Tue, 18 Aug 2020 14:28:55 GMT
Sara Patel is director of fundraising at NABS, the support organisation for advertising and media. Before joining NABS, Sara held a number of senior roles in advertising including commercial director at Amplifi and Dentsu Women and Leadership. Sara is also a mentor at Media For All (MEFA), helping to bring diverse talent into the industry.
Q> What was your first job in the advertising industry?
Sara> Digital planner buyer at Zenith Optimedia
Q> You have a strong background in planning and sales, how will this help you in your fundraising role?
Sara> I have extensive experience across both sales and agency-side businesses. This will be invaluable to my fundraising role, as I really understand how these business work – what they need, what their challenges are, how they operate within the industry. I’ve been where they are, and that’s why I know how crucial wellbeing is for their business and their people.
Q> Before doing what you do now, did you work in any other field/ have any different career path?
Sara> I’ve worked in media since I left university. However, before that I worked in a law firm and studied business with law at university. I was on track for a corporate law career, but I fell into the media and I’ve never looked back. Being an Indian child of immigrants, I worked in the family businesses when I was much younger, including a newsagent and a petrol station.
Q> What was your first milestone in the industry – a project you worked on that you were super proud of?
Sara> When I worked at display advertising company myThings, we created a brand new revenue stream: a performance-based video product, using dynamic creative to sell multiple retail products based on a user’s search. It was innovative and cost-efficient and it helped drive significant sales revenue for one of the UK’s largest retailers. It was a tremendous personal achievement.
Q> Do you have any personal or side projects on the go? What is it, what inspired it and why is it important to you?
Sarah> I am a role model and mentor for Media For All. I’m one of the very few Asian women who has worked at such a high level in commercial trading and it’s important to me that other people from diverse backgrounds can access opportunities. I want to drive forward the D&I agenda and influence positive change.
Q> What motivates you at work?
Sara> Knowing the money NABS raises goes towards helping people in our industry to thrive again, even when they’ve been facing challenges.
Q> Why did you decide to make the move to NABS?
Sara> I wanted to combine my commercial drive with a focus on helping people.
Q> What are you looking forward to working on at NABS?
Sara> Overall, driving change in our industry to help support the wellbeing of everybody who works in it. I’m also excited to make connections with people across adland, and also to run fundraising events (virtually for now, and back to our regular live events when it’s safe to do so).
Q> What changes can you see in working culture in adland since COVID struck, and how are these reflected in NABS' culture and their work?
Sara> Adland has been affected significantly by COVID, especially outdoor, cinema and print. The nature of our industry is interactive and relationship-based. We’ve had to change the way we work and find new ways to connect with our donors and deliver events. This is challenging but there are also some plus points. For example with our Art Auction happening on 24 September, because that’s going online, it’s open to the whole country, whereas usually it’s held in Scotland as a very popular regional event.
Q> What are the aspects of your work that you really obsess over?
Sara> I’m obsessed by budgets and delivering events on time.
Q> How would you describe your approach to work?
Sara> I approach my work in a collaborative and realistic manner.
Q> Who inspires you in adland and why?
Sara> Liz Jones at Conker. Liz is a strong female leader, who has supported and inspired me to achieve my goals, and to not give up.
Q> Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
Sara> I love to travel and cook in my spare time.