A view from the top
A view from Kate Howe

A view from the top

My week starts with a flight to Berlin. Bump into ex-colleagues on the flight, which is lovely but also amusing as we all avoid talking about why we are on the plane.

I meet our global chief operating officer and chief financial officer, initially for a meeting over coffee in the airport to informally review the latest finance update for our European region, and then to meet with a third party we are interested in partnering with on an exciting growth initiative. Good meeting – the sunniest day I have seen for a while for the few minutes I stand on a street corner waiting for a taxi.

I am back in the airport by 4pm to fly to Munich. Flight delayed by two hours, which is very frustrating as there are no seats left. I end up sitting on my overnight bag and plugging my phone into the extension lead on the cleaner’s trolley. Who said this was a glamorous life? Check into hotel, recharge all devices and deal with the day’s torrent of e-mails.

Tuesday morning, I am in our Munich agency for breakfast with the chief executive and to meet with our leadership team, who are planning a development event to accelerate their growth curve. (Their ability to run a global client’s CRM programme for China from Munich is fascinating.) I input into their plans and advise on how they can play a bigger role in our wider network. On the 5pm flight and I am home in time for dinner, which doesn’t happen often even when I’m not travelling.

Wednesday morning, I have an 8am meeting with the architect entrusted with our new kitchen. We make some very quick decisions and I’m in the London agency by 9.30am. A typical day of back-to-back meetings: regional finance review; meeting with the Beiersdorf team to review the latest client-agency appraisal results; weekly operating meeting with the London managing director, chief planning officer and chief financial officer; video conference with the global chief operating officer to formally present the numbers shared in Berlin; status with our Europe new-business team; and then a one-to-one with our chief planning officer. After that, I have the luxury of sitting at my desk (everyone else has gone home) and returning calls to the US.

Thursday starts with a 6.45am slot with my personal trainer. It’s the one thing I try to hold firm in my diary every week. Another day in London but it’s very client-centric, with reviews on two of our largest accounts, several calls with clients, a quick lunch with our Europe chief planning officer talking about client briefs and a conference call with New York on a global training initiative about to roll out in Europe. We are really good at investing in our people and, this year, it has to be about fewer, bigger, better as we seek to take things to the next level. Then, a catch-up with one of the pitch teams and home by 8pm.

Which is good because I end my week as I started it: in terminal five by 7am on Friday, this time to fly to Amsterdam to meet the new general manager for Beiersdorf Northern Europe. We walk in the pouring rain to a local restaurant and have a very constructive conversation over a healthy salad. He lends me an office to work from until I need to head back to the airport and I decide to invest in some high-quality chocolate in the airport on the way home.

Kate Howe is the regional president, Europe, at DraftFCB