“Always wear nice shoes and don’t be an a**hole.” A taste of what I learnt at an evening of NABS speed-mentoring

Words by Hannah Devoy, Account Manager, BBH

Last night M&C Saatchi played host to the first NABS speed-mentoring event of 2017, and my-oh-my what a night it was…! After the raving success of a previous speed-mentoring event I attended, I was eager to get up close and personal with another selection of Adland’s finest!

The evening kicked off with a very warm welcome from the NABS team, followed by an obligatory glass of wine, enjoyed whilst chit chatting at the bar with some of the mentors and mentees. We all gathered together to hear Oli Barrett, (our host for the evening) ask each mentor to each give a brief intro. After the who’s who of mentors, it was over to us (the mentees) to do the same, turn to someone new and introduce ourselves, this was a fab way to break the ice and give us all some friendly faces for the evening ahead. The bar at Saatchi had been laid out with tables ready for small breakout groups, leaving a seat for each of the mentors to join and begin question time…

First up was Naren Patel, CEO at Primesight who left us all speechless when saying, “I was an MD at 30!” Naren’s advice for a successful career was, “No matter how senior you are, get a mentor. There’s extreme value in having someone to talk to, I’ve had a coach myself for five years and am part of Vistage, which offers executive coaching and a peer group of other CEO’s for me to talk to, which is great as it constantly keeps me learning.”

Next was Paul Carolan, Global Chief Commercial Officer at Widespace who said, “Surround yourself with people who inspire you…being inspired is everything!” And the one piece of advice that’s never failed Paul is to, “always wear nice shoes and don’t be an a**hole.”

I then moved onto Jana Eisenstein’s table, MD EMEA at Videology. Jana believes that to be successful in advertising you must, “be flexible!” Jana also shared her goal, “to always try my best to help those around me feel truly empowered.”

Next up was Nick Baughan, CEO at Maxus who’s recommendation was to, “Round out your career as much as possible, roles are portable, so make the most of every opportunity.” Nick suggested, “You definitely need to plan for your success, but be flexible with it, my goal to become a CEO never once wavered.”

The highlight of my evening was talking to Cat Davis, Chief Growth Officer at Cheil. Cat’s biggest achievement, “68 pitch wins in 7 years!” prompted me to ask, what her secret is, “My approach is simple; new business is like dating, you want to put your best self forward from the very start, you want to ensure every interaction is flawless with the goal of being chosen.” Cat also advised, “To be successful, you must make yourself indispensible”. As a fellow woman in Adland, it was inspirational to hear how Cat’s managed to be both a Mum and an extremely successful leader!

*Cat Davis & Hannah Devoy

After the final whistle blew, we came together to reflect on what had been a truly impressive evening. The level of honesty the mentor’s brought to the table (the good, the bad and the ugly) was invaluable and I left the event feeling completely re-invigorated and proud to be part of such an incredible industry! I cannot recommend attending a NABS event highly enough!

Hannah is an Account Manager at BBH, working on the Tesco account. She loves all things advertising, three-day weekends, yoga, high-heels, is a self-confessed junk food addict and in her spare time, a make-up artist. You can find her on LinkedIn – Hannah Devoy.

If you would like to attend one of our Speed Mentoring sessions, we are running one in partnership with Advertising Week Europe on Tuesday 21st March, 10.30am in the Delegates Lounge. We have 40 free session passes to give out to the NABS community, please email Christie if you would like to claim one of these tickets.


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