They are the first faces we see when we walk in the door, the warm welcome that sets the tone for the day; they are the people that make you want to keep coming back and if you ask anyone inside the companies themselves – they are the ones that keep the office running.
Every week on B&T, we take a look at a particular discipline within adland to shout out the Best of the Best. Recently, we’ve taken a look at the best People Leaders, Business Supporters and Experiential Producers.
As ever, we’ve based this list on intense discussions with our industry friends, sources and confidants and our own experience of arriving sweaty, dishevelled and usually late to interview someone from these companies. So here’s to the real MVPs! Without any further ado, here they are the Best of the Best – Directors of First Impressions:
10. Selina Govind, Havas
With more than 20 years of experience in finance, office and event management in a variety of industries, Govind is a skilled administrator and adaptable manager who is a real driving force behind Havas’ agencies. Govind has also worked as the executive assistant to the CEO across Havas Red, Global CEO Havas Red and Havas Creative Network Australia since November 2021 – no mean feat.
9. Claire Aylott, GroupM
Since joining GroupM 20 years ago, Aylott has been a regular fixture within the GroupM Sydney offices. After more than 20 years in the company, it would be hard to find another member of the team who knows the GroupM office, clients and business quite as well as Aylott does.
8. Barbara Wilton, SCA
Wilton is a force to be reckoned with inside the Southern Cross Austereo team. As the office administrator and receptionist, Wilton is a dynamic and excellent administrator who keeps the SCA offices running incredibly smoothly. Her work has certainly been appreciated, with colleagues describing her as a “legend” within the SCA family.
7. Simon Drake, Leo Burnett Australia
Since 2018, Drake has been one of the most important people within the Leo Burnett Australia set up working as an executive assistant, as well as the front of house. But Drake’s journey with Leos started much earlier, having worked for the agency in 2011 as a finance assistant and from 2012 to 2020 as an office assistant before a short stint working as the experience manager within Publicis more broadly.
6. Isabella Lane, Publicis
Since joining Publicis Groupe as the front office specialist nine months ago, Lane has further elevated the Groupe’s front-of-house experience for all clients and staff members. Before joining the Groupe’s Experience Team, she worked in luxury fashion, spending seven years with Australian designer Scanlan Theodore, where she learned the importance of creating a bespoke experience for everyone who walks through the front door. This role working for a high-end brand also taught her how to adapt to the needs of each unique individual and tailor the experience to suit them.
5. James (Jimmy) Schaw, Clemenger BBDO
Schaw has been a huge part of the Clems family since he joined in 2009 when he started as a catering manager. In 2017, he switched roles, commencing as the building and operations manager. The team inside Clemenger describe Schaw as charismatic and an all-round talent. In fact, one of his colleagues professed: “Not sure we should be shouting [him] out to the world, quite frankly – he’s ours,” they said.
4. Sue Vinci, Wavemaker
Vinci is practically a part of the furniture inside the Wavemaker Melbourne offices, having started with the agency more than 13 years ago. Vinci is a respected office manager who goes above and beyond to support the team and Wavemaker clients. Her experience and professionalism has gone a long way to helping Wavemaker be crowned B&T‘s Media Agency of the Year at last week’s B&T Awards.
3. Jane McPhillips, WPP
McPhillips has worked as the front-of-house at WPP since 2018, when she commenced as an administrative assistant. Since then, she has worked her way up the rankings and is now a respected campus experience manager — a grandiose title, perhaps but one that is fully deserved. McPhillips is passionate about creating engaging, meaningful, and personalised experiences that create a collaborative and inclusive environment for WPP’s employees and clients in its Melbourne offices.
2. Caroline Meyer, TBWA\Sydney
Meyer has been the front-of-house manager at TBWA\Sydney since 2018. The team she has supported every day since describes her as an “absolute legend” who “keeps the whole agency on its feet”. With a background in television production, Meyer is a strong administrator, having joined after ten years as a production coordinator in the UK.
1. Diana Younes, BMF
Could there be anyone else for the number one spot? For 25 years, Younes has been the face of BMF. Known for her trademark greeting, “Hello Chickens”, Younes is a beloved and core member of the BMF family. A dynamic and skilled administrator, she is renowned in the industry for her bright personality and welcoming nature.
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