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The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are answered by Facebook’s VP for EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn.

 

What was your first ever job?

My first job was as a waitress for my parent's catering company. We were often booked for celebrations like weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Playing a part in these special days and helping to create memories that people will cherish for years was such a privilege. 

 

It was also a great opportunity to see first-hand the commitment and dedication needed to set up and successfully grow a business. In particular, watching the role my mum took in leading the business has been an inspiration that I've carried with me throughout my career.

 

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?

 

Silos. It's a word I've been guilty of using, but the concept frustrates me far more than the buzzword. Great marketing is about achieving results for a brand or organisation - and for this to happen we need to think and act collaboratively.

 

Breaking down silos in the industry was something I focused on during my time as president of the IPA. One part of this was leading trade visits to other creative hubs around the world in order to create new collaborations and exchange ideas.

Who would you most love to share a coffee with?

I have in the past admitted to having a crush on Idris Elba...

Highlight of your career (so far?)

The concept of approaching my career with a view to picking a highlight is somewhat alien to me. I've always thought about it as more of a journey, with highs and lows, twists and turns, surprises and challenges and my focus is always on the things to come.

 

That said, throughout my years in the industry, one thing I've always been appreciative of are the opportunities I've had to meet an amazing array of interesting and inspiring people, from courageous entrepreneurs and selfless Group Admins to ingenious creatives. Meeting new people, with different ideas, experiences and perspectives is one of the things that gives me real energy and drive - and is one of the reasons I love going to work. 

Which advert is your all time favourite? 

 

So many spring to mind but whenever I'm asked this, I always go back to the ad that inspired me to go into advertising: Levi’s Laundrette. I still remember it hitting our television in the 80s. There are no words in “Laundrette”, just a single iconic backing track and a 60 second story which manages to be both hilarious and cool at the same time. It completely transported you to a world of 50s Americana and represented a whole new way of telling stories and selling product that was more daring and willing to experiment. 

Which city in the world makes you happiest and why?

This would have to be London because this is where my family are and it is where I call home. Manchester comes very a close second. It's where I grew up, and I'll always be proud of my northern roots. The strength of the community in this city is remarkable. It has truly shown how it can come together in the face of adversity. 

Best advice you ever heard or received?

 

Have the courage to speak out, and to bring your whole self to work. Don't just stick to what you know or what has always been done. Embrace and feed your curiosity and don't be afraid to challenge the status quo.

Which do you prefer; Breakfast/lunch or dinner for a meeting?

For a typical working meeting, it would have to be breakfast or lunch. A dinner setting is more intimate, more suited to entertaining and getting to know people on a personal level. 

Favourite interview that you have conducted and why?

I've met so many incredible people over the past year. Interviewing Victoria Beckham on International Women's Day this year was a particularly special moment for me. Since launching the #SheMeansBusiness campaign to support female entrepreneurs, I've conducted many interviews and Facebook Lives with successful business leaders. Victoria is a particularly incredible woman and it's no surprise to me that so many young girls look up to her. 

What one question do you never want anyone to ask you?

 

How do you manage your work-life balance? It's a question I find frustrating because our culture is still hard-wired against women in leadership roles.

 

I have four children, a daughter and three sons. And often, behind that question, is a suggestion that I’m either a part-time mother because I work or that I put my career before my kids. I'm neither. I'm all in. It hasn’t always been easy but I have always found a way. 

 

Many people ask how I balance family and being busy. But no-one – to this day – has ever asked my husband how he has managed to balance his career and four children.

 

Read more entries of The Drum’s 10 Questions with different media and marketing professionals each week.