This week, Richard Dunmall, managing director, advertising, Bauer Media is somewhat star-struck when he joins MediaCom at the Ronan O'Gara testimonial dinner.
Monday starts painfully after a weekend away, with the realisation that I've eaten and drunk too much starting to hit home. Delusional notions of gym-going go out of the window as I dust myself down for the week ahead. My word it's dark at this time of year in London when you head to work.
I’m looking forward to the first signs of spring in media land, aka al fresco dining in a late March Siberian chill.
I tend to start my week with all my regular one-to-ones and my diary is particularly jam-packed with them today. As I'm the new boy here, getting to know not only direct reports, but also the broader team is really important and valuable.
An early start as today is an important day for Bauer Media. I'm chairing our first 'Ad Exec', which brings together all the right stakeholders within the commercial team with our senior leaders, including Paul Keenan (CEO), Sarah Vickery (CFO), Dee Ford (MD, Radio) and Abby Carvosso (MD, London Lifestyle).
It's a new way of working given my newly created role – ensuring all around the table are on the same page about our vision and strategy is critical. We talk performance, strategy and big-picture subjects, which is rewarding and fun.
Four hours later (!) it's lunch with Paul and the Gravity Road founders. We’ve never met so it's a wonderful opportunity to find out more about their success story. Most importantly, they've just won a Bafta, so I feel all star-struck. This descends to something just shy of mild pandemonium when they announce they are automatically nominated for the Oscars, having won their trophy.
As creative and content partners for our recent launch of The Debrief, I feel it's important to point out that as their clients, we deserve an invite. This is ignored politely.
I sit next to David Pattison who – despite lots of shared connections – is a new acquaintance. We talk of living in the US, driving cars and other blokey things. It’' all fun chat for a Tuesday lunchtime and I love their business.
Today starts with a prep meeting for an interesting radio sales partnership we are looking at. I sit and listen whilst people who know more than me (most people) weigh up the pros and cons of what we are looking to propose. I like the collaborative way we do things and the smart people I have around me.
The day continues along a similar theme as leaders in the advertising team meet with me to discuss our current print, digital and radio trading strategies (yes lovely agency folk, we do have one before you take the p*ss).
Clearly creating value for our partners (love that word from agency land) is really important and increasingly so. Getting our ducks (or perhaps calculators) in a row is getting more and more of a hygiene factor if we have aspirations of world domination and operating at scale (yes, competitors – we do). Cue rubbish attempt at impression of a Bond villain.
Today's highlight (and let's be clear, I'm completely distracted all day thinking about it) is my schedule for the evening. The delight and force of nature that is Claudine Collins is hosting a table at Ronan O’Gara’s Testimonial Dinner (he’s a famous Irish and British Lions rugby star, people).
My esteemed friends at the table – aside from the lovely Claudine, and other MediaCom folks – include leaders from great companies like Sky and The Financial Times, as well as great clients from the MediaCom roster.
That said, my focus quickly turns to the guests around me in the room, who turn out to be a bit of a "who's who" of international rugby. As a massive rugby fan, I go properly weak at the knees when the brilliant Will Greenwood joins us at our table. Any attempt at playing it cool is thwarted as I act like a 'tween meeting One Direction. I leave with my dignity intact…just.
Another diverse day that starts with a really important meeting for Paul Keenan and I with our friends Bill Eyres from O2 and Christian Lee from ZenithOptimedia.
About 18 months ago, we launched (note the Royal "we") an initiative called 'Go Think Big', which uses our content, talent and distribution in partnership with O2, to develop employment opportunities for the young people of Britain. It's a new way of working with our client and agency partners and it's a great opportunity for us all to gather our thoughts before embarking on the year ahead.
Then, lunchtime is spent with my pal Pete Robins – co-founder of digital agency Agenda 21. Pete is one of the good guys and I always feel smarter having spent time with him. I'm really impressed by what Nick, Rhys and Pete have done at their agency and I admire their courage for breaking models and going out on their own.
He has some great observations on content companies like ours, as well as valuable feedback on collaborating with us.
He also has a great beard, but that's a matter of personal preference.
Favourite Media: Anything Bauer…obvs
Biggest Inspiration: Paul Keenan…obvs
Dream job: CEO of RFU or Liverpool FC
Not a lot of people know this about me... I worked in McDonalds as a summer job
as a teenager. Those trousers were so obscene on me.
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