10 questions with... Liz Wilson, COO of Karmarama

The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions With... features Liz Wilson, chief operating officer of Karmarama.

Karmarama's Liz Wilson

What was your first ever job?

I’ve got a pretty strong work ethic so I’ve always worked since secondary school when I taught ballet in the evenings and weekends. It’s a great discipline and gives you a love of precision and technique that lasts a lifetime.

Why did you get into advertising?

An older friend from university got a job at JWT. It looked nothing like any job I knew - energy, commitment, passion, obvious enjoyment; it felt almost vocational. Who knew normal people like me could work in a creative business? I jumped in and I’ve been here ever since. But I’m always conscious that I’d never have found my way into the creative industry without that chance connection, and there must still be many talented school and university leavers we miss out on because we never connect with them.

Who is the person you most admire in the industry and why?

All of the agency founders and modernisers over the years.

What’s the most surprising thing you have learned about the marcomms sector?

Whether it’s on an individual or a collective level, I’m constantly amazed by how habit drives just about everything in life: how we work, who we hire, how we behave, which brands we choose. Change is incredibly hard; creativity is how we improve the odds.

What have you learned from any mistakes you’ve made in your career?

That none of them matters as much as you think at the time and they’re never wasted. I’ve done one or two really daft things over the years and, as trite as it sounds, honestly those experiences were the making of me.

You go to the bar for a drink at an awards night - what do you order?

Depends what time it is, but I do like an espresso martini. I’m more of a lark than an owl so it’s medicinal.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

This feels like a time of real transformation for the industry. It’s exciting to think that what we’re doing at Karmarama, with Accenture Interactive, is right at the forefront, exploring and pioneering a different way into the future.

If you were hosting an industry panel who would be your ideal line up?

The practitioners vs the professors on the transformation of the industry: Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV and Mhairi McEwan, Brand Learning with Scott Galloway and Mark Ritson.

Best book you have ever read?

Impossible question! In business, maybe it’s The Experience Economy. Published about twenty years ago and we’re still marching towards that vision now, where experience and experiences transform value.

What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

You catch more bees with honey.

10 Questions With will return next week.

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