NABS' President's Breakfast

NABS reveals industry plea for better leadership as demand for its services rises again

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Oystercatchers went along to NABS’ President’s Breakfast this week to hear about the achievements of 2019 and the visions for the year ahead. 

Many of the industry’s senior figures attended and we heard from NABS' own senior leaders: Diana Tickell, CEO; Kerry Glazer, President; Simon Daglish, Chair; and Nicky Harris, director of strategy and development, all of whom spoke to the audience with a passion and determination to ensure 2020 as another successful year for NABS. 

Creating Courageous Culture

The theme of this year's President's Breakfast was themed around 'Creating Courageous Culture'. Having just had our first Oystercatchers Club event of the year where we discussed results of the first Creative Industries Culture Index and looked at how culture drives performance, we were delighted the event and NABS' focus was on the incredibly important topic of culture in the workplace.

Thoughts were shared on the importance of empathetic, well-being focused leadership. We heard that the top three factors needed to create positive change in the advertising and media industry are:

  • Empathetic leadership

  • Better training for managers

  • Increased diversity

These factors were identified in the inaugural NABS Track survey: a new, twice-yearly ‘state of the nation’ survey. NABS Track’s results will transform NABS’ ability to lead industry change for good, responding in directly to what people across the industry need in order to thrive at work.

NABS Track demonstrated a clear call from respondents to improve leadership and management styles across the industry. In particular, 95% of respondents agreed that an important subject for NABS Track going forward was how much self-awareness managers had around their own behaviour and stress levels, as this factor can have a huge impact on team well-being.

Designed for the next five years, the strategy will be insight-driven, using results from NABS Track as well as feedback from its service users to transform NABS’ impact on people and points of view across the industry as well as its service provision.

NABS also revealed its 2019 usage statistics, the rise of which indicates the advertising industry’s increasing mental and emotional health needs:

  • More than 2,900 individuals used a support or careers service or came to a NABS Talk

  • Together, these individuals used their services 7,000 times

  • The Advice Line took more than 4,400 calls – over 1,000 more than last year, and a 76% increase since 2017

  • A third of calls are from people seeking emotional support, 58% of which were for mental health reasons (compared with 44% in 2017)

  • NABS has made 33% more referrals year-on-year for therapy.

NABS’ work has a clear impact on people’s ability to improve their well-being. For example, 93% of its coaching clients say that their sessions helped them to develop new ways of thinking and behaving.

The infographic below demonstrates more of the successes of NABS in 2019.

What can you do?

  • Lead the way:
    Bring your whole self to work. Inspire and lead. Practice positive behaviours – walk the walk.
  • Build the relationships:
    You can only connect and trust people when you know them. Be more open and approachable to get the best out of your team.
  • Listen:
    Ask “how’s work? How are you?” You don’t need to have all the solutions. Often, just listening is the most helpful thing you can do.
  • Know yourself:
    Be aware of your impact and know your bias and your current knowledge limits.
  • Network:
    Have varied, positive and diverse relationships. Recognise individuals and be aware of labelling.


The Breakfast also touched upon the successes of timeTo, the campaign against sexual harassment in the industry run by partners NABS, the Advertising Association and WACL. So far, more than 260 organisations, including Oystercatchers, have signed up to timeTo as endorsers. Moving forward, group training sessions - designed to increase awareness and understanding of sexual harassment across the industry - will be rolled out. 

You can watch the timeTo ad below, part of the campaign for last year's “Where Do You Draw The Line?” (creative developed by Lucky Generals):

"Our vision for 2020 and beyond is to address the urgent need for our industry to address its leadership styles. With NABS Track, we’re leading the way in investigating and revealing insights into the industry that will help us to do this.

“We’ll find out why people leave their roles, whether managers have awareness about their own impact and stress levels, and how we can help with all of this to improve retention and attrition in our industry." Diana Tickell, CEO, NABS

Support Commitee Award Winners at the NABS' President's Breakfast #congratulations

For more information on NABS, visit their website.


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