Robert Stone, national people and talent director at McCann Australia, tells all to HRD
For a long and successful career in talent management, you need to have an endless supply of enthusiasm and a gift for understanding people. Robert Stone, National People & Talent Director at McCann Australia, has both in abundance. HRD spoke to Stone to learn what originally inspired him into the sector and what schemes he’s most proud of.
HRD: How did your career in the HR sector first begin? What inspired you into this industry?
RS: After graduating from High School, I really had no idea of what I wanted to do with my working life. When exploring university degrees, I was always extremely interested in creative industries, but I’ve also had an innate ability to connect with people, to build trust and resolve difficult situations. With this in mind, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Business degree specializing in Marketing and HR. Upon graduating, I found that it was extremely difficult to land a graduate HR position in Australia due to a real shortage in roles. After a long and unsuccessful job hunt, I recalibrated and decided that I would take a different approach. I knew that I wanted to be a HR professional, but only in an organization that would allow me to be creative in my approach. And so, I decided to take a graduate planning position within a media and marketing agency. This move allowed me to truly understand the inner workings of a creative business which ultimately allowed me to make the transition into a talent-orientated position!
HRD: What’s been your career highlight so far?
RS: I’ve been extremely fortunate to have worked for some amazing global organizations that have allowed me to travel and see the world. If I was to choose a highlight, I would have to say it was on October 31st 2017, when Alex Lubar (CEO McCANN London) and I were invited to the House of Lords in the UK to present evidence to regarding “What is the role of the international workforce in the UK advertising industry?”. This talk was based off the iconic Brexit vote.
HRD: What schemes or decisions have you been most proud of in your career?
RS: I have two schemes that I am extremely proud of from my time at McCANN London. The first was called Open Hour, in which McCann London launched a new initiative that amined to diversify its next generation of employees by encouraging a broader spectrum of prospective candidates to consider a career in advertising. Open Hour is a weekly hour-long session of 15-minute one-on-one Skype calls, initially with CCOs and Co-Presidents of McCann London, Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson. It was later extended through senior management in disciplines including strategy, planning and new business. The sessions are targeted at anyone who is considering a career in advertising – and particularly those who hadn’t previously considered this career path but would like to find out more. ‘Open Hour’ will be advertised in schools and job centers across the country, aiming to spark interest in both schoolchildren who may not have decided on their career path and those changing careers at a later stage in life. It offers participants the opportunity to ask questions to advertising industry experts and can be used to show work or ask advice about working in the industry.
The second scheme is McCANN Worldgroup Global Diversity Coalition – which I’m extremely proud to be a founding member of. This group is made up of Diversity Coalition Champion leaders from various global markets who work together to inspire an open, dynamic and integrated global community with a focus on conscious inclusion. Our first ever initiative intended to create a global week-long cultural awareness campaign spotlighting 5 different cities with the following 3 objectives:
• Increase awareness about the rich diversity and perspectives of McCANN talent across the globe.
• Introduce the McCANN Global Diversity Coalition, and Champions.
• Engage and connect employees from around the world to strengthen our collective knowledge about the global culture that we serve.
HRD: What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to get into this industry?
RS: Working in the creative industries will be one of the most exciting, challenging and fulfilling careers you will ever have. We’re in an industry that allows us to solve businesses problems in a creative way. Our partnerships with brands not only allow us to solve their problems but they also allow us to influence culture and address some of the most serious issue affecting the world today. If your curious, bold and openminded you will go a long way!