How I Made It: Dan Taylor, Vice President at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
For our latest inspiring stories series, 'How I made it', we're interviewing the cream of the crop across all facets of communications and marketing. This is where you'll learn about how the best in the industry got to where they are today and hopefully pick up some tips along the way to help your own career progress.
We caught up with Dan Taylor, Vice President and responsible for overseeing the marketing, PR and events division within the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, and promotes the destination brand overseas and regionally.
With 20 years of various client side, consultancy and agency roles under his belt, Dan has worked in the Middle East for more than 12 years for firms such as du, Dubai Holding and MCN Group. Prior to this Dan worked at a Global level with APRAIS and McCann Worldgroup.
He talked to us about combining daily planning with long desert drives, why a little bit of dogged determination can go a long way and why if you’re not keeping up, you risk keeping yourself out…
How do you start your day?
I’m usually awoken before my alarm clock goes off at 6.00am by either an overactive brain planning for the day ahead, or a young family member needing something important.
Then it’s a fast paced rush of breakfasts, school bags, getting little people dressed, emails, WhatsApp, Instagram and double checking everyone has everything, including myself, till I hit the road at for the drive to the beautiful Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. This is the time I try to do my daily planning and work through what needs to get done during the day, whist I enjoy the ever expanding desert and ever decreasing volume of traffic.
What personal attribute has most helped you succeed in your career?
Determinedness, and doggedness. In communications, it’s easy to take things personally when the subjectivity of creativity is brought into industries that typically thrive on objective measurement. Seeing through great ideas, backed with solid planning and pushing to get results has driven my need to develop and seen the brands I work for continue to grow for the last 20 years.
What keeps you sane on those crazy days?
Arriving home to little people that celebrate you coming through the door is a real lift to the spirits. If I’m home in time for bath and bed (which admittedly is rare) then story time and the wind down to bed is great way to clear your head. If I’m running late (as I invariably am) the drive home is the time I put on some music and start to decompress.
What career advice would you give to someone who wants to make it in your industry?
Keep on learning: All industries change continually; communications is the same. As such, if you’re not keeping up you are keeping yourself out. When I started in the industry, the internet was a new idea, we were still getting market reports via fax. Then came blackberries, iPods, social media, on-demand TV, the collapse of print, and the resurgence of vinyl. The only constant is the ever increasing rate of change.
What three words best describe you as a leader?
Determined, ideological, curious.
Who, or what, inspires you?
I’ve been lucky to work for some incredibly inspirational people, since my advertising agency days, till now. Leaders who lead from the front, doing so with charisma, charm, and character. I’m lucky to not have to look (or remember) too far to find the inspiration to get up every day and do what I do.
Have you overcome any major challenges in the course of your career?
Moving from agency side, to consultancy, back again and then client side, has been my career, and full of challenges. Learning different industries, how they work, their marketing needs, learning how to deliver on these, in line with the needs of a business or client are always a great challenge.
This year saw me move from telecommunications to tourism and it’s been a learning curve – very different industries in very different situations in so many aspects. 2018 was all about learning to market a very different kind of customer experience.