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“Building a better business. People, Ethics and Culture”. 
The Holiday Inn, Mayfair, London


 A record number of new members, representing over 9 countries came to London for what turned out to be another game changing MAA Worldwide summit.
“Building a better business” focused on people, ethics and culture. We learned that cultures can in fact be created, sustainable and deliver incremental revenue as well as reducing staff churn and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.
The importance of seeking and keeping exceptional talent is perhaps one of the most difficult things we do. After all we are a people business. We learned that head hunters are actually invaluable if the brief is right. First stop then was to create the right briefs to attract the right people. The workshops allowed us to discuss and debate the myriad of proven techniques, (both covert and overt) the professionals use and how, by adapting them to our own businesses, we would seek, find and keep the talent we need to “build a better business”
“It’s all about me” seems a selfish approach but in the context of the summit theme and Linda Kaplan Thayer our highly motivational speaker we  were able to find out how to keep ourselves and our teams motivated and driven.
Our three guest speakers as always prompted debate, discussion, insights and key learnings. The workshops then allowed us to focus on the main issues and share our own learnings and experiences with our fellow members.  

The summit subject

People, Ethics and Culture People

“If you think it’s expensive hiring an expert wait until you hire an idiot.” Red Adair

We are a 100% people business. 

So we all know people are our most valuable asset but also our most unpredictable. They are our product, our brand, our ambassadors, the experts that we expect and pay to deliver for us every day.

Our discussions centered around how we seek and keep the right people. Likely we all currently use the same format, appoint a recruitment agency, staff referrals, a head hunter perhaps, advertise…shortlist, interview, do some new fangled psychometric testing,  appoint and…hope?

The summit gave us all the chance to  look at things differently challenging every recruitment rule in the book!


Linda Kaplin - Thayer co-author of the best seeling selling book ‘Grit to Great’ revealed the strategies that helped her, and countless others, succeed at the highest levels in their careers and professions, and in their personal lives. 

Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology, Linda showed us why optimists do better in school, work, and on the playing field, and how to reset our optimistic set point.


“You can have all the right strategy on in the world; but if you don’t have the right culture you’re dead” Ari Emanuel CEO of WME.

Culture is endemic, the right one will attract and keep the right people and thus, build you a better business

Culture is so much more than a logo on a coffee cup. It’s a quality that your competitors envy and clients love. It’s about how you work and play as a team. How you motivate each other. What you say and how you say it. It’s about diversity in talent, in expression, the way your business looks, behaves. With the help of the CEO of one of India’s leading agencies we had a privileged insight into what creates a culture and how we can introduce this to our workplace.

The London summit guest speakers

Alastair Paton

Alastair has had two careers; the first involved 15 years of international marketing, sales and general management for Unilever and Novartis. The second, setting up and running an Executive Search business that in 2011 become part of Signium, one of the world’s oldest and largest Executive Search and Consulting Partnerships.

Originally a science graduate, Alastair immediately changed tack and joined Unilever’s marketing and sales training scheme. He spent 11 very happy and challenging years working in the UK, the Middle East and the U.S. before joining Novartis, where he led the launch of a revolutionary range of functional foods. Fed up with corporate politics, and with a genuine interest in people, he moved into executive recruitment in 2001, setting up his own business Snowdon Tate in 2004.

In 2011 Snowdon Tate became the UK arm of Signium, one of the world’s largest Executive Search and leadership consulting businesses. Signium offers the global reach and rigour of the largest global search businesses coupled with the passion, focus and tough partner-led approach of the best local boutiques. The firm believes that the biggest challenge with talent is finding individuals that best fit the company culture. Signium has developed a unique methodology that reinvents the  search process, delivering  more diverse shortlists and reducing the risk of a bad hire.

Linda Kaplan-Thayer

Linda is a celebrated marketer, author and television personality. Her collaborations with co - author Robin Koval have all become national bestsellers: ‘Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World’, ‘The Power of Small’, and ‘The Power of Nice’. Their newest bestseller, ‘GRIT to GREAT’ has been listed as one of the top business books for 2015. 

Linda is a familiar face in the media, having appeared on ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Good Morning America’, ‘The Today Show’, CNN and Fox News. Linda hosted the Oxygen television series ‘Making It Big’, as well being a judge on the Marc Burnett reality series, ‘Jingles’. 

Linda’s talents have earned her the prestigious Matrix Award, the Advertising Woman of the Year Award, the UJA’s Mac Dane Humanitarian Award, the Women’s Leadership Exchange’s Compass Award, and was named one of Advertising Age’s ‘Most Influential Women in Advertising’. Linda has also won New York Women in Film and Television’ s Muse Award, the first woman in advertising to receive this honour.


Ambika Sharma

Ambika is a 1st generation entrepreneur in new age marketing and technology integration. Her expertise includes strategic planning, and Omni Channel Marketing.

An opinion leader for the media marketing Industry in India, Ambika is the Founder of Pulp Strategy Communications, a full-service interactive, digital communications and technology Agency, gaining the distinction of being India’s Youngest and most awarded independent agency with 95 global and national recognitions. Pulp Strategy was also the winner of ‘The Maddies’ in 2015, and 3 ECHOS in 2016.

In 2010 Ambika was recognised as the Young Achiever of the Year awarded at the Global Awards for excellence at the World Brand Congress, 2010, and ‘INDIRA SUPER ACHIEVER AWARD” 2010, conferred upon outstanding professionals who lead in their respective fields.

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