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Agency Life

Returning Home

Returning Home

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

March 20, 2020

Lizzie Nolan chats about moving back to the UK after a decade in Singapore to take up her new role as EVP and Managing Director of Strategy and Insights at Havas International.

"I really missed the British seasons, wearing layers, boots, the fresh air, country walks and pubs"

Strategy and Insights expert Lizzie Nolan chats about the career that led her to Asia and the newly created role with Havas International that drew her back to London with her young family.

 

You recently took up the role of EVP, Managing Director of Strategy and Insights – can you tell us a little about the position and the challenges it presents?

I lead the Strategy and Insights Community for Havas International clients. I ensure the empowerment of the Mx product through data, insights and content, support internal and external partners to innovate and lead the media industry transformation, create more meaningful strategies for the business and raise our profile through award-winning work, all enabled by Mx.

Why was Havas International a good fit?

Havas was a great fit because my career has encompassed everything the Vivendi group represents: content, creative and media. In the past few years, I have described myself as a hybrid strategist that believes in an integrated strategic planning approach across creative content and media. Every strategy role across the industry integrates culture, brand, consumer and category. I had previously used my diverse experience to come up with a holistic approach that could be defined in a creative proposition, communications strategy, and content strategy regardless of brief. When I learnt about Mx, I felt like it aligned with my own approach. Havas International is a great fit because I’ve held regional and global roles for the past decade and I really liked the diverse global category set and type of client that Havas has. 

You were based in Singapore for much of the last decade. When did you start to think about the prospect of returning home and how do you think living abroad shaped you?

My husband and I started thinking about it just as Britain voted to leave the EU back in 2016. This made job opportunities not too plentiful, but last year, things really started to move again and like London buses, I ended up being offered three roles in the space of a week! 

What were your favorite things to do in Singapore?

Singapore is a mini melting pot of southeast Asian culture so you can experience so much on such a tiny island. From international cuisine, beaches and jungle walks, to the largest shopping malls with massive waterfalls inside. Singapore is very small and its greatest draw is the brilliant access to the rest of Asia. My husband and our daughters literally travelled everywhere when we were there. 

"Havas was a great fit because my career has encompassed everything the Vivendi group represents: content, creative and media."

How have you adjusted to life in London? What are some of the things you missed, and didn’t miss? 

I really missed the seasons, wearing layers, boots, the fresh air, country walks and pubs. Believe it or not I even missed the fuzzy rain on my face. I didn’t miss the tube! Singapore’s public transport system is amazing! 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My most meaningful media growing up was crime drama TV shows like Cagney and Lacey, Quincy and Juliet Bravo, so I wanted to be a detective. I’ve often said the intelligence and insight part of the job is like being a detective so I’ve partially realized the dream!

What are your biggest pet peeves?

Lack of humility, integrity, manners and any form of snobbery. 

What do you love to do outside of work, what are your other passions?

I have an eight-year-old and a five-year-old who keep me feeling young at the weekends. I’ll do anything they’re up for which is normally everything!

My ‘me-time’ is working out for 25 minutes every weekday morning at 6.15am. If I miss it I don’t feel like myself for the day. 

I also love to be social and by that I mean the traditional form of going out and having brilliant fun with mates and family, as opposed to being on social. Social media is taking up less and less of my time nowadays which is a good thing! 

How do you think the advertising industry (and your role) will evolve throughout the next five years? 

People increasingly care less about brands and avoid messages being pushed at them, hence the need to be more meaningful. I think with the rise of ad-free subscription based models across a number of platforms, the role of publishers and content providers will become increasingly more relevant in providing insight around why, how and what people want to experience and what we create to engage with them. Those shared experiences from trusted cultural and content influencers will become the most effective way for brands to create relationships with consumers. With Havas’ Vivendi content ownership across music, film and gaming, we are the leaders in culture, and we are in the most meaningful network for brands to create genuine connections with consumers. 

"I really missed the British seasons, wearing layers, boots, the fresh air, country walks and pubs"

Strategy and Insights expert Lizzie Nolan chats about the career that led her to Asia and the newly created role with Havas International that drew her back to London with her young family.

 

You recently took up the role of EVP, Managing Director of Strategy and Insights – can you tell us a little about the position and the challenges it presents?

I lead the Strategy and Insights Community for Havas International clients. I ensure the empowerment of the Mx product through data, insights and content, support internal and external partners to innovate and lead the media industry transformation, create more meaningful strategies for the business and raise our profile through award-winning work, all enabled by Mx.

Why was Havas International a good fit?

Havas was a great fit because my career has encompassed everything the Vivendi group represents: content, creative and media. In the past few years, I have described myself as a hybrid strategist that believes in an integrated strategic planning approach across creative content and media. Every strategy role across the industry integrates culture, brand, consumer and category. I had previously used my diverse experience to come up with a holistic approach that could be defined in a creative proposition, communications strategy, and content strategy regardless of brief. When I learnt about Mx, I felt like it aligned with my own approach. Havas International is a great fit because I’ve held regional and global roles for the past decade and I really liked the diverse global category set and type of client that Havas has. 

You were based in Singapore for much of the last decade. When did you start to think about the prospect of returning home and how do you think living abroad shaped you?

My husband and I started thinking about it just as Britain voted to leave the EU back in 2016. This made job opportunities not too plentiful, but last year, things really started to move again and like London buses, I ended up being offered three roles in the space of a week! 

What were your favorite things to do in Singapore?

Singapore is a mini melting pot of southeast Asian culture so you can experience so much on such a tiny island. From international cuisine, beaches and jungle walks, to the largest shopping malls with massive waterfalls inside. Singapore is very small and its greatest draw is the brilliant access to the rest of Asia. My husband and our daughters literally travelled everywhere when we were there. 

"Havas was a great fit because my career has encompassed everything the Vivendi group represents: content, creative and media."

How have you adjusted to life in London? What are some of the things you missed, and didn’t miss? 

I really missed the seasons, wearing layers, boots, the fresh air, country walks and pubs. Believe it or not I even missed the fuzzy rain on my face. I didn’t miss the tube! Singapore’s public transport system is amazing! 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My most meaningful media growing up was crime drama TV shows like Cagney and Lacey, Quincy and Juliet Bravo, so I wanted to be a detective. I’ve often said the intelligence and insight part of the job is like being a detective so I’ve partially realized the dream!

What are your biggest pet peeves?

Lack of humility, integrity, manners and any form of snobbery. 

What do you love to do outside of work, what are your other passions?

I have an eight-year-old and a five-year-old who keep me feeling young at the weekends. I’ll do anything they’re up for which is normally everything!

My ‘me-time’ is working out for 25 minutes every weekday morning at 6.15am. If I miss it I don’t feel like myself for the day. 

I also love to be social and by that I mean the traditional form of going out and having brilliant fun with mates and family, as opposed to being on social. Social media is taking up less and less of my time nowadays which is a good thing! 

How do you think the advertising industry (and your role) will evolve throughout the next five years? 

People increasingly care less about brands and avoid messages being pushed at them, hence the need to be more meaningful. I think with the rise of ad-free subscription based models across a number of platforms, the role of publishers and content providers will become increasingly more relevant in providing insight around why, how and what people want to experience and what we create to engage with them. Those shared experiences from trusted cultural and content influencers will become the most effective way for brands to create relationships with consumers. With Havas’ Vivendi content ownership across music, film and gaming, we are the leaders in culture, and we are in the most meaningful network for brands to create genuine connections with consumers. 

Patricia Murphy is a content creator with a background in digital health and lifestyle journalism. She loves to chat and tell stories.

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