Need Something Done? Ask Adland’s Best Of The Best In Business Support, Presented By Finecast, Part Of GroupM Nexus

Need Something Done? Ask Adland’s Best Of The Best In Business Support, Presented By Finecast, Part Of GroupM Nexus

They say that if you want to get something done, you should ask a busy person. And these ten women are likely the busiest people across the entirety of media and advertising.

If we’re being honest, Business Support doesn’t do their work justice. These are the people who bind the organisations they work in together, keep projects on track and are irreplaceable for the executives they support.

Now, you’ll notice that there are no men on this list. This does not reflect a belief at B&T that these kinds of roles are only for women — far from it. This list of 10 reflects the people who are the Best of the Best at supporting and assisting the business leaders at their companies.

Every week on B&T, we take an industry discipline and unearth its best practitioners. Last week, we looked at the Best Of The Best Experiential Producers and before that, it was the Best Of The Best Social Changemakers and the Best Of The Best: Media Planning Directors.

But, this week, we’re looking at the Best of the Best in Business Support. Without any further ado, let’s kick-off.

10. Kathy Clegg, executive assistant, office manager, SPEED 

Clegg might have only joined SPEED less than six months ago but she has a very strong pedigree within the business support space. She spent more than 11 years at GroupM as the EA to the CEO and 10 months as the EA to the CEO of EssenceMediacom. Now the EA and office manager at indie media shop SPEED, she assists the firm’s managing partner Ian Perrin as it continues to sweep up account wins. Hopefully, Clegg can help Perrin work on his sweary disposition.

9. Kristen Izatt, executive assistant to the CEO, Dentsu Creative

Izatt has been with Dentsu’s Creative arm for just under a year but she has already been a great help to CEO Kirsty Muddle and the rest of the Dentsu team. Izatt was described to us as one of the best EAs in the business and “lovely” and “helpful”. No matter how strange the request, Izatt endeavours to get the job done — whether it’s for Muddle or anyone else. Before joining Dentsu Creative, she spent seven years at M&C Saatchi, five of which were spent as an EA.

8. Delwyn Rees, executive assistant to the CEO, Publicis Groupe ANZ

Rees has been the very able assistant to Publicis Groupe ANZ head honcho Mike Rebelo for the last four years. During that time, she has handled everything from managing budgets to itineraries to communication and project management. However, far from a one-trick-pony, Rees has had one of the most interesting career trajectories of anyone in adland — skills that serve her well in her current role. Before joining Publicis, she spent six years running her own project management firm. Before that, Rees held a variety of roles from artist relations to executive assistant at Sony Music and Warner Music in New Zealand, Australia and the UK — making her not only capable but cool.

7. Lisa Euvrard, executive assistant to the CEO, EssenceMediacom

It is often said that the media industry has a problem with staff retention. But Euvrard’s commitment to GroupM is remarkable. She joined the MediaCom Melbourne office in 2005 as a front-of-house/ office manager, spending almost a decade in the role. In 2015, she moved to become an EA and then, in 2017, she became EA to the CEO of MediaCom. Post-merger with Essence, she has been ably supporting B&T fave CEO Pippa Berlocher. A colleague of Euvrard told us that she was “one of the most professional, capable and effective people” they had ever met or worked with.

6. Hilary Stevens, executive assistant to the country president, WPP

Stevens has been WPP ANZ president Rose Herceg’s right-hand woman for nigh on two years. It is a job that comes with a huge responsibility but Stevens’ energetic and capable approach keeps Herceg’s busy professional life — and WPP as a whole —running smoothly. Prior to assisting Herceg, she was the EA for WPP’s chief financial and strategy officers and, before that, she served as the EA to the general counsel, company secretary and board, as well as the CFO. That level of experience gives Stevens an almost unmatched edge.

5. Renae Joseph, chief of staff, Initiative

Joseph returned to Initiative following maternity leave earlier this year and jumped straight back in to become the agency’s chief of staff. Now, she might look out of place amongst all the EAs on this list, but the chief of staff is one of the most critical business support functions. In her new-ish role, she supports and advises Initiative’s award-winning team of execs and acts as a liaison between the rank-and-file, execs and CEO, Mel Fein. The role also encompasses organising and optimising procedures and implementing strategies. Truly, Joseph is the glue that holds Initiative together and makes it greater than the sum of its parts.

4. Melissa Fazzalaro, operations director, LEVO

Another job title that might look out of place here but, in her role as operations director — which she was promoted to in April — Fazzalaro has been absolutely instrumental in everything that LEVO has achieved over the last three years. Her contribution was so instrumental that she won the Business Support category at this year’s Women Leading Tech Awards, beating out an incredibly talented field. during her time at the agency, she has helped LEVO more than double its headcount without going through the all-too-common growing pains that companies can experience by supporting teams across finance to recruitment, project resourcing, and onboarding.

3. Madelaine Zahr, executive assistant to country manager, Pinterest

Zahr has been with Pinterest for four years, assisting and supporting its exceptional Melinda Petrunoff since she joined in December 2021. Not content with helping support Pinterest’s ideas and initiatives come to life, she also serves as the company’s office ninja, keeping its stylish digs in check. Zahr was also recognised at this year’s Women Leading Tech Awards for her tireless work supporting Pinterest’s growth over the last three years. She also serves as co-chair of Pinterest’s Culture Committee, where she strategically drives the business to focus on the social and cultural causes where Pinterest can have the most impact.

2. Tina Zissis, executive assistant, GroupM

Every company has a handful of guns that get things done. However, there are few as capable and driven as Zissis. She joined GroupM from OMD in January 2022 and has been the lifeline and lifeblood of Aimee Buchanan’s leadership team at GroupM. She hasn’t only been supporting the leadership team, however. She centralised regular check-ins with the EAs in all of GroupM’s agencies, bringing the support team across the agencies together, forming a supportive community for her peers and helping them work more collaboratively. Zissis was shortlisted again for the Business Support category at the 2023 Women in Media Awards after winning the gong in 2022. However, she didn’t manage to scoop the top prize. That fell to the next person on our list…

1. Amanda Curr, executive assistant to the chief revenue officer, Seven West Media

The award-winning Curr has been with Seven for more than two decades, joining the network in 1999 to work on its corporate hospitality for the Sydney Olympics. Now, she serves as Kurt Burnette’s EA. But, as if assisting one of the most important people in media wasn’t enough, she is responsible for most aspects of the major live events that Seven puts on every single year. This year she ran the first Seven sales conference in 14 years – bringing together metro and regional teams for the first time since they merged. The event was a hotel takeover at the Hunter Valley for over 150 people and Curr was responsible for everything including logistics, IT infrastructure, rooming, merchandise personalised menus and more. They say we all have the same hours in the day. But, with Curr’s relentless output, we’re almost convinced that there must be two of her.

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