My Media Week: Zoe Osmond
This week, Zoe Osmond, chief executive of Nabs, drums up support for the charity's centennial year and plans the Big Bash 2013 (just don't ask her who's headlining)
Zoe Osmand: chief executive of Nabs
There is no place quite like Nabs. No marketing clients, no expense budgets and no amount of preparation can set you up for what is going to happen each day. It is ever-changing, diverse and all about people. It's important that it doesn't feel like a charity where we wring our hands in humble appreciation, thanking all that pass our way. We have to view it as a business – driven by a desire to support anyone working in the world of advertising and media.
Monday starts with the first of many meetings – a trip to Sapient Nitro to present to their staff on what we do (so much more than crisis grants) and hand out a personal Nabs Partner Card to each. The Partner Card is our way of thanking companies that donate, giving them access to various career development offers, such as talks hosted by the great and good of the industry – next up are Greg Dyke and Sir Martin Sorrell. Malcolm Poynton (chief creative officer) has recently joined Nabs as a trustee so it’' important to have his company on board.
From there, it's a Tube hop to Hatton Garden and a session with Chris Hirst at Grey to persuade them to take up our Partner Card offer. It's a good meeting that results in a new sign-up.
Back to Nabs offices. We moved last year to new premises right beside Selfridges. It can be dangerous on my wallet during lunch, but we now have light, modern, more suitable premises with a proper resource room called the Nabs Hub for people to use when between jobs. Spend the afternoon working on planning our centennial year.
Then home to two teenage kids. To my surprise, my daughter aged 14 emerges from her room wanting to go for a 5km run – it's a great opportunity for a bit of bonding, even if it is in Lycra and on a cold, wet February evening.
Up to Associated Newspapers to meet Lord Rothermere and Guy Zitter to discuss Associated's support for Nabs' centennial year. NABS was established in 1913 thanks to a donation from Lord Rothermere's forefather, Lord Northcliffe, who recognised that advertising was finally a mature enough profession to warrant its own society.
So, the unusual trio of Jeremy Bullmore, Nick Theakstone and I take the special lift to the proprietor's office to see if this benevolence could continue in our centennial year. An extraordinary meeting in an oak-panelled room with one of Britain's wealthiest men, who generously agreed to help us as his forefather had done. Hurrah!
Back to my office to an opportune letter from a media buyer who Nabs supported while he underwent a quadruple heart bypass, thanking us and saying he was about to go back to work. It's mornings like these that highlight the good at both ends of the spectrum of life.
Early evening and it's a trip to AMV BBDO, where Cilla Snowball is hosting our Tuesday Club talk on 'Pushing advertising up the business agenda'. A riveting talk giving the information-hungry audience some key facts for driving creativity up the agenda and illustrating the return on investing in quality advertising.
Early start – need the Tube to run on time for our monthly board meeting with eight of the Trustees. Ian Pearman chairing. These are always unique meetings with various CEOs sharing in discussions on our fundraising and events – a slice of difference in their busy lives and a great excuse for some banter with their competitors/peers. Simon Daglish, Charlie Rudd and Malcolm Poynton have recently joined and it's great to have their fresh perspectives.
From there, it's back to the endless email trail – trying to get into people's diaries, thanking those that are supporting us and asking others to start. Great email from Nick Theakstone outlining some fantastic media donations. Thank YOU! If nothing else, I am struck by the camaraderie, commercialism and community of those working in media.
Then a call with Jane Ratcliffe who is our Big Bash chair, to discuss our headline act for this year's event. It's always hush-hush, so I can't share any names I'm afraid. Just as well as we have yet to decide who’s going to follow last year's act, Pixie Lott. No pressure…yet.
Traipse to the gym with a heavy heart, but after a good cardio session, I return lighter in step. Afternoon team staff meeting where we hear of calls to the Advice Line and how the careers team are seeing so many people in the 30-to 39 age bracket, many suffering from stress. But amidst it all, there is always a happy story of someone who has returned to work or found a new vocation.
Meet Luke Morris (project manager at Nabs) to present to Dennis Publishing on what we do and how they can get involved. Luke takes them through our Partner Card offer.
Back to the office for a monthly support meeting where allocation of funding for crisis grants is agreed. The support team present each case to a committee of industry professionals to make sure that decisions are objective and donated money is used in the best possible way. Recently, we moved away from monthly grants that tended to create dependency on Nabs, to a policy of short-term effective help. Twelve new cases this month, each deeply varied, from an apprentice to a retiree.
From there, it's over to Gallery Different, a pop-up space on Percy Street that News International has donated to us for an evening for our Creative Speed Mentoring session. Six creative directors – Steve Henry, Malcolm Poynton, Guy Moore, Dave Buonaguidi, Flo Heiss and Mike Hannett – mentor 50 young creatives in timed sessions, led by Oli Barrett and his whistle. A fun, insightful and lively session.
A lighter day. Breakfast with Andria Vidler (CEO at EMI) – an old friend and colleague – and then back to the desk and email trail before lunch with Russell Ramsey (ECD at JWT). I love my long chats with him, putting the world to rights – that and the treat of a glass of wine. Hell, it's Friday.
Back to the office for a long session with Nicky Harris, head of events and fundraising at Nabs, to go through Partner Card sign ups, the next Partner Card talk with Greg Dyke, the forthcoming Rugby 7s event and of course, the Big Bash ,which is just two months away. It's an endless, but wonderful cycle of activity – as soon as one event is over, it's onto the next. Nabs life is different and quite unlike anything I have ever come across, but it works.
Age: Wrong side of 45
Favourite media: The Times on the iPad (when it downloads properly)
My biggest inspiration: Paul Brailsford – and his belief in "the aggregation of marginal gains"
Dream job: Director of programming at ITV
One thing not a lot of people know about me...I'm a distant cousin of Donny Osmond
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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