30 under 30: calling media's most talented

The hunt is on. Once again, Media Week is scouring the nation to find the brightest young media stars. No, we're not talking about Britain's Got Talent but something altogether more prestigious: Media Week's search for its illustrious 30 under 30.

30 under 30: calling media's most talented
30 under 30: calling media's most talented

This is no time for modesty. Many a media mogul would not have got to where they are today by being shy and retiring.

And, while competition is always fierce, you have no hope of winning if you are not brave enough to take the first step and enter (see details below).

So, if you're deliberating over whether to fill in an application, or to nominate a colleague, bear in mind this list has boosted many media careers. It has led to promotions. New jobs. Fast-track management schemes. Millionaires, even.

We caught up with last year's top five - who were then put forward for the overall Rising Star of the Year award - to see what has happened in their lives since being shortlisted and ask for their advice on how to make the cut.

Harry Dewhirst, VP of advertising, Amobee

It's been a busy 12 months for last year's overall Rising Star winner Harry Dewhirst. The firm he co-founded, Ring Ring Media, was bought by US mobile advertising firm Amobee in January for an impressive £12m.

Having only launched in 2008, the deal gave Dewhirst a very quick payback on his time and money spent setting up the mobile media buying agency.

He partly credits 30 under 30 in his success story, saying he got numerous emails and letters from people keen to talk business after the news of his win broke. The award also helped boost conversations Ring Ring Media was already having with potential buyers and clients.

"We received multiple enquiries following the awards from throughout the media industry regarding business opportunities, and we were able to leverage this to open doors that were previously closed," he says.

"One of the key factors when purchasing a company, especially within the services industry, is the people behind the scenes, and the ability to say we had an award-winning management team was obviously very appealing."

Mark Jackson, deputy head of direct, PHD

When Mark Jackson was shortlisted last year he was an associate director at MediaCom, but he moved to his new role at PHD six months ago.

Having worked at MediaCom for more than six years, Jackson was starting to look around for job opportunities when the 2009 competition was taking place. The fact he had made it into the 30 under 30, and then to the shortlist of the final five, definitely helped his job prospects.

"When the list was published, the headhunters were quickly onto it and I was contacted by a few. Being able to say in an interview that I had been shortlisted added credibility to my application. It also personally gave me more confidence and helped me get noticed in the crowd," he says.

Making the list had always been an ambition of Jackson's, but getting through to the final five was an unexpected boost. He urges any potential candidates to go for it. "It's pretty daunting getting to the last five and presenting to such leading industry figures, but it's a fantastic opportunity and a great experience."

Mark Mitchell, head of search, OMD

Mark Mitchell had only been working at OMD for six months when he was nominated for, and then included in, last year's list.

Previously he had worked in a specialist search firm, so the experience proved to be a whirlwind introduction to the world of media and, through the assessment day, a chance to meet some of the biggest names in the industry.

"It was really cool," he says. "A real ego boost. I got a lot of very complimentary emails from colleagues internally, as well as old bosses and former colleagues." Four months after appearing on the shortlist, Mitchell was promoted to take on affiliate marketing, as well as his existing search remit.

His main piece of advice to bright youngsters rising up the ranks is to make the most of being in media and have fun. He says: "It's a great time to work in media right now. The model is changing so much and we are getting a lot closer to clients and dealing with business challenges.

"Young people are really well-placed to get on in the industry because they are so attuned to social networks and they live and breathe digital technology. Just don't be a hermit. Get yourself out there and enjoy it."

Corinne Wilkins (nee O'Sullivan), head of campaign management, News Inter­na­tional

While Corinne Wilkins' job title has not changed over the last year, her remit has evolved significantly. When she took up her post in 2005, she created News International's campaign management department single-handedly.

Today, she manages a team of 14 and must have a good knowledge of all parts of the business, from marketing to customer relations.

"The job I had when I started here is unrecognisable. I've been able to grow a team which didn't exist before my arrival and, to do this, I've had a lot of contact with senior management and editorial," she says.

Since the competition, Wilkins has been picked as one of only five employees to participate in News International's accelerated development programme. Through the scheme, she has met top executives and found out more about how the business operates. She's also getting involved in confidential new business projects and has attended leadership courses.

Wilkins' success lies in her proactivity and ability to network across the company. She advises others: "I've never been one to sit back and wait to be told something. Without being pushy or aggressive, get involved and try and look for opportunities that may not exist yet. Don't wait for permission. Volunteer."

Duncan Parry, co-founder and head of insight, Steak Media

Working in the fast-moving digital sphere, it was refreshing for Parry to have five minutes to take stock of his own and his company's achievements; a chance that being shortlisted in Media Week's final five last year afforded him.

"Digital rushes along at such a pace that some of the niceties can get lost, like recognition for achievement. It was also a confidence boost, as well as an endorsement of the digital industry, which is good for morale," he says.

Parry looks back on the whole experience fondly, and says the presentation in front of the judges was a great opportunity, albeit intimidating. "It was the media equivalent of being put in front of a firing squad. But a very nice firing squad. And one that's great for the contacts book."

His advice to this year's finalists is to find out who will be in the room during the presentation, think of the questions they might ask and be clear on your achievements.

"That's perhaps where I could have done better. Steak has grown so quickly and achieved so much, but I haven't had time to remember everything. I'd recommend keeping a diary to note down important landmarks in your career."

How to enter

There are two conditions for entry: contestants must be under 30 years of age on 26 July 2010 and they must not have been listed in a previous 30 under 30.

If you fit the bill, please request an application form from Media Week editor Harriet Dennys, who can be contacted on harriet.dennys@haymarket.com. The deadline for completed submissions is Monday 28 June. Please keep entries to one side of A4 only.

This year's judging panel - which includes Tim Jones, head of HR at Aegis Media, Justine Southall, publishing director of Cosmopolitan, and last year's overall winner Harry Dewhirst - will sift through applications to compile a shortlist of 30, which will be announced on Mediaweek.co.uk on 26 July.

The judges will then whittle down the 30 winners to a shortlist of five, who will be invited to an assessment day where they will each give a five-minute presentation to the elder statesmen of the UK media industry.

The overall winner will be presented with the prestigious Rising Star of the Year award at the Media Week Awards on 28 October at Grosvenor House.





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