieve the coveted senior-level status within some of the most prominent businesses in the market. But as certain aspects of the industry grow smaller while others expand with the help of new data and technology, the infinitely fluid industry landscape means the roles of even the highest level executives remain malleable. To be in a position of leadership today means having a willingness to learn an entirely new set of skills, and also having to adapt to what the modern workforce expects and demands from their leaders at the top.
Kathleen Saxton, co-producer of Advertising Week Europe, believes it’s because of this fluidity in the industry that many would say there’s never been a greater and more exciting time to be in the executive job market. Saxton is also the founder of The Lighthouse Company, a firm which specializes in talent management focused exclusively on board level and executive leadership roles in the media, advertising marketing, tech and entertainment industries.
“The executive market is incredibly lively and fluid at the moment. It’s very busy,” Saxton said. “But the competitiveness for senior leadership talent has also never been fiercer, and trying to get the best leaders for your business becomes more and more difficult.”
Saxton said recent research identified which traits and qualities make up those acknowledged “ideal” leaders, according to the changing demands and priorities of modern day employees. Today’s talent pool has named the do-or-dies of modern leadership, and they look starkly different than the authoritative and directive qualities of leaders from just a few years ago.
“There’s a few things people most want. One is a need for visionaries, but more and more people want bravery and authenticity,” Saxton said. “At Advertising Week, you get to hear people on stage sharing their visions with you live. But, you also see how someone behaves off stage at the various networking events, which allows you to see the true person. Both on and off duty, you get to see what people are really like. Authenticity and being able to connect with people is just as important as being a visionary and being brave.”
Saxton believes there’s few other places in the UK that offer such a truthful lens into the inner-workings of the industry at all levels, but particularly at the executive degree, which often remains off the books and in a world of its own. At Advertising Week, Saxton explained, professionals from varying backgrounds and stages in their careers can see and be inspired by some of the most recognizable leaders in the business, and alternatively, leaders seeking young and hungry talent have the opportunity to scout and identify perspective employees to improve their own business.
“What’s different about Advertising Week is that you get the chance to see the most incredible leaders on stage talking live, and also the best emerging company leaders talking live,” Saxton said.
“For businesses, they get to show themselves at their best for people who are considering joining them. If you’re looking for a new leadership role, you get to showcase yourself for a whole collection of businesses. There is nowhere else in the UK where you can be with such a stealth group of senior people all in the same place at the same time – it’s a rare occurrence.”