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My Media Journey – Yasemin Kelimet

My journey in this evolving industry started two years ago this month and it still has not sunk in yet, especially in the midst of a pandemic. I always wanted to pursue a career in media because of my interest in film and passion for photography but didn’t know where to start as there was no exposure on how to get a foot in such a public yet secretive industry unless you knew the “right” people. That changed after taking part in a 6-month programme called MediaCom & Me ran by The Transformation Trust (now known as The Talent Foundry) where each month I was drip-fed information about all the sections of MediaCom whilst getting to know some of the amazing people who work here and I found myself eager to find out more. Once the programme ended, I applied for MediaCom’s Apprentice Scheme and got in all whilst studying for my A-Level Exams. I am still so very grateful for the programme as if I hadn’t had been given the opportunity I would not be here today.

Imposter syndrome first struck after walking through the revolving doors on my first day. I was taken aback by the scale of the company thinking to myself “Who am I to be working at a top agency?”, I felt that me being here was all down to luck, I did not know anything about media agencies and felt like a fish-out-of-water, a fraud. After being greeted by 16 other friendly faces from all different walks of life those thoughts simmered down. I understood that we were all new to this industry and we were all in this together; I didn’t have to know the ins and outs of media planning on my first day.

The early talent scheme consisted of rotating around three different departments in one year. I was lucky that I was able to rotate within TED (which consists of all the entertainment clients). It was exposure to the entertainment department during one of the mentoring sessions that provided me with some sense of clarity on what role I wanted to pursue if my application was successful (who knew that in a few months I would end up there?!). The scheme provided so many learning opportunities; before learning what it’s like to work in a media agency I first came to understand how to navigate working in an office as this was my first ever job.

I am grateful that my passion for film was acknowledged (as I could not stop talking about film during the mentorship and on my assessment day – I think they got the picture that I was a film fanatic!) as that led to my first rotation being in Comms Planning for Universal Pictures. My team set out a warm and supportive atmosphere which helped shape me into an individual with the right work ethic for the job. The rotation provided me with a holistic overview into what goes into a marketing campaign for an upcoming movie, from identifying primary and secondary audiences via segments to drawing up a strategy – laying out the best recommendations to feedback to the client. The rotation gave me the opportunity to leverage my skill of studio-stalking (or competitor research if we’re being professional!) to pull together competitor decks filled with insight and how we can learn from other studios. Doing this day-in, day-out emphasised the importance of implementing the new in our work to keep up with an ever-changing industry.

The second rotation was Paid Social for Universal Home Entertainment then later Theatrical. It felt surreal that I was helping to manage social campaigns for a brand whose posts I have interacted with in the past. I was taken aback by how much work went into (for example) a display ad on an Instagram feed in which the user could just scroll past rather than stop and watch. I would find myself taking screenshots of ads that I set up as a certificate of my work (and as proof that the campaign was live!) and even found myself watching ads to its full length.  This rotation also taught me the importance of understanding and accepting what I can and can’t control and that at the end of the day it is just a social media ad and I’m not saving lives so I shouldn’t work myself up just if something went wrong beyond my control and a campaign couldn’t go live. I found myself very lucky to be part of an understanding team who emphasised this.

My third and final rotation was within the PRO (Press, Radio, OOH) team, with more of a focus on Press handling activity for various accounts such as Paddy Power and Adidas. Like Paid Social, I remember tearing out a page from a newspaper for an ad that I had booked on! This rotation gave me a wider view on all the clients we work on at TED as well as understanding what it is like to be on the other end of a brief you would get from a comms planner. I was taught various skills from the (rightfully titled) PRO Team that I know I could carry on using when I move into my permanent role as a comms planner.

During these rotations, myself and the other apprentices were working on our coursework for a Level 3 NVQ in Media Marketing. Some parts were easy, as we were able to draw from our experience from our rotations for an answer but other parts required us to learn from each other as we all did not go through same rotations together. What I’m enjoying about my time at MediaCom so far is that everyone is constantly learning no matter what level; even after I got my NVQ and after I achieved a Pass with Merit for my IPA exam I still had that sense of hunger to learn more because I was in an environment where this was encouraged. From Circus Street training to the Digital Academy, every team I was in would always encourage me to keep asking questions, to keep learning, to attend media owner presentations and when I’m there (either virtually today or in real life) there was always a variety of people attending which emphasises the culture MediaCom has where the people are always willing to learn something new, no matter what their job level is.

TED consists of a technicolour of personalities. My team and the people around me are what keep me coming to work every day (or now logging on every day!). I have learnt to not shy away from my passions as it resulted in me working for a client that I am very passionate about and I agree that you absolutely get out what you put in.

Once I secured my permanent role I knew that I wanted to give back. I was offered and took the opportunity to be a mentor for MediaCom & Me. The programme and the talent-scheme filled me with motivation to give back to organisations who helped me get a foot in the door and encouraged me to look outside my horizons and to make use of what privilege I have, no matter what level I am, at MediaCom.

I think that programmes and charities like MediaCom & Me and The Talent Foundry are so important for nurturing future talent and retaining those people in the industry. I think many young people are not aware of the opportunities available to enter our industry, but the work of The Talent Foundry and MediaCom’s Early Talent Scheme creates connections which can lead to the start of something amazing.

I am now a year into my full-time job and I, (like everyone else) did not expect to find myself on daily teams calls, “attending” virtual events, virtual media owner meetings and lots and lots of quizzes. Working from home at the start was incredibly tough. I felt incredibly lonely (even in a noisy house with a younger sister!) as it felt strange not being able to turn around and talk to my team, to do water runs for the pods whilst having a chat and maintaining that buzz which kept me energised throughout the day. This period has made me realise how important it is to stay in contact, to talk and to be there for each other through a phone call, a text etc. as this pandemic is leaving a variety of effects on people both physically and mentally. I do feel incredibly lucky to be working at a company that gives us access to beneficial resources such as Unmind, to teach us new skills (the photography workshop was very fun and got me out of my seat!) and to give us an opportunity to voice our opinions. I don’t know what the next months will bring but what I do know is that I am happy to have started a career in media at MediaCom…

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