Lisa Johnson has had an action packed year at OMD UK. She’s changed job roles and won the agency’s Young Lions competition, securing a ticket to Cannes Lions in the summer. Here she talks about what a typical day in the life of a Production Manager looks like and the three key takeouts from her trip to Cannes.
So Lisa, a lot has changed for you in the last few months. Can you tell us a bit about your new role and the path you took to get there?
I joined OMD UK in March 2015 as a PA and just over a year later, I officially moved into OMD Create (our creative solutions team) to a brand new role. I’m the Create Production Manager, which means that I work across Create on projects that involve a few of our specialist teams. If anyone tells you to stop sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong at work, don’t listen to them because that’s basically how I got into this role.
Right now, I’m working on McDonald’s, Walkers and NSPCC projects, helping the teams keep track of all the work going on and what needs to be done and when. A lot of the things that I do now in my day job are skills I picked up in my old role, but I have picked up a lot of new ones on the way, too. I’ve always been bossy so that bit is really easy for me.
What does a typical day in the life of a Production Manager in OMD Create look like?
Actually, I haven’t had a day that’s been anything like the last one yet – that’s what’s so great about working on different projects. I basically have the attention span of a small child, so it helps to know that if I’ve been looking at storyboards all day, there’s a spreadsheet somewhere that I can dig out to keep me entertained. I’m also involved in a few other things at OMD – I’m a Brainstorm Champion and one of a few surviving members of the Minerva House Committee, so if I’m not chasing up script feedback or back in that spreadsheet, you might find me at a brainstorm or planning the Christmas Party with Lotte (BTW it’s going to be SO GREAT this year!). Some may call me an over-achiever but I like to think of it as winning at life.
You recently won a place on the OMD Young Lions trip to Cannes. How did this come about?
OMD UK run the Young Lions competition every year and I teamed up with Daniella Murphy from Creative and Amy Taylor from XMP earlier this year, to present to a panel of judges from our Board. We put together our manifesto and plan of action for how we were going to bring Cannes Lions back to the agency using a combination of Guerrilla marketing tactics, Spotify playlists and our own superior wit and guile and impressed the judges enough to beat three other teams to win.
What an amazing opportunity! What were the three most inspiring things you took away from the trip?
It’s really interesting to see the kind of work that gets nominated and wins awards at Cannes, but the most inspiring thing for me were the talks. I loved Gerry Graf’s talk on the power of collaboration so much that I wrote a post on the OMD UK blog for it (shameless plug). And I think a few of the more informal sessions – like the basement workshops and forum sessions – were a big inspiration for how Amy, Dani, Clare and I put the Festival of Creativity on back at Minerva House.
Every one of the presentations we put on for the agency took the most interesting stuff we saw in Cannes – winners or not – and put it out there as inspiration to make our work better than it already is. They were short, sharp and interactive, just like the best sessions at Cannes and hopefully they were at least a little bit inspiring for everyone at the agency, too.
The most inspiring thing for me, though, is knowing that this kind of opportunity exists at all at OMD UK. There are so many of us around the agency who wouldn’t even dream about putting our names in the hat when competitions like this go out, but why not? So as long as they keep putting them out there, I will keep winning encouraging everyone to get involved.