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How I made it: James Wright Global CEO at Red Havas

How I made it featuring James Wright Global CEO at Red Havas

Hanson Search steps inside the world of Red Havas to interview James Wright, Global CEO and Global Chairman of Havas PR Global Collective, for our 'Inspiring Stories' career series.

James shares his advice for making it in the marketing industry and how to succeed in global markets.

How did you get into the communications/marketing industry?

My uncle was a Marketing Director and it seemed like he was having a lot of fun, so I did some work experience with him, loved it and then signed up for the degree. I specialised in public relations, it fitted my personality. I liked communication, negotiation, strategy and creativity. I get to use those skills every day.

Who inspires you?

My children. I travel a lot, so they make me want to ensure that my time away from them must be 110% worth it, so I put everything into that and then try to be totally present when I am with them.

What's the biggest challenge that you’ve overcome?

Not every campaign can knock people’s socks off creatively. Accept that a solid strategy and executing with excellence is often enough.

What career advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile more. And enjoy the ride because this is a great industry to be in.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in the industry?

It’s changed a lot. Of course, technology has played a key part, but so do the people in it. The cross-section of different types of people, personalities and skillsets to staff a contemporary agency are much different, and managing this diversity is critical to success.

How did you go about mapping out your global career moves and how do the markets differ?

There is a big difference between the UK, Asia, Australia and the US. Some are more adventurous in their approaches, some are more conservative, some have bigger budgets, and some are more bureaucratic. Markets will always differ, but values transcend borders, remember that and focus on it.

What advice do you have for people looking to relocate from London to global markets?

I have worked on three continents. My Advice is to accept that it is going to be different. In some ways better, others less so. It’s an experience, so accept that and learn from it. I learnt more from bad experiences than good, and that made me a better leader. 

What does it take to be successful in 2019?

Diversity and super smart people. Smart people know what role to take – whether it is to lead, play a supporting role, or take a back seat. 

How can businesses improve diversity in the workplace?

Different thinking, different people, different expertise and experiences, when mixed together in the right way, will combine to make you a smarter, more innovative and more humble business. And that in turn is a great foundation for success. 

What qualities does it takes to be a leader in today’s marketing industry?

Lead from the front. Have fearless ambition. Be compassionate every day.

What is the key to growth of a successful team and positive working environment?

Strong leadership and vision. An inclusive and fun culture. And standing for something beyond the badge.

What is the biggest challenge that the industry will face over the next few years?

It will continue to be talent and getting a diversity of skillsets into the workforce as we manage the acceleration of technological and analytical solutions for our clients.

Name one technology, other than your phone, that you could not live without.

Aviation.

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