BLOG: My time on the Marketing Leaders Programme

MLP blog

I recently attended and completed the Marketing Leaders Programme (a marketing leadership development course by Brand Learning and The Marketing Society).

The programme is a total of six days and they’re split into two lots of three days with about six weeks in between.

Splitting the course up this way is a great way to take learnings and tools into the workplace and apply them before regrouping.

The course is focused on equal parts marketing (fundamentals, trends and best practices) and leadership (energy, style, values, purpose).

The format was a good mix of presentation and interactive sessions. There were a total of 12 attendees on the flight I attended and we were grouped into smaller working groups of 2-3 and had the opportunity to really get to know about each other’s career and leadership journey.

Our working group regrouped with each other at numerous points over the course which was a great way to reflect on our own personal experience and journey on the IMLP course.

The other attendees were mainly marketers (some with more general management roles) from various industries (financial services, retail, energy, tourism). I was the odd man out being the only person from an agency background. At times I was able to offer the agency perspective on challenges marketers faced and it helped fuel informative and constructive discussion on the mutually aligned goals of brands and the agencies that support them.

Each day we were treated to two speakers (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). The speakers were all accomplished and distinguished practitioners. They came from different industries (fast/slow moving packaged goods, insurance, luxury, hospitality, consulting) and each had their own stories and experiences that define their own particular leadership approach and style. The speakers were:

  • Erica Kerner, VP Marketing & Communications APAC, Tiffany & Co.
  • Tarun S Raman Director, Regional Sector Leader, APAC, Kimberly-Clark,
  • Claire Chang, co-founder and Senior Vice President, Banyan Tree
  • Dan Barnett, Director APAC Brand Operations, Proctor & Gamble
  • Richard Bleasdale, Managing Partner APAC, The Observatory International
  • Melanie Lane, GM Marketing & Commercial Excellence, Shell Aviation
  • Nihal Kaviratne CBE, Chairman, Akzo Nobel India Pvt
  • Yvette Templar, Vice President Marketing & Communications APAC, Allied Worldwide

My personal take-away from the course was the work we did on values and purpose.

Values and purpose are something we all have but what's not as obvious and easy is to know clearly and convincingly what your core ones are and to be able to articulate them and have them guide your actions and decisions in both personal and professional contexts.

Ultimately I found the programme invaluable and really helped me especially given the transitory situation I am currently in (I am actively looking for new opportunities). Whilst the course may not have answered all my questions (still working on nailing my values and purpose!), it greatly helped in pointing me in the right direction and for that I have to say a huge thank you to Harriet de Swiet and Andy Bird for being our spiritual and professional guides on IMLP.

Thank you also to the incredible speakers who were super generous with their time and advice and lastly my fellow IMLP class-mates: I really enjoyed meeting all of you and hoped that I was able to help in some way on your marketing leadership journey because you certainly helped me on my journey.

At the end of the day time is a limited resource we all share. It’s what we do with it and how we choose to spend it that makes a difference. So being more deliberate and intentional with my time is certainly another key take-away from the course. And to conclude; time spent going on the IMLP was certainly time well spent. I highly recommend it to anyone.


By Andrew Au, Vice Chair, Southeast Asia, The Marketing Society