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Meet TBWA’s Ara Hampartsoumian

2014 saw BBH veteran Ara Hampartsoumian (pictured) join TBWASingapore on 21 July 2014 as managing director.

What’s he like as a leader? Here’s leadership in Hampartsoumian’s own words.

Describe your management style

I like to think I set clear direction and goals and give people what they need, to do what they have to do.

Career path

After getting a degree in Graphic Design in Montreal in 1989, I got my first agency role as a production manager for an Ogilvy&Mather affiliate: The Academy Ogilvy. Three years later I moved to Los Angeles where I worked for a large printing company selling print services to advertising agencies throughout California and Nevada.

After nearly five years, I decided I needed a ‘reset’ and moved to the Bahamas where I had a successful run at opening and managing the first official advertising agency in Nassau: The Thyme Group. I then dipped out and had a short stint ‘beach bumming’ under the guise of running my own bar. The sun, sea and sand does things to you…

As the pace was possibly too slow for a 33 year old I felt restless, so I decided to pack it up and moved to Singapore where I joined BBDO as a group account director. Soon after I found myself with start-up Fallon where I spent four years running regional and local accounts as well as new business development. My next stop was BBH where I stayed for nearly nine years in a similar role running several large regional brands as well as business development regionally across three markets.

I joined TBWAGroup Singapore as managing director in July of 2014.

Your first job? 

Newspaper Delivery Boy 12 years old.

Who was the mentor who most influenced you and why? 

I have 2, my father who taught me humility and the need to have a sense of humor in life and my uncle Tro Piliguian who inspired me into a career in advertising. He was the original Madman.

 Proudest moment in your career?

Becoming MD of TBWAGroup Singapore.

Your biggest blunder in your career?

Too many to count really.

When you’re not working, what will you be doing, aside from spending time with the family?

Yoga! Nah… Actually wielding gaming controls, scoring all kinds of goals and slaying zombies…can’t help the kid in me.

Harshest thing said to you in your career

You’re fired!

When you were a newbie in the industry, did you dream you would lead the agency one day? What kind of leader did you want to be and how closely have you stuck to it?

Yes, I did actually. I wanted to emulate my uncle and his principled approach. I believe I am following that path.

Craziest thing your staff has told you

Really!? I can’t break that trust… What goes on in the office, stays in the office or ends up on Facebook.

One thing you would say to a newbie in the industry

Be passionate, stay passionate. Give a shit.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Making sure all the plates are spinning… all the time.

One thing you hate most about advertising

Arrogance – in all shapes and forms.

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