Fiona Gordon moved to Singapore in 2011 to take over the reins from Stephen Mangham as Group Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Singapore.
Prior to Gordon’s promotion to Group Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Singapore, she led the agency’s Global Brand Management (GBM) matrix, a role she held for two years.
All along an agency person, what motivated Gordon to join Ogilvy was that iconic red jacket. Gordon, initially studied English Literature in Edinburgh University . While at the start of her career she did consider other fields such as journalism, what was clear to her was that she would never go into academic.
When not working, Gordon enjoys her Sunday brunches and travel. Next up in her to see list is the Taj Mahal. Find out a little bit more about Gordon here:
1. When you’re not working, what will you be doing, aside from spending time with the family?
I love to travel and explore new countries. The most recent place I visited was Borobudur in Java, which was really beautiful. Getting together with loved ones in a foreign location you’ve never experienced is also a great way to spend quality time with my friends and family who are spread out around the world.
2. Who was the mentor who most influenced you and why?
A lady called Jane Mercer, who was my first boss in Ogilvy. She was hugely influential. She was a true ‘gentlewoman with brains’ and actually helped me get a big break. She was my boss on American Express and had worked in Ogilvy New York and so recommended me to the American Express team there. It was a terrific experience to move to where the senior clients where headquartered and really learn how to be at the heart of a big global brand over a period of five years… and also, of course, it was also brilliant to live in the Big Apple!
3. Harshest thing said to you in your career:
It was more an action than actual words. A creative director once threw a briefcase at my head when I was an account executive because we hadn’t sold the work to the client. Top tip – learn to duck fast.
4. When you were a newbie in the industry, did you dream you would be CEO one day? What kind of CEO did you want to be and how closely have you stuck to it?
My dream was really more to work on great brands and with smart people, from whom you can learn and be consistently inspired. While it may be 50 years since David Ogilvy wrote ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’, much of his thinking remains relevant today and I try to stick to his central message of “if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” I think you can also grow giants if you show people you believe in them, many people in my career have believed in me so I try to pass on that encouragement.
5. Your biggest blunder in your career:
In my early days I managed in an edit to put the wrong phone number on a DRTV edit. Luckily we checked it before it aired otherwise our card members would have been greeted by an escort firm! It certainly taught me to proof read. Check, check again and check once more.
6. Proudest moment in your career:
I was hugely proud of the team when we won the IPA prize for Health Promotion Board ‘I Quit’ campaign last year, which was the first for a Singapore agency. It was particularly rewarding to be recognised on a piece of business we are very passionate about.
7. Craziest thing your staff has told you:
I once got an urgent text during a big client meeting. It read: “You can relax, Chootiya has been found.” It took me a few minutes to move from being totally baffled to figuring out that they were talking about the agency hamster, which had escaped from its cage and gone walkabout.
8. What do you dislike most about advertising/your job?
Sometimes we can treat it a bit too much like ER (Emergency room) and we have to remember it is more like PR (public relations).
9. One thing you would say to a newbie in the industry:
It’s going to be a roller coaster so make sure you like and trust the people you work with and remember to laugh a lot.
10. Your first job (give pics):
My first job was as a graduate trainee at Ogilvy & Mather London right out of Edinburgh University. This is me in the new outfit I bought for work. I was very chuffed to buy an ‘Ogilvy red’ jacket (I had seen David Ogilvy’s red braces) with my first pay packet and thought I had really entered the glamorous world of advertising.
Meet the CEOs is an ongoing series by Marketing Magazine.