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Agency Life

Advertising in the Motherland

Advertising in the Motherland

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

February 13, 2019

Lynn Madeley, CEO at Havas Southern Africa, on discovering her ad career.

"There are some really talented people in South Africa and everyone has a really strong work ethic."

Plus, what it’s like living and working in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg.

 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in London.

How did you discover advertising as a career?

Well at 16, I told my aunt I wanted to work in advertising. She told me it was for liars and cheats, so that put pay to that for a while. Then I rode horses as a career for a long time, but eventually, my body gave up on that idea, and I had always been interested in the marketing and advertising side of the equestrian business, so it kind of just happened.

Why Havas?

I liked the ethos. Honest, unpretentious, and entrepreneurial.

How do you describe your job to those who are not in the business?

I tend not to. I just say I am in advertising. They rarely ask for more information. For some reason, advertising folk seem to be a bit scary.

What’s it like working in South Africa?

Working or living? Living, it’s the most beautiful country in the world and has the most amazing weather. The crime is a bit crap, but without that, South Africa would be paradise. Working is great. There are some really talented people in South Africa and everyone has a really strong work ethic. I do think South African advertising folk should be doing a lot more on the global stage. The talent is definitely here.

"Don’t judge. Be humble. Most people are better than you at most things."

Where in the world would you like to visit that you have yet to see?

I have been lucky. Born and bred in London, then I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 13 years, and then I moved to Africa and have lived in Swaziland, Botswana, and South Africa. My parents live in the U.S.  I would really love to see the architecture in Russia and would love to experience South America. And for now, that’s it. Otherwise, I’ll go anywhere that has great bike riding.

As a chief executive, what do you consider to be your most important responsibility?

The people who work for us. It’s that simple.

What have you learned from those who work for you?

Don’t judge. Be humble. Most people are better than you at most things.

What do you hope that others learn from you?

Love what you do and have extremely high standards for yourself and those around you.

What do you hope to do when you retire, someday?

Ride my bike. Coach young people in their careers, and then ride my bike a bit more.

Do you have any advice for those just starting their careers?

Act the job above you. Work your backside off and keep asking questions. Also, have fun. If you don’t enjoy your job you won’t be good at it.

"There are some really talented people in South Africa and everyone has a really strong work ethic."

Plus, what it’s like living and working in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg.

 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in London.

How did you discover advertising as a career?

Well at 16, I told my aunt I wanted to work in advertising. She told me it was for liars and cheats, so that put pay to that for a while. Then I rode horses as a career for a long time, but eventually, my body gave up on that idea, and I had always been interested in the marketing and advertising side of the equestrian business, so it kind of just happened.

Why Havas?

I liked the ethos. Honest, unpretentious, and entrepreneurial.

How do you describe your job to those who are not in the business?

I tend not to. I just say I am in advertising. They rarely ask for more information. For some reason, advertising folk seem to be a bit scary.

What’s it like working in South Africa?

Working or living? Living, it’s the most beautiful country in the world and has the most amazing weather. The crime is a bit crap, but without that, South Africa would be paradise. Working is great. There are some really talented people in South Africa and everyone has a really strong work ethic. I do think South African advertising folk should be doing a lot more on the global stage. The talent is definitely here.

"Don’t judge. Be humble. Most people are better than you at most things."

Where in the world would you like to visit that you have yet to see?

I have been lucky. Born and bred in London, then I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 13 years, and then I moved to Africa and have lived in Swaziland, Botswana, and South Africa. My parents live in the U.S.  I would really love to see the architecture in Russia and would love to experience South America. And for now, that’s it. Otherwise, I’ll go anywhere that has great bike riding.

As a chief executive, what do you consider to be your most important responsibility?

The people who work for us. It’s that simple.

What have you learned from those who work for you?

Don’t judge. Be humble. Most people are better than you at most things.

What do you hope that others learn from you?

Love what you do and have extremely high standards for yourself and those around you.

What do you hope to do when you retire, someday?

Ride my bike. Coach young people in their careers, and then ride my bike a bit more.

Do you have any advice for those just starting their careers?

Act the job above you. Work your backside off and keep asking questions. Also, have fun. If you don’t enjoy your job you won’t be good at it.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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