SD: You are Chairman of Proximity North America You made it to the top possibly faster than any other Canadian ever has. Three reasons why?
AB: I don't know about faster. This isn't a race. What I can say is that I've had some great mentors that have helped me along the way, I'm passionate about what I do, and I'm not afraid to work hard.
SD: You built a huge business in Canada. Now in the Big Apple. What's the biggest difference been for you?
AB: The pace. Business moves even more quickly in New York. However, we've always worked that way at Proximity, and especially in Canada. It's not for everyone, but it's very attractive to those people who love big challenges.
SD: Although you already were with Proximity and had US clients, how did you onboard yourself in the role?
AB: First, I've spent time with all of our clients, asking them what we can do better to help them be more successful, achieve their objectives and add more value. Second, I've spent a lot of time with our agency CEO's, getting their feedback on client needs and opportunities, and making sure we have the right mix of talent and resources in the North American network to win.
SD: You're running several offices, not just one. Does that translate into more pressure?
AB: One of our core values is to possess a healthy paranoia, to never be complacent. That means we are always operating with some degree of pressure. I don't believe in more pressure or less pressure. Rather, just constant pressure.
SD: You have a bunch of direct reports. How much time is left to manage up? And be with clients?
AB: It's my responsibility to make time for the things that are important. Managing and spending time with clients are important.
SD: What does a Cannes Lion mean to you? Happy with the performance thus far?
AB: As I understand, there were more than 30,000 entries in this year's Cannes Festival. So to win a Lion is an incredible accomplishment. It means you are doing work that stands out among your peers. We also know that there is empirical evidence that award-winning work performs more effectively in the market. Our goal is to make brands more valuable to people and people more valuable to brands. So no matter how we do at Cannes, it won't diminish our drive and desire to do even better going forward.
Stefan Danis, reporting for Adnews.com, is CEO of Mandrake and NEXCareer and has published Gobi Runner, a book about overcoming adversity, available at Amazon.