B&T TV: Initiative’s Melissa Fein Says Agency Was “Boring, Vanilla, Homogenous” Before She Took Over

B&T TV: Initiative’s Melissa Fein Says Agency Was “Boring, Vanilla, Homogenous” Before She Took Over

Initiative’s CEO Melissa Fein has said that the agency was “boring, vanilla and homogenous” before she took over in 2017.

Chatting with Chris Taylor for B&T TV, Fein explained that the changes she has made in the role and instituting a high-performance culture were critical to the agency’s success and culminated in its recent Campaign Global Agency of the Year Award.

Of course, Fein was quick to make clear that the gong pales in comparison to the B&T Women in Media Woman of the Year Award she scooped last year.

The B&T Women in Media Awards 2023 are due to take place on 25 August. You can enter here for one (or more) of the 28 categories or buy your tickets before they sell out

Fein also explained how the agency has focused on itself, rather than comparing itself to others within the industry. She did concede that not everyone has been able to cut the mustard within the Initiative offices but this was of benefit to everyone.

Fein also opened up and spoke candidly with Taylor about the responsibility she feels being a woman leading in the media industry.

“I take being a woman advocate in this industry very seriously,” she explained.

“If anything, it helped me refocus and make me contribute in a deeper way within the 12 months that followed the award.”

When she’s not winning awards and building an award-winning agency, Fein also sits on the board of Swimming Australia, another area that is close to her heart. As a teenager, she swam competitively but following the disaster at the Maccabiah Games in 1997 that killed four Australian athletes and injured more than 60, including athletes that Fein trained with, she took a step back.

“That for me was pretty traumatic and so I stopped pool swimming and took a few years off before I found ocean swimming.

“But I always felt that I never completed getting to the highest level that I could have. I was always passionate about how I can give back to the swimming community.”




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