My Media Week: Ita Murphy

Ita Murphy, managing director of Mindshare, makes other commuters uncomfortable by glancing at page three for too long, ponders multiple Facebook pages, and misses Book Club...again.

Ita Murphy: managing director of Mindshare
Ita Murphy: managing director of Mindshare


Rather predictably, I tune into Radio 4 each morning, flick through a glossy mag as I eat breakfast, and read The Times on the train.

Time permitting, I like to whip out a copy of The Sun – tending to brazenly linger for a few seconds on page three in the hope of raising a few eyebrows among my fellow commuters.

As I approach our amazing new offices at Central St Giles, I feel a rising sense of anticipation about the week ahead. The first decision of the day is where to sit. To encourage greater integration and sharing between disciplines, we're introduced a dynamic seating policy which means, as we no longer have designated desks, we can pretty much plonk ourselves anywhere in the building.

I start and finish each week with the management team. But on Tuesdays through to Thursdays, I sit wherever the mood takes me. Everyone loves working in the new building – the views are spectacular.

Much of the morning is spent catching up with the client teams to check all is well. I have a most enjoyable lunch with a client in one of the local – and hopefully soon to become familiar – restaurants.

I dash across town to meet three marketing directors and the European strategy director at one of our FMCG clients, Kimberly-Clark.

We have a lively conversation about how to best leverage and integrate their paid, owned and earned communication channels, as well as exploring how we might improve effectiveness of their digital plans.

Yet again, I miss my Book Club meet-up, which is just as well as I haven't managed to finish last month’s book ('Amenable Women' by Mavis Cheek – highly recommended). Attending regularly was one of my New Year resolutions, yet I’ve failed spectacularly by not yet making one gathering this year.


Today I decide to sit beside Ilker Shakir (head of Unilever trading), who greets me with the usual, "Hello Mum". We discuss Unilever’s digital trading strategy and the impact dynamic seating has had on the team’s output.

The day kicks off with our usual lively bi-weekly management meeting, in which we assess how we are doing against our company quarterly roadmap. We agree the agenda for next week’s company meeting and, more importantly, discuss where we’ll host the "free bar", given that our new office bar is not yet operational.

Mark Creighton (who joined from i-level as chief operating officer last August) debriefs us on his trip to Facebook’s Californian headquarters. We’re surprised to hear that they see themselves as a small company, which has thus far only achieved 1% of their potential. Crikey!

Lunch is cancelled, so I make a rare trip to the gym. Arriving late, I’m at the back of the class and, without my specs, I can’t see the teacher’s demonstration. This irritates me greatly – not ideal for a supposedly relaxing Pilates class. Lunch is a fairly worthy looking salad while reading the FT.


As I commute, I email my daughter (who is off travelling around New Zealand) to update her on what her cat and dog have been up to.

I’ve found this engages her far more than news about any of her family. She reminds me that I need to apply for her university accommodation. Brilliant. Yet another thing to add to my "to do" list.

First thing today is an appraisal meeting with one of my direct reports. I’m making a concerted effort to use more of a coaching style – it seems to pay off. I then organise a meeting with HR to discuss a new team appraisal format. The idea is to get the client teams appraising for themselves how collaboratively they’re working and assessing the value of what they learn from each other. I’m interested to hear whether the teams feel this adds value.

It’s an afternoon of internal strategising – the senior team are taken through the details of client feedback, we design an action plan to ensure we keep our scores moving in the right direction.

Mindshare chief executive Jed Glanvill, Mark Creighton, and I talk through the budget for the year and chew the fat on general issues until fairly late into the evening.


Today is the ISBA conference, which evolves into a mini WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications London) event.

There are about eight of us there in all. While we’re obviously deeply intrigued by Ofcom CEO Ed Richards’ call for a trading review and the angry tweets that ensue, we are equally enthralled by one WACLer’s account of the benefits of food combining…yet another example of women’s ability to multi-task.

In the afternoon, I have a final proof read of the new Mindshare handbook some of the guys have produced. Without wanting to sound biased, it’s rather marvellous.

A few of us celebrate St Patrick’s Day with post-work drinks at what looks to be our new local. I manage to restrain myself from Irish dancing – clearly I’ve not had enough to drink. An evening out with four ex- Mindshare employees is inevitably great fun. It certainly makes up for missing Book Club…again.


I ring my daughter first thing. Whereas her friend is so homesick she wants to come back, Elizabeth rather heartlessly tells me she hasn’t missed us at all. I‘m delighted at her independence, yet at the same time wonder what the other girl’s mother does so much better than me that her daughter misses her so badly.

Coffee with Paul Armstrong, who heads up our social team and is lots of fun. His enthusiasm and vision for where we can go with social media is infectious.

He’s determined to get me tweeting and managing several Facebook pages simultaneously ("Why do I need more than one Facebook page?", I wonder, but don’t like to ask).

Paul tries his best to look pleased when I tell him I’ll be sitting with him and the Invention team next week – why he says he’ll "warn" them I don’t know.

I round off the week with a mentoring session with one of our participants of the Future Leaders Fund – an intense training and mentoring scheme we’ve launched for some of our most talented staff.

I always come away having learnt something valuable, and often wonder who is mentoring whom.

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