Industry Profile: Mindshare chief investment officer Nicola Lewis

4 December 2017
Nicola Lewis

Our Industry Profile takes a weekly look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

Last week we met Integral Ad Science sales director Jessica Miles. Now, let's hear from Nicola Lewis, chief investment officer at Mindshare Sydney.

Duration in current role/time at the company:  

Almost three years 

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

Media, communications, and all things in-between! Executed through the lens of our core values: speed, teamwork and a solid dose of provocation.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?

My role comprises four intrinsically linked responsibilities: 1) investing our clients’ marketing dollars both strategically and responsibly; 2) delivering efficiencies and value that transcend paid, owned and earned; 3) working hard and respectfully with all media partners to unlock mutually beneficial opportunity; and 4) motivating and leading a high performing Investment team. Technically speaking that’s just a single sentence, right?

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

Mindshare has listened to its clients, to the market and to its staff and evolved in a way like no other. We have re-organised the agency to promote and harness specialism across Business Planning, Strategy, Connections Planning, Client Leadership and Strategic Investment. Importantly for me, I have been afforded the freedom to build a future facing investment team, a team that brings together robust media partnerships, fast and slow moving data sources, bespoke investment strategies and innovative implementation tactics. Oh, and we recently won five MFAs and the Grand Prix at the annual MFA awards, which I think is testament to our adaptive approach to media.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

If you so choose, and you put yourself out there, it is possible to learn something new every hour of every day. That is pretty unique and something that should not be taken for granted!

Previous industry related (ad land/ad tech) companies you have worked at:

Prior to joining Mindshare, my media career was wholly Media Owner side. I started in media at the age of 21, at Conde Nast Publications in London. Since then I’ve been very lucky to have worked at other large, progressive organisations, including Fairfax, News Digital Media and News Corp (both in the UK and Australia).

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time

CEO of a progressive media organisation. I honestly believe that until you have experienced what it is to be part of an agency, it is difficult to fully appreciate how crucial media agencies are to delivering the marketing aspirations of all brands. Not only are agencies at the forefront of data and technology, they are a melting pot of very smart, very engaged people. While I am very much a part of that now at Mindshare, I’d love to lead a company through what is arguably the most exciting time in media.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you? 

I am happiest when I am at the top of a mountain. For me there is nothing more perfect or overwhelming than standing looking at (or down from) a mountain peak, preferably at sunrise.

Top networking tip:

Listen, listen, listen. Then ask strategic questions. 

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

Pendolino, especially in winter

My favourite advert is:

End Marmite neglect (Cannes 2013) – just brilliant!

My must-have gadget is:

My iPod (yes, I still use one). I listen to really bad 90s house music in the gym.

My favourite media is:

On demand platforms – I love anything that gives me unrestricted access to Nordic or UK dramas

My favourite TV show is:

The Handmaid’s Tale (outstanding)

The last book I read:

Wellmania, by Brigid Delaney (a gift from a client and a fascinating and very humorous deep-dive into the multi-billion dollar wellness industry) 

My mantra / philosophy is:

It’s changed over the last 12 months, and since taking breast cancer on. Simply put, I am grateful, and put effort into making the most of life, everyday.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because: 

I lived in halls of residence with the son of the publisher of Vogue UK at Sussex University. The father’s car broke down one day on the motorway on the way to visit his son and, being the only person in the house at the time, I drove about 25 miles to collect him from the side of the A3, having never met him. I think he paid me back by giving me a temporary job, post uni, sending faxes (yes, I’m that old) in the Vogue advertising offices. My career in advertising went from there! So, technically, it was nothing more sophisticated than helping somebody out one day.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
A criminal psychologist. Another seven years of study didn’t appeal to me at the age of 21 and post a University degree in Social Psychology. Thinking back now, I really should have looked at that seven years as a tiny fragment of my life.

In five years' time I'll be:
Alive, happy, grateful.

Define your job in one word:

What's your poison: Right now it's concoction of mushroom complex, green powder, turmeric and chia seeds each morning (to keep my immune system in fighting shape) … washed down with a good Pinot Noir in the evening.

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