First Five Rungs steal ‘Gems’ from industry leaders in new content series

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First Five Rungs steal ‘Gems’ from industry leaders in new content series

Comms Council Industry Youth Leadership Group, the First Five Rungs, is today launching ‘Stolen Gems’, a social content series offering those in their first five years key pieces of advice from the top leaders of New Zealand’s advertising and communications industry.


The content series, which will run on the First Five Rungs Facebook and LinkedIn social pages, brings together ‘gems’ of wisdom from some of the biggest names in the industry including Priya Patel (CEO, DDB), Sean McCready (co-founder and managing partner at MBM), Jenny Appel (GM, Fuse), David McCallen (chief strategy officer, OMD) and Daniel Hopkirk (MD/partner, Crave Global).

Says Becky Dawson, senior account manager, Mango Communications, FFR Auckland’s chair: “There’s no official rule book or manual for those first starting out in the industry or within their first couple years, so it can be hard to know what’s what as you cut your teeth. Then you throw a global pandemic into the mix and it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday grind.

“Our ‘Stolen Gems’ content series offers nuggets of wisdom from Aotearoa’s top leaders to give those newcomers a jumpstart on some of the things we wished we’d learnt sooner. We’d like to thank the passionate leaders for providing their ‘gems’ for this project which we hope proves useful to those in the first few years of their promising careers.”

The ‘gems’ cover an array of themes, with those most common focusing on the importance of being ‘people first’ whether with your team, your clients, customers, or yourself. Another resounding theme focuses on doing the little things well and the effect that attitude can have on how others perceive you.

Priya Patel – CEO, DDB

“Brilliant basics build trust”

“Starting an entry level job can be filled with tasks aren’t as glam as you might hope! But my first 6 months taught me to recognise these tasks as an effective way to build trust. By being both enthusiastic and competent when delivering the basics – whether that’s prepping meeting rooms, considering gluten free client catering, filing work correctly, or writing an accurate contact report – you can showcase your reliability and problem-solving capabilities. This quickly leads to rapport with your team and new, bigger opportunities.”

 Sean McCready – Co-Founder and Managing Partner at MBM

“Do the world your way”

“For me this means being yourself rather than trying to imitate someone else. By being authentic to who you are, you’ll be more natural in what you do and therefore do better work. Certainly, learn the craft but bring your own personality and approach to the task. There are many types of people needed in an agency, and there’s a place for different skills. Ultimately you will make career decisions that are best for you, and that doesn’t need to be the most conventional path.”

Jenny Appel – GM, Fuse

“Let your character carry more weight than your title”

 “I’ve seen versions of this around on social media that has a slightly more negative swing on it (people are jealous of you because your character carries more weight than their title) but I gravitate toward the underlying message. It reminds me to lead with the person, not the ego or ambition or a title…   People will respect and gravitate toward authentic strengths and honest encounters rather than bravado and hot air. It’s important to understand the strength in imperfection and the greater opportunities that are born from real connections. So let your character be calling card, the impression will last longer and the outcome greater.”

David McCallen – Chief Strategy Officer, OMD

“You can never undersell your vision”

“It applies personally and professionally. Basically, if there’s something that really matters, and you believe it will positively affect those around you (or your customers) then you can’t overcommunicate it. Too often we under communicate what’s important and then get confused when people don’t seem to see things the way we want them to.”

Daniel Hopkirk – MD/Partner, Crave Global

“Attitude beats aptitude”

“Having the right attitude is the number one reason those that are successful win. The winning mindset and drive to do something will beat those that are talented with the wrong attitude. Craft can be taught, attitude cannot. Keeping a positive and open mind with a winning attitude will take you places.”

The content series, which includes gems from 17 leaders across Auckland and Wellington, launches this week and all leaders in the industry are encouraged to share their own ‘gems’ with the next generation of advertising and comms professionals.

The First Five Rungs is a Comms Council initiative made up of young people across the communications industry, whose mission is to help industry newcomers receive the best possible start.

First Five Rungs steal ‘Gems’ from industry leaders in new content series