Imagine you have 10 minutes to sit down with your idol, the person who has inspired, shaped or influenced your own career and life. What would you ask them? Would you ask them for advice? Talk best practices? Discuss the dos and don’ts of making it to a top position in the industry today? This week, a select group of Advertising Week Europe attendees had that chance.
During “Speed Mentoring with NABS,” delegates had the opportunity to sit down with some of the industry’s top CEOs, Directors, shakers and makers for three rapid-fire conversations to ask their burning questions to help inform and inspire their own career paths.
While the conversations alone didn’t last more than 10 minutes, as Oli Barrett, Co-Founder of Cospa, explained during his introduction as emcee, a short conversation with the right person can make all the difference.
“Small, short conversations can change people’s lives. Some of the chance encounters you have can be very powerful if you take the risk and ask the important questions,” Barrett said.
Arguably one of the most impressive lineups of speakers from The Week, the mentors included industry leaders with a range of backgrounds, such as Ogilvy & Mather’s Charlie Rudd, Yahoo UK’s Nigel Clarkson, Havas Media Group’s Paul Frampton, Mediavest’s Rachel Forde, ITV’s Simon Daglish, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Tracy De Groose, Procter & Gamble’s Roisin Donnelly, Maxus UK’s Nick Baughan, Guardian News & Media’s Hamish Nicklin, JW Thompson’s Joseph Petyan, and NABS’ Diana Tickell and Charlie Markin.
Asked what they wish they would have known going into their early careers, the lineup of mentors each offered their own words of wisdom to the Delegates. Some cautioned the importance of knowing when to ignore your inner critic, while others emphasized the importance of taking care of your mental health as equal to getting ahead in your career.
For Charlie Rudd, he said he wished he had understood that while the industry can often make it feel like a sprint, a career is really more of a marathon.
“I think it’s important to be self-aware of when you’re acutely learning versus when you’re just going through the motions,” Rudd said. “It’s important to know when to call it.”
Delegates after the session called their time with the mentors both “insightful” and “intense,” explaining that the conversations left them ready to head back into the workplace confident and ready to take charge of their careers.
“What was consistent in all of my sessions was that people don’t seem to be taking as much control of their careers as they should,” said Nigel Clarkson. “If you want appraisal, demand appraisal. You of course have to earn it, but go in to your management and say ‘this is what I want to do, what do I need to get there?’”
For Tracy De Groose, she said in addition to both mentees and mentors feeling energized by the conversations, she hopes it inspires more conversations and mentorship relationships to blossom. Doing so, she said, could benefit the industry on a much larger scale.
“We didn’t have these sessions when I sort of started my career, and I just think it’s so important,” De Groose said. “Conversations like this are brilliant to have because you get to hear other people’s questions, and they’re all brilliant questions. I hope this week shows you how exciting it is to be in our industry today.”