As MD of MediaCom, Josh leads a team in excess of 1,000 people, dealing with both the rewards, and the challenges, that brings.
What is it the company does?
MediaCom is the UK’s no 1 media agency. We develop communications strategies for some of the UK’s most successful advertisers, plan their ad campaigns, buy the media space and then evaluate how successful the campaigns have been at delivering the client’s objectives. We deliver advantage in three key areas: consumer understanding, media insight and media owner relationships. Everything is connected and as a media agency we must think and operate in the exact same way. We place a client-first focus on all our work to build long-standing relationships, and leverage our vast swathes of market knowledge to connect brands to the right audiences with the right content.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I lead a company of over 1,300 people and strive to instil a culture which is inspiring, motivating, inclusive and empathic; I work to create a place where people can grow. We’re attracting and retaining the best talent, and as a result are building relationships with the best global clients.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started out at Initiative Media in 1998 as a TV buyer. Thereafter, I joined creative advertising agency St. Luke’s and went on to found my own digital agency, Kword. All of my experience and business ventures led me to my senior positions at global networks Havas and, ultimately, MediaCom.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Authenticity, understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and building a great team are all central to being a great leader. It’s also vital to not be led by ego and serve your people, not the other way round. You must have a clear vision and cannot be frightened to make decisions. I’m a big believer in nurturing talent to become their best selves.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Having to deal with consequences of not being able to back date pay rises when I said (and believed) I would be. Definitely a lesson in not making promises when you are not in full control of being able to deliver on them.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I often exercise, meditate and regularly attend yoga sessions. I like to find a way to build a strong vitality rather than mentality. I always try to keep in the present and maintain an awareness rather than thinking about the future.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an anthropologist which is an area that I studied at university, or ad executive – both are very pertinent to my role today.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
I hate it when people don’t take responsibility, am irritated if senior staff talk over junior members of the team and get really frustrated if people talk negatively about others behind their back. In fact, to prevent these things occurring I call them out, highlight the issue and work to remove the problem.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Simple: we are the number one media agency in the UK and I want MediaCom UK to be globally recognised as the best agency in the world.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Don’t try to be something you are not. Take your strengths and work on your weaknesses to become a success.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
I’m lucky to have always been surrounded by smart people. I could, however, have benefited from more self-belief although this has driven me to succeed in business and got me to where I am now. So I have no regrets.
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