Member Interview with Natalie Shardan

After earning her Bachelor of Arts, she joined BBDO Dubai in 2005. Natalie has since worked for Y&R, JWT, Mullen Lowe MENA and Nomads, where she worked as a Client Servicing Director before she joined Serviceplan in 2018. Natalie now has more than 13 years of experience in the advertising industry.

What’s your golden rule?
Be brave and get out of your comfort zone more often. If you don’t try new things you won’t develop or learn. Challenge yourself to do better every day and do it with passion.

Who has been your biggest influence?
It’s places and people.

Starting with my parents that have always been brave and pushed me to do things differently and supported me all the way.

Dubai, as a diverse city that has people from different walks of life. Living in this city has opened my mind and influenced the way I think.

My mentors throughout my career – specifically my first boss at BBDO who taught me a lot and most importantly taught me that it’s ok to fail, but it’s not ok to stop believing in myself and what I’m capable of doing.

What is your most hated business expression?
We don’t have enough budgets to make things happen.

Things are tough, budgets are tights but I see this as a great opportunity for real leaders to shine! When things are good and economies are stable, everyone is happy and doing well. Strong leaders shine in tough situations, this is when you can make a real difference.

How can marketers be braver?
It’s when they consciously step out of their comfort zone, when they worry less about losing their jobs and focus more on making a difference.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Taking on the responsibility of leading and growing my current Agency in a market and an economy that is tough and super competitive. I had a very stable job before, steady business revenue and profit margins and I decided to step out of my comfort zone, leave my job and take on a new tough challenge. I thought, what’s the worst that could happen! And so far it’s going well.

Which leader do you admire most and why?
A leader who is admired and respected by his/her team. A great leader has to also be a good people’s person and a great mentor who spots opportunities in people and help them grow.

What’s your favourite word?
Love yourself

Tell us a secret?
I’m scared of heights

Connect with Natalie on Linked In


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