Throughout my 20+ years as president and CEO, I’ve learned that leadership takes many forms. To be a great leader means to have passion for something you believe in. It also means making difficult decisions that don’t always feel right at the time.
What most people don’t recognize, however, is that a leader is nothing without the people around them to support those decisions. That is the most important lesson I’ve learned thus far.
Invest in your employees.
At PAN, we believe that investing in every one of our employees to help them excel is critical to our success. Whether it’s the budding PR star looking to perfect the art of media relations, or the digitally-focused marketer who stays up to date on the latest platforms the industry has to offer, PAN is supportive of each and every career path or journey.
Our agency has grown and evolved in an industry that is no longer traditional. We are integrated, but we are also disruptive. We challenge the status quo and we provide our clients with great ideas and strategy. This is only possible because we have recognized the growing skillsets within our organization that make us a well-rounded agency.
Skillsets are changing – embrace it.
I’ve been teaching seniors at the Newhouse school for over 15 years. The college grads that entered agency life ten years ago are much different than the talent walking through our doors today. And that’s not to say one is better than the other, but it’s important to embrace what talent today is looking to achieve. At PAN, we heard it loud and clear that employees today wanted to chart a course that allowed them to focus in an area of integrated marketing or public relations. This new model of “specialized” roles within our teams has blossomed over recent years.
“After expressing an interest in digital marketing, PAN was incredibly supportive, helping me to carve out a specialized role in the agency and empowering me to pursue a career that aligned with my passions,” said Lauren Kaufman, account supervisor, integrated marketing. “I’m incredibly grateful for PAN’s flexibility during the process.”
At PAN we’ve capitalized on the diverse experiences that our employees hold by bringing them together under one common goal: to create campaigns that drive unparalleled results for our clients. Without the integration and alignment of these skillsets and departments, our agency would lack the creativity and strategy it takes to come out on top. But the same is true externally – your skillsets and ideas should be equally aligned with that of your customers when considering a brand/agency relationship.
That being said, I lead PAN with the mindset that one employee’s niche may be another employee’s weakness. Our agency’s approach to knowledge sharing is unique in that we are constantly looking for new opportunities to learn from one another and expand our skillsets. Our PAN-University program is evidence of our belief that no skillet should be stagnant – and we encourage our clients to think that way too.
Creating a culture of encouragement.
With the growth of these skillsets comes the need for a culture that supports them. Investing in your employees means promoting a culture where they feel they have the potential to flourish.
PAN’s emphasis on career development is rooted in the leadership team we’ve created to support our employees in pursuing their passions. As our agency grows in size, we will continue to facilitate one-on-one conversations between our leadership team and younger members of our staff to create a culture of encouragement at all levels.
“We live in a time where employees are working for purpose rather than paychecks,” said Nikki Festa, senior vice president. In turn, many brands are finding themselves looking into their vision, mission and values to find and incorporate their own purpose into everything they do. The next generation of talent needs it. We all need it. PAN is no exception. It’s our job to know what employees are most passionate about, what makes them walk into the door and find their ‘why.’ And then, through one-on-one mentorship via our dedicated team structure, guide them to success while removing obstacles that stand in their way. Without these employees – the talent…the agency’s IP – there are no clients.”
As a leader, I believe that every component of your organization should be growing together – your people, your skillsets and your brand. That’s what teamwork is all about.
At PAN your potential knows no boundaries, and we’re supportive every step of the way.