By Jen Ives, Managing Partner at Coley Porter Bell


Ogilvy has a strong empasis on its corporate social responsibility, a part of which offers all staff a 'Volunteer Day' to use giving back to the local community each year.

How you use the day is your choice - I have colleagues who have used the day to volunteer in soup kitchens, care homes and much more.

I took my Volunteer Day earlier this month and went back to school for career speed networking with Year 10s, aimed at giving the teenagers an insight into the industry and inspiring them to consider a career path that many may not have even heard of.

Many of the kids had no idea that our industry even existed, or how many options marketing and communications can offer. They were surprised to hear they didn’t have to train as lawyers or doctors to have a lucrative career.

In fact, some of the key selling points were fringe benefits I often forget about myself. The children I spoke to found these particularly exciting:

The environment

Our office at Sea Containers is colourful (in so many senses of the word). It’s also noisy, you can bring your dog to work, and we have bars and restaurants upstairs.

Yes, we work long hours but so do most of my mates – and they do it in quiet offices where they have to pay for their own coffee. 

The learning

The nature of our work means I’m constantly meeting new people and learning about new categories, most of them wildly different.

Everything from diving into the details of how stock trades are cleared, to getting a master class in how gin is distilled.

The pace is frenetic but it’s interesting. Not once in 16 years have I watched the clock.

The travel

I’ve run creative workshops in Barbados, negotiated over oysters in Santiago and spent a day wandering around the Forbidden City with a very lovely client.

Sure, the majority of my trips aren’t glamourous, but a dear colleague of mine once said that travel – any travel – is a privilege and he was quite right.

In any case, I think we have some great recruits lined up in a few years’ time… (and I shall try to remember the things above next time I’m tearing my hair out).