Michael Jones on his experience at MEC: “We have to work harder as an industry in LatAm to attract, develop and retain talent”
As we announced last week, Michael Jones, CEO of MEC Latin America, is leaving MEC after 19 years at the company. Portada interviewed Jones and asked him about his career and his future outside of MEC.
Portada: What will you be doing after leaving MEC?
Michael Jones:"A lot of everything and a lot of nothing! What drives everyone at MEC is best expressed by our overall commitment to the growth of our people, our clients and the industry. Best summed up by the phrase we use at MEC: “Don’t just live, thrive” MEC is empowering me to do exactly that. My passion has always been working with the talent in our industry, if we get that right then we can thrive in the work we do for our clients and the thought leadership we develop for the industry (such as MEC Momentum, a ground breaking way of looking at the consumer purchase journey). So whilst I am retiring from the ‘front line’ of Agency management I will continue to consult for MEC on a part-time basis in the area of talent development for our network of offices around the world. I will be working with our global “Futures” initiative – a fast track talent development program for key personnel as well as other projects with the Agency.
I will continue to consult for MEC on a part-time basis in the area of talent development for our network of offices around the world.
I also intend to complete a Masters degree and continue my passion for training and development by becoming an Adjunct College Professor. I will also become a board member for a few charities based in Miami. The rest of my time will be spent pursuing my love for adventure travel, scuba diving and other personal interests that being an ‘always-on’ CEO has not given me as much time to do over the years.
Don’t just live, thrive” MEC has empowered me to do exactly that.
Portada: What was the most exciting experience during your tenure at MEC?
Michael Jones: "The incredible growth of media choice in our industry and the opportunity to visit so many countries around the world. I started in this business 23 years ago in the UK when there were just two commercial TV stations and have seen the exponential growth in all media channels across what we now describe as the Paid, Owned and Earned media ecosystem; fueled by the profound impact of technology. I have had an incredibly rewarding 19 years at MEC and have lived and worked in every region around the world as CEO in both Asia-Pacific and Latin America, launching our US Hispanic operation in North America – MEC:Bravo and running business development for EMEA. I have always had a peripatetic lifestyle and have visited over 70 MEC offices in over 50 countries. Every market has something different to offer and experience and I have loved the travel working with clients and staff across so many categories and disciplines."
I think that tenacity is essential in our business which must go hand in hand with optimism about what you can achieve.
Portada: What have you learned?
Michael Jones: "A short but very big question! Succinctly put I think that tenacity is essential in our business which must go hand in hand with optimism about what you can achieve. That everyone is good at something; find that ‘thing’ and make sure you are truly passionate about what you are doing."
Portada: What was the biggest challenge in the Miami panregional marketplace?
Michael Jones: "Talent. The quality of our work in this business is based on the talent we employ, the cliché our most important asset arrives in the elevator every morning is so true of our business. We have to work harder as an industry in Latin America to attract, develop and retain the ‘brightest and the best’. I believe MEC understands this imperative and this is why I will continue to consult for them and others post retirement in developing the best talent for our industry we possibly can."