60 seconds with... Laura Giffard
What was your first job?
I was an 'accompagnatrice' (chaperone) on my school bus. I basically had to keep all the kids in check and take the little ones to nursery school. Not much has changed, eh!
Who’s most influenced your career, and why?
A combination of people. My mum for teaching me to apply a "work hard, play hard" approach to life. My dad for encouraging my thirst for knowledge with his saying "la curiosità è un segno d'intelligenza" (curiosity is a sign of intelligence) and for reminding me that in life you never stop learning. I also had a wonderful professor called Dominic Elliott during my MBA who taught a module called "managing the environment": it was my first contact with strategic marketing and I've been hooked ever since!
What’s your greatest business achievement?
Working with winning teams. I'm really proud of the work I've done over the years for the likes of Google, Bronnley and Sanctuary Spa. As with all projects in our industry so much of this was thanks to having amazing clients who put their trust in our creativity and who had vision.
What was your worst mistake – and what did you learn?
When I decided it was a good idea to email my creative director to let him know I didn't like how he spoke to me during a meeting. He took it to be an HR complaint rather than the consequences of a bruised ego of a young (and somewhat inexperienced) colleague. Thank goodness common sense prevailed and I stopped emailing and talked in person. We chatted, hugged it out and moved on. Moral of the story, I have learned to always have important conversations face to face. Email is simply asking for things to get lost in translation.
What gadget can’t you live without?
My GHDs. I am such a naughties girl.
How do you describe your job to your mates?
I work with some of the smartest strategists and creatives. My job is to get us in front of the right clients and make sure our own brand and communications reflect the amazing quality of work done in the studio. I love my job.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Not sure, clearly goes in one ear and out of the other!
In the words of Colin Powell; "You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere."
And the best?
Not to dwell on mistakes. Acknowledge them, understand why they happened and move forward with the understanding that will minimise the likelihood of it happening again.
Which one person would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Sheryl Sandberg. Because she is an inspiration to women in business. I really admire her straightforward approach. She is perceptive, pragmatic and not afraid to seem vulnerable. I have a lot of time for her.
What luxury would you take with you to a desert island?
Bear Grylls! I don't need luxury, I need survival!