What did you want to be growing up?
I wasn’t 100% sure. I just knew I wanted to be the best at what I did and make a difference.
How (if at all) is the subject you studied useful to your current role?
I studied French, and it was a great stimulus for lots of things beyond speaking, reading and writing French.
What were your first jobs?
The two summers at Saatchi & Saatchi were invaluable. If you want to get into an industry, work in it for free initially if you have to. Be a giver of your value, it comes back to you in the end.
Was there anything or anyone in particular that helped you at the start of your career?
Miriam Jordan Keane, who was initially at Saatchi & Saatchi and then Y&R gave me a break – she was my boss there. She was a very magical woman who really believed in creativity and really knew how to bring out the best in people. She was a wonderful inspiration and remains so in my heart today.
Was there a particular project you worked on that helped your development?
I ran The Guardian account for five years at DDB while I was head of account management there, which became the most awarded account in the world.
The other most awarded account at the time was Volkswagen, also with DDB, and the two had very different approaches. The thing that we did on the Guardian was to approach it with no strategy, it was just content. We abandoned the concept that we needed to hold anything together, and just went with whatever they had written, and it all hung together.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
I’ve made more mistakes than I can fit into one answer. Fall over, dust yourself off and go again. It’s easier said than done. It’s like being winded. Try not to be hard on yourself and keep a close group of advisors, friends and people you can turn to for support.
Success is the ability to ride out the nine things that don’t go in your favour and follow the one that does. Wanting something to be great and feeling stressed are natural bedfellows.
Is your job what you thought it would be?
Absolutely. The only thing you don’t realise at the beginning is that great work doesn’t just happen by being great.
What tools do you use most for your work?
A MacBook Pro and Air, iPhone 6
, Medium (to read), Evernote (to write), a pen and a Smythson notebook.