32 influential women share advice to their younger selves | M&M Global

32 influential women share advice to their younger selves

In a joint celebration of International Women’s Day and the fact that M&M Global turns 32 this week, we asked 32 of the most influential women in Media what they wish they’d known when they were starting out. They dispensed some invaluable advice that they’d go back and tell their younger selves. Real pearls of wisdom that are inspiring to us all, but in particular will encourage and nurture anyone – at the start of their career in the industry. 

“Look for people you admire and that you can learn from. Be inspired by them, but focus on shaping your own way and remember you are not alone in this process”
Larissa Campos, Head of Creative Brand Solutions Latin America, Disney

View every situation as an opportunity to grow. As I reflect back on my career, the most challenging roles and situations helped me grow the most – in all cases I was better for what I learned through those experiences. Difficult situations force you to flex and develop skills that make you stronger and expose blind spots you probably didn’t realize you have. Don’t be intimidated by challenges, run towards them and take them head-on. I promise you will be better for it, no matter the immediate outcome.”
Dana Bhargava, Head of Experience Planning and Media, Sanofi Consumer Health


 “I would tell myself to go and watch The Wizard of Oz and listen…really listen…to the words of Glinda The Good Witch when she says ‘you are capable of more than you know’.”
Sam Phillips, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, REPRESENTATION


I wasn’t aware how much my identity, my passions and the things that mean a lot to me outside of work would play such a role in my career development. So i would say embrace that unapologetically and whole. Be proud of who and what you are made of (flaws and all) never forget what you love and absolutely share the parts of you you think no one wants to know, because actually they do.”
Shanice Mears, Co-Founder and Head of Talent, The Elephant Room

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. This is actually of course a Maya Angelou quote, but it’s become the mantra of both my personal and work life; I start every brand workshop with it to encourage clients to forget their functional benefits and focus on building a connection with the consumer and, in my personal life, I will always prioritise building rapport; it’s why I have so many Uber driver stories (everyone tells me I should start a blog!)… I can’t just sit in the back quietly… I will always try and make a connection and often that has led to me uncovering some brilliant stories!”
Emma Harris, Chief, Glow London

“Get your foot in the door. You can find your department or title later. Just get started and keep going. Take as many meetings as you can in person. It’s so much easier working with people once you realize they are human beings instead of firstname.lastname@workemail.com. Don’t get attached to your blackberry. It will be useless in a few years. And when it becomes and iPhone with never ending emails remember to sometimes put it in a drawer. The emails will never stop, but try to remember the work you will be most proud of will not include ‘doing emails.’ Appreciate the sidetracks and the detours – they will get you where you are headed. Take the time to say thank you.”
Bre Rossetti, Chief Strategy Officer, Havas

To my younger self, or to anyone starting out in the industry – I would say – see the things that come easy to you as your superpowers. Growing up in a household of 3 generations, I found adapting my style and tone came easily to me – moving from being direct and detailed, to inquisitive and caring – and I didn’t value it as a skill. How wrong I was! Communication and empathy are the driving force of business. People ‘buy into people’ – not just products. Find your skill and value it.”
Miriam Faber, Content and Campaigns, Facebook

“Dare more, dare earlier. Move from co-pilot to pilot and be the driver of your own path. And, for god sake, be open and intentional about creating networks of support to go upwards in your life.”
Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder, We are all human

“Try not to let your emotions get the better of you (though at times you will and that’s okay) but when they do realise that it is a strength – not a weakness – that you are emotional when it comes to your work. Harness it properly, see it for what it is and it will make you far more resilient and powerful.”
Sophie Crowther, Senior Influencer Marketing Manager, MediaMonks

” Feel the fear and do it anyway! Fear can be crippling, so it sounds easier said than done, but it’s the fear that tends to hold women back from their own greatness. Fear of not being listened to or taken seriously after voicing your opinions in a male-dominated space; fear of going for that promotion because that position has only ever been filled by straight, white men; fear of being generally overlooked or seen as lesser for being a woman of colour. Own that fear, do it anyway and achieve your greatness and take that seat at the table. You have just as much a right to be there as everyone else. You earned it, girl!”
Eni Fe Cados, International Media Account Manager, ViacomCBS 

 “Master your brilliant basics and allow yourself the freedom to fail. I spent too much time when I first started out in the industry worrying about what I did not know. Allow yourself to ask questions, challenge and be open to embracing the unknown. Our industry is filled with specialists in their field. Learn from them, everyone started from somewhere.”
Simone Francis, UK Paid Media Manager, TikTok

“Have confidence that you can do anything you want to and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You want to set up your own business? Go do it.”
Melissa Sewgobind, Brand Partnerships Manager, Fuse UK

 “Pay attention to what’s said and more importantly what’s not uttered out loud. When there’s no room at the table here’s what to do. Put your foot in the crack, shift your elbows between those on either side, respectfully sharpen your digital inquiries, carving out space; your space. The space for your voice to be paid attention to, your ideas to blossom, your presence to matter – your contributions to be respected. Stay strong – stay determined…”
Esther Franklin, President, Global Strategy & Cultural Fluency, Spark Foundry

 “Find your passion, and commit to it. With this conviction, you’ll begin to see obstacles as opportunities, and work becomes a lot more fun. Stay curious, give others the benefit of the doubt, and when an amazing opportunity comes your way – go for it!”
Avery Akkineni, Vice President, VaynerMedia Singapore

“Don’t expect your career to be linear, there will be twists and turns that will help you gain greater perspective, learn new skills, and evolve with the industry. Be open to change and embrace it as a learning experience, even if it doesn’t align with your assumptions of what you think it’s supposed to be. There is no “supposed to be”, only the path that is yours.”
Jane Goldman, VP, Director of Content & Influencer Strategy, Citizens Bank

“Only you are in control of your career, not your line manager, or head of department, or CEO. So drive it, put your hand up, make wide connections, have a voice. People won’t just spot you. Take control.”
Lindsay Pattison, Chief Client Officer, WWP

“So many lessons learned I would love to share with my younger self. But two very important ones that I try to practice every day.  As you grow in your career, know that you continue to blaze a path as others have done before you. So as you look forward to your own goals, don’t forget to reach back at the same time and bring up the next generation of women leaders. Gratitude is a gift.  Build your own personal advisory board. Seek out various and diverse mentors and allies, and cultivate meaningful relationships.”
Maria Givens, Vice President, North America, LVMH

“Don’t drift along. Have a plan of where you want to be in three years time, and what you need to do to get there. It will change but that doesn’t matter, it’s having a target that’s important. Be honest with yourself on where your strengths lie – focus on doubling down on those and just minimise your weaknesses”
Sarah Mansfield, VP Global Media Europe,Nametrub, E-commerce, Operations, Unilever

Ask for what you want. Don’t assume others know. Each time you get a “no,” you will be a bit closer to getting a “yes.”
Esther Uhalte, Executive Director, global ecommerce, Bobbi Brown

“Asking for help is a strength not a weakness , get yourself a mentor and finally enjoy every part of the journey – it’s a fun and rewarding ride!”
Phillipa Brown, Global CEO, PHD

“The advice I would give to my younger self would be to learn beyond just marketing once getting out of college. There are many areas of knowledge that at first sight might only have an indirect relationship but that can allow you to understand a bigger context, such as psychology, behavioral economy, macroeconomy, new & emerging technologies, neuroscience of creativity, among others. To be a better rounded professional, it is crucial to connect the dots.”
Catalina Abadia, Director of advertising & media, North America, Hain Celestial Group

“There will always be bullies and naysayers, wherever you go. What is disappointing to see is women belittling other women. Don’t give-up. Don’t back down. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Most importantly, believe in yourself! Because with that, nothing else matters.”
Elaine Chum, Head of Digital & eCommerce Transformation, BAT North America

“Life is a journey, enjoy the trip not just the destination. To me means that you do not have to be in hurry to “become” but you need to live every step, without impatience to the next one. Be humble and learn, never stop learning!”
Francesca Rinni, Marketing Director, Volvo Group Italy

“Make sure you feel confident enough to self-promote yourselves. Be vocal about your achievements, your expectations, your terms and conditions. No one can fight better for yourself than YOU!”
Carolina Sandoval Villamil , Media Director, Latam, GSK

“Drive serendipity in your life, don’t miss a “party”. Never allow yourself to stop moving forward, you’re invincible. Be fair to you, always ask for 100 more than you think you’re worth because you probably are! If you don’t believe in what you sell or love your clients & partners, DON’T take the job, (regardless of bills). Money/ success will come with whatever you do well. Time is all you’ve in life, the question is how will you truly enjoy it doing what you do? I love my job.”
Celeny Da Silva, Owner, MarketMakers

“Gosh so much, I wish I had known that there are so many brilliant people who want to give back and support others as they develop their careers. I would say, get yourself mentors – lots of them. Seize every opportunity to learn and grow, no job is too small. If you can meet someone you can learn from, don’t be afraid to ask them for a coffee and a chance to pick their brains – what’s the worse that can happen, they can say no and you can then ask someone else. The likelihood is they won’t, they will be flattered and want to help you develop and you will get so much from it. And my advice to my younger self – be yourself, just go for it and always be kind.”
Gemma Greaves, Co-Founder, Nurture

Thank you to all of these wonderful women who took the time to share their insight and pay it forward some the lessons that they have learned along the way. We’re always keen to help nurture and provide opportunities for the next generation of talent in Media, and which you can find out more about as part of our Global Rising Stars programme. 






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