My week starts with an e-mail from the National Apprenticeship Service. I am an employer ambassador for the organisation, having launched an apprenticeship programme last year at MediaCom.
They've asked if I can host two peers from the House of Lords at MediaCom HQ - something the business has never done before!
Baroness Ros Scott and Baroness Sally Hamwee wanted to meet two of our star apprentices as part of an initiative called Celebrating Apprenticeships to feed back to Vince Cable MP and Gordon Birtwistle MP, the Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business. My answer is: yes, of course I can do this as I’m very proud of my apprentices.
The peers’ planned visit coincides with a "Project Tiger" event – a random surprise thrown for the entire agency by one department to provide stimulus and refreshment, helping to fuel creativity.
Project Tiger is a "freshtival", put on by our MediaCom Beyond Advertising team. We have been warned to dress in our best festival gear. I think twice about greeting the peers in my cut-off OnePiece onesie and wellies and decide smart business attire is a better option, as I walk past someone dressed as a portable loo with a DJ playing in the reception. I know the peers were in session this morning. This must be a first for them, as they’re looking slightly bewildered.
We have had a spate of new-business pitches over the past few months. On hearing the news that we have won and will retain the Direct Line Group business, I believe we can finally celebrate all of the hard work and effort from the team at the agency. DLG is a significant win alongside retaining the Home Office, and winning Coca-Cola, EMI, Sony, Centrepoint and Scope. There was tough competition for all of these pitches so celebrations are in order. I arranged an announcement in the atrium for the team.
Looking up and seeing 500 happy faces is one of the perks of the job. A free bar downstairs and on the roof terrace for the evening is the very least I can do to get the celebrations started.
I obviously need to keep in touch with our media owner partners in my role, so find myself having a lovely lunch with Rosemary Gorman from Mail Newspapers. Understanding how they are future-proofing the print business is a key topic of discussion. While we chat, we do some industry talent-spotting and say hello to Tess Alps and Lindsey Clay from Thinkbox and Paul Frampton from Havas.
Keeping close to clients is a key part of my day-to-day role, and this week seems to be an "entertainment" week, having discussed film with NBCUniversal, talked about brand partnerships and Fifa 14 with EA Games, and worked with the team over at Now TV.
The week also includes a UK business forecast meeting with my chairman, Jane Ratcliffe, global chief executive, Stephen Allan, and EMEA chief executive, Nick Lawson. Lots of data-gathering and financial analysis put into the final presentation focused on our UK business plan and delivery going into the last quarter, with new initiatives I need their help to cement and key talent hires I plan to make. A good meeting and a good week.
I go home to my three-and-a-half-year-old with a plan for some cricket in the garden this weekend (weather permitting). I’m pretty sure I have the next Gordon Greenidge on my hands – well, I’m trying!
Karen Blackett is the chief executive at MediaCom
This article was first published on