“Agencyland is a psychologist’s dream, and indirectly all these people have taught me something deeper about myself and the way we move through the world.”

Caroline Mclaughlin

MD | DDI

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who is brilliant and inspiring, and we were wondering how it is that we haven’t yet launched a product that’s made us millions. Given we do stuff like that every day for our clients (well … OK, some days).

We concluded that ‘Advertising got inside us”, which I guess means that if we’d picked any other career (like Law for example which I was poised to do back in the day) we’d long ago have abandoned it in favour of more obvious right brain pursuits.

Because advertising can do that to you. It can beckon you in without even really trying very hard. I’ve never met more colourful people than I have in this industry – from awkward geniuses, to gifted orators who can rouse an unwilling crowd. Generous and funny, warm and extroverted, thoughtful and academic…good-crazy. Agencyland is a psychologist’s dream, and indirectly all these people have taught me something deeper about myself and the way we move through the world.

Every day is a creative journey, some days are mind-bendingly frustrating but every single one of them is unexpected and for me, that’s what makes this industry endlessly beguiling. It’s kept me enthralled for over 20 years, through moving countries, having children, making a buck and making lifelong friends, and there’s not much else in my life I can say that about.

Key defining moments in my career:

Starting out at a singularly amazing advertising agency which made me believe that setting your professional bar at the very highest level was simply what everyone did. (The agency in question being O & M Johannesburg which won Advertising Age’s International Agency of the Year in 1995, my first year in the business).

Being the youngest Ogilvy Graduate promoted to Group Head.

Moving continents at 23, and again at 27. Being told I knew nothing about the local market and being so determined to prove people wrong that I immersed myself quickly in different cultures, a pastime I still love.

The entrepreneurial leap of faith of leaving a secure corporate advertising job at Clemenger BBDO to run a startup – Bulldozer Inc.

Becoming a mother (yes, it’s fundamentally redefined my take on the business world).

In my down time I’m a Board member of Global Sisters where I try to change the world in my own small way.

Caroline is available as a coach in the Agency/Account Management, Relationships and Strategy/Planning modules

Modules this coach presents

Agency/Account Management

Relationships

Strategy & Planning