Women’s Leadership Network: Nicola Mendelsohn

My employee’s parent company, IPG, has established a London ‘chapter’ (yes, it’s American) of its Women’s Leadership Network, which has proven successful in the US. After an initial kickoff meeting, to discuss mission and values and all of that stuff, they ran their first general event yesterday, with a talk by Nicola Mendelsohn, who is currently President of the IPA and Exec Chair of Kamarama. The title of her speech was ‘what she wished she knew when she was 20’ and it came down to 10 great tips for getting ahead in your career, regardless of your age.

  • Understand the power of the network. You never know when someone could help you. So help others, make connections and keep them. Don’t burn your bridges, as you never know when that could be a problem
  • Love what you do. You do best when doing things that you love. You have to be passionate about your work, otherwise, why do you do it?
  • Celebrate your differences. Not everyone is the same, likes the same things, does the same things. How can you make something of that
  • Get the right work/life balance. Nicola works 4 days/week, she has a strong focus on her family and that will always come first for her. Other people are different. You have to balance the day job with other activities
  • Find yourself some great mentors. It doesn’t have to be just one. different people can provide different types of advice. You can have many at the same time, or sequentially. Make sure you know what they can offer. It’s useful to have someone who is a few levels higher than you
  • Be confident. Essential. Act confident and you will be confident. You have to project that you know what you are doing as perception is everything. Confidence is essential for leadership.
  • Don’t expect everyone to like you. Why should they – you don’t necessarily like everyone. You will have to do things sometimes and people won’t like you for it.
  • Challenge. And take risks. Why just live with the status quo, why just expect things to be the same. And without risks, you’ll never learn, never get the unexpected.
  • Always be learning. Learning is a lifelong habit. Know new stuff and be curious. And don’t be afraid to fail, as that’s just more chances to learn.
  • Be true to yourself. You are what you are. Don’t be someone else.

After the talk, there was a general panel and one of the topics was about being ‘boardroom ready’. In advertising/marketing, only about 12% of the C-level roles are female, even if as an industry it’s pretty forward looking and with a high proportion of women at the lower levels. A challenge was to make yourself boardroom ready. So look for opportunities to know more of the business side, the financials, to help make yourself ready

overall, a good first event, looking forward to the next one.

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