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A careers speed dating session at Twitter HQ

At the heart of the Twittersphere, this month’s masterclass saw the Creative Access community gathered at Twitter HQ for a ‘speed dating’ session with a host of leading industry professionals

We were joined by nine experienced creatives with bundles of knowledge ready to bestow on our interns and alumni. The room – packed to the rafters – was split into groups and were given 10-minute slots for question time before the buzzer rang and our industry experts were shuffled around the room (with a drink in hand, of course).

Chief Executive Officer of Primesight, Naren Patel kicked off the evening discussing the steps he took to becoming a Managing Director at 29. Going into the creative industry as an analyst with a background in finance and accounts, Naren worked out quickly that ‘a bit of luck and working your socks off every year’ is the best way to succeed towards your goals. As a current CEO, Naren notes that it can be a lonely place and for the last seven or eight years he’s had a coach to turn to in times of need. On the case of diversity in the industry and the importance of ‘Media For All’, Naren says quite simply, it ‘makes everyone better people and it’s the right thing to do’.

Next, we had Birmingham-based Business Director of MediaCom, Pardeep Heer. Being away from London in a regional office can be tough, says Pardeep, known as the ‘challenger office and challenger brand’. As a result of this, they need to ‘force themselves’ to be heard. On the flip side, their location works in their favour – partnering with clients and small brands that share similar interest and helping ‘realise their potential’ to grow their brand. How to succeed in the industry? Pardeep tells our interns ‘you’ve got to have confidence in your ability’.

Third up is Managing Director of Twitter, Dara Nasr. The thing he loves most about working at Twitter is that it’s ‘culturally relevant’, as well as holding a lot of value in the happiness of their employees. As one of the ‘big three’ social media platforms, Dara tells us that in the face of competitors it’s important not to try to be ‘everything to everyone’ as you ‘become little to everyone’, in other words; stick with your niche (in the case of Twitter, that’s tweets and memes).

Current Managing Partner of the7Stars, Liam Mullins understands the importance of looking for more diverse talent. His company has actively worked with university societies to ensure 20%  of their workforce comes from a BAME background. If you know what you want to do in your career Liam suggests ‘you will do better in a place where you feel valued. If you really know what you want to do, find a place that can let you do it.

Founder of TBS, Dino Myers-Lamptey gave us his tips on how to smash an interview: ‘definitely come across as confident, do your research on the person, company, job, and show you care about the role. Ask for feedback – it’s valuable.’ He also highlighted the importance of honing in on your skills, stating that ‘if you have too much variety you become a specialist of nothing.’ 

As the Chief Marketing Officer at Grey, Sarah Jenkins has seen a rapid change in the advertising industry over the last 10 years with 50% of advertising money now going to the ‘big three’ social media platforms; Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. In her career journey and reaching her goals, Sarah says that ‘some incredible people have powered me up’.

Following on was Broadcasts and Digital Partnerships extraordinaire at ITV, Bhavit Chandrani, whose job is to oversee ITV’s commercial approach and find partners for their show. It requires a lot of third party working; internally work towards hitting their sales targets for each revenue stream. On how to make moves in the creative industries, Bhavit advises to ‘work as hard as you can but it’s also about what you put into it beyond your normal role. How can you add value?’. He reflected on the importance of a work/life balance, saying all the successful people he knew found time to exercise and spend time with their families.

Priya Matadeen’s journey to her dream job as General Manager of Commercial at Dazed Media was not a smooth one. Priya ‘pivoted out of advertising’ into a fashion agency and after lots of coffees and connections later, found her home at Dazed Media. To take steps towards her goals she ‘actively found allies’ in her peer group doing interesting things.

Lastly, we had Mimi Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at Wireless Media. Having worked as a Science writer at the Sunday Times and the Marketing Director of LADBible, Mimi transitioned from journalism to advertising and now works with TalkSPORT and TalkRADIO. As a writer, Mimi often produced content on subjects she wasn’t an expert in (such as science), however, found confidence in her abilities by sifting through information and finding key phrases, as well as getting a second opinion in her work. Mimi’s tips to thriving in the workplace: ‘understand how the wheels and cogs of an organisation operate and knowledge of the wider business is really helpful’.

The session was followed by some time for the group to carry on conversations and network, which included some lovely drinks and delicious food. A huge thanks toTwitter for hosting and of course to the industry experts from Media for All for lending their valuable time and imparting their even more valuable wisdom.