CEO Update | Getting inspired by the next generation of talent

Whenever I have the privilege of spending time with young people in our industry, I find myself inspired, refreshed, and reminded that we are an industry that depends upon new voices and talent to keep the rest of us sharp. In the last month, we have had several events that have left me energised and thoroughly optimistic for the future.

In mid-October, we held the final night of our Foundations of Media & Advertising course. The culmination of 12 weeks of training, the final night consists of team presentations on a variety of topics designed to give participants a deeper understanding of our industry. The teams throw professionals from different agencies together to solve a problem. The resulting presentations were a delight to watch; the teams created slide decks, videos, podcasts and interviews to inform the audience on topics as diverse as account management skills, media planning, data privacy and crisis management.

There were some amazing presenters; young professionals who would be a credit to any pitch team in town. The content was brilliantly curated; it’s some skill to explain the removal of online cookies and make it entertaining or provide genuinely useful guides for dealing with a crisis. What really shone through, though, was the transformative power of good teamwork. The course was a reminder that we have some amazing talent within the most junior ranks of our industry. Enabling this talent to shine gives an agency superpowers.

The second moment of inspiration occurred at the Comms Council Board Meeting in late October. The leadership of the First Five Rungs, our Young Leadership Group, attended the board meeting to share research findings from a study that they decided to do to understand how people in the first five years of their careers are currently feeling.

I won’t try to summarise the findings here – the First Five Rungs will be sharing their work with industry leaders in the coming weeks. What I will say is that the First Five Rungs is something quite special to our industry; a group of self-motivated, passionate advocates for the young people in our industry who go the extra mile to try to make our industry better for everyone. If you are in the formative years of your career and you haven’t yet made a connection with the First Five Rungs I strongly urge you to do so. Just email them at team@firstfiverungs.co.nz to get involved, network, and find a support group to navigate the challenges of growing your career.

The very next day Comms Council attended the Te Mātātahi Graduation Ceremony. Te Mātātahi is a very special initiative from Whāriki, sponsored by Meta, providing Digital Marketing Scholarships for rangatahi Māori. 30 rangatahi Māori were provided with digital marketing training, Meta certification, and exposure to the advertising industry. The participants came from all over Aotearoa, and along the way heard from people within our industry (Aroha Gell and Xavier Glass from the First Five Rungs; Michael Te Young from OMD; agency visits with Dentsu and FCB/RUN).

The energy in the room at the graduation was contagious, and the talent on display truly inspiring. The intent of Te Mātātahi is to develop the next generation of Māori storytellers. The scholarship recipients grabbed the opportunity with both hands and I have no doubt that if they choose to follow a path within our industry, we will all benefit from this amazing initiative.

Hearing from the Foundations participants, our First Five Rungs leaders and the Te Mātātahi graduates has reminded me of all the things that make our industry great. Creativity, intellect, passion and a desire to learn are a powerful cocktail. It exists, now, among the young people across our member agencies, and it exists outside of our industry, just looking for a place to shine.

As we work through the applications for the Comms Council Graduate Recruitment programme, it strikes me that the only barrier to the future of talent in our industry is our willingness to provide homes for all this potential. Take a punt, hire ahead of the immediate need, and build brilliance from within. If you think your agency could benefit from new voices that will inspire everyone already there, get in touch with maddie@commscouncil.nz and be part of our recruitment programme. It will remind you why you love our industry