As chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific region at Possible Worldwide, Kenny Powar is responsible for growth, profitability, and operations. Under his direction, the agency won the Marketing Magazine’s “Agency of the Year” title in 2009 and 2012. We catch up with the man to see what makes him tick.
When you’re not working, what are you up to?
Driving – I’m an absolute petrol head. I also like watching team sports, especially football and rugby.
Who was the mentor who most influenced you and why?
I’d have to say my first boss in the industry – John Foenander. He was a big data guy before ‘big data’ existed. He’s also a genuine balance of right and left brain.
Harshest thing said to you in your career
“What do you mean you don’t play golf? What kind of CEO are you?”
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?
To be honest I kind of stumbled into the industry. After studying engineering at university I thought I’d try my hand at being a techie. A mate was working in a direct and database marketing agency so I gave it a go.
In my role, I’ve been heavily influenced by team sports. From my experience, the best sports teams have a core of individuals who are committed to winning and ready to back up each other when needed. It’s the same thing with a successful business.
Biggest blunder in your career:
Too many to list. In our industry things change so quickly you have to experiment and take risks. Unfortunately when you do sometimes you break things! However, when you get it right you can get some amazing results.
Proudest moment in your career:
I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the industry. Proudest moment of my career? No idea – it’s not over yet. Will let you know when I switch careers to become a professional race car driver…
Craziest thing your staff has told you:
My colleagues have an evil streak which surfaces every year. One year they convinced our top three clients around the world to send me termination notices…on my birthday. As you can imagine I almost had a heart attack! When they told me it was just a birthday prank I was tempted to throw them all off our helipad!
What do you dislike most about advertising/your job?
That the industry is still measured by awards rather than results.
One thing you would say to a newbie in the industry:
As my mate Shrek would say – it’s better out than in. Don’t be afraid to use your voice.
What was your first job?
Shelf stacker and trolley collector at Sainsbury’s (a grocery store with a rather fetching brown uniform)