David Dahan, Worldwide Managing Director at Ogilvy & Managing Director at WPP, talks to The Ortus Club’s Benz Limsenkeng about his leadership role in collaboration and transformation on a global scale.
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Can you give us a one-sentence description of your company?
I work for two companies. WPP is a creative, transformative company. At Ogily Group, we aim to be the best growth partner for our clients.
Can you describe the role of a Worldwide Managing Director in one word. Why?
Leadership because that’s the most needed trait to be in the role that I’m in.
What current challenges are Worldwide Managing Directors facing right now? Can you identify a solution?
The biggest challenge is to make people work together and collaborate. I run an account that is the third-largest for our company worldwide. It’s a mix of different countries, cultures, and people worldwide. We are at our best when we collaborate with the best.
The second challenge is to have a clear vision and not get lost in the details. Everyone has their problems, and everyone thinks that they are unique. You need to draw clear directions so that we can help our clients succeed. For that, you must be clear on what we are here to achieve, what are we offering, and, most importantly, how will we help our clients succeed at their job and in whatever they have the ambition to do.
How do you explain the success you’ve had in your career?
Great people, luck, and a lot of hard work.
“Stay focused, and think of your clients. Work towards your goals and your client’s success with a compelling strategy.”
Can you tell us about a time you took a major risk in your career?
I’ve taken a couple of different risks in my life. The first risk was living in other countries because I had to start again every time. From funding and learning a new language to meeting new people, I needed to understand how everything works. It’s a huge risk because you never know what will happen.
The second risk was changing jobs. I have experience in strategy, account management, operations, top management, client leadership, and agency leadership. Whenever I do something I’m unsure of, I find ways to learn and apply it. I find it exciting. Every time you generate risk, it means change. In addition, I’ve always been okay with the idea of failing or when things don’t work out. It’s not that I pursue failure. I do my best and work hard. But it’s still worth trying if things don’t work out.
How can you see your role evolving in the next two to three years?
I work with a global client, so my role is constantly changing. I could get more prominent clients and lead a whole team in operations. Furthermore, I see myself following amazing people, which results in significant challenges. So, I don’t exactly know where this will lead me, but it’s exciting. I’ve spent half of my career pursuing titles and responsibilities. Hopefully, one day, I want to be a managing director or CEO that focuses on global strategy. So, I’ve got my ambition set on functions.
I’ve been thinking, ‘What gets me out of bed?’ I’m constantly bombarded by intrusive thoughts that make me question the uncertain future. I have no idea what the future holds, and I’m fine with that. I’m excited to go on the ride and continue the journey.
What marketing/business trends are you taking advantage of right now?
Commerce is the most important trend I’m taking advantage of right now. Of course, everyone is talking about the metaverse and Web3. This is shifting the perception between the distortion from reality and virtual reality. But, I think commerce is the most exciting and exhilarating idea that drives me. It’s a different shopping method, forcing us to create new experiences. There’s always another way of working things, whether offline or online.
What career advice would you like to share with other Worldwide Managing Directors?
Stay focused. When you’re in a global position, you can quickly lose focus. Think of a strategy and how you can work towards a goal without interruptions or distractions. Another piece of advice is to think of your clients first. Your role is to oversee many things internally, but never forget that your responsibilities lie in your client’s success. Their success is your success.