Sam Cousins, The Media Store’s chief strategy officer, has led a varied life, to say the least. From being a swimming teacher and a lifeguard to working at dentsu X and iProspect before joining The Media Store earlier this year, Cousins has had one helluva journey.
“Before I fell into media, I worked various jobs; a swimming teacher and a lifeguard (it was the 90s, and we all wanted to be on Baywatch), working in sales in a car dealership and behind plenty of bars. Still, my most interesting and longest job was being a nanny in Paris. I lived there for almost 18 months with a beautiful French family with whom I am still in touch with today,” she told B&T.
“The father was English and a famous voice-over artist who frequently worked for Chanel and famously voiced the Vanessa Paradis Coco Chanel ad. I lived in a small chambre de bonne on the roof of a seven-story French building, the family I worked for took up the first two floors. A chambre de bonne used to be the maid’s quarters and is often rented as a tiny studio apartment. I looked after two children, Emily and Ben, who were four and six months of age when I started. They are now 34 and 30. Emily now has a daughter, and Ben doesn’t have kids yet, though he works as a sound engineer. I am still in touch with this beautiful family and they now love seeing photos of my children”.
After not really knowing what she wanted to do after school, Cousins decided to put her “good grades” in English, Art and French to work in Paris before returning to the UK for university.
“After graduating, I found a full-service creative agency and joined a graduate training program. I eventually ended up in the media department. The rest is history, moving to Mediacom in London before jetting to Australia in 2006 and joining Mitchells just as they had won the Victorian government account. That kickstarted my seventeen-year tenure at Mitchells, Aegis & Dentsu,” she explained.
So, what lessons can ad execs take from au pairs?
“Working with children at a young age taught me the true meaning of patience and how to work whilst sporting a hangover! [An essential skill, as the B&T team will attest] The creativity needed to entertain kids daily was relentless, and often I had to switch between languages,” Cousins said.
“Organisation skills and planning, down to the minute to avoid meltdowns and mishaps, prepared me for a life servicing clients. Every day was different, and I liken all those aspects to the world of media. The resilience and confidence I gained moving to a foreign country, learning the language, and getting a new job set me up for life. I had to make friends proactively, often connecting with people in bars, the supermarket, or even parks. This is why I find it easy to talk to anyone in varying situations.
“My tenure in France has also left me with a love for red wine and French food, and what better industry than media to enjoy them over a long lunch!”
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