Sunday, October 15, 2006

Coffee with Memac Ogilvy's Sam Moutran; What it's like being the Bosses Son.

D: Now you have two relationships with Eddie Moutran, one as your dad and the second as the boss of the agency you work at, Memac Ogilvy. Now many would say working at your dad’s agency is a walk in the park but we know personally it isn't the case for you. Could you tell us a little bit about the difficulties?

S: There are several ‘issues’. The one I found hardest to wrap my head around was the idea that most people think – he is only here because Daddy is the boss. The truth of the matter is that my brothers and I had to work twice as hard to earn genuine respect from our colleagues. But, I guess when you do it is all that more rewarding.

I even found there were higher expectations from clients – when they found out. As if all of a sudden I can move mountains within the agency. Without quoting any of them it was along the lines of “look, if it isn’t going to happen why don’t you call your father and make it happen…”

The other difficulty I would say would be filling people’s shoes. I mean, my father has obviously worked so hard for so many years to build the reputation he has, and people almost expect you to automatically walk in on that level. Then there are the shoes of my two elder brothers. These guys are stars in the making, if not already. And even though people claim not to compare us to each other – there is always added pressure to ensure I live up to the standards they have set before me.

D: How limiting is it to be who you are? I mean would any other agency in the region hire you?

S: No. Well, as far as I am aware it would be a conflict of interests. However, to be honest I don’t see myself working anywhere else; I am far too passionate about the agency I am already working for. I have been Ogilvy my whole life, why would I change.

D: So a key motivator for employees is making it to the top, how do the employees at Memac Ogilvy feel when they know that the agency’s boss has 3 sons working in the very same agency?

S: It was made clear to us from day 1 that only the best will do. If we are not good enough to be promoted, then we won’t be. At the end of the day this is a business, and like any business man, Eddie Moutran expects the best from all his employees: neither him, nor we, are naïve enough to want to let the business be run by people who are not capable. Having said that, I think we are managing to keep up with the other stars around us, and maybe shine ourselves from time to time. So in answer to your question, I don’t think it is an issue for any of my colleagues.

D: Ok ok, enough about the negatives, lets talk about the positives a little. Come on Sam, despite all the s**t you put up with, being the bosses son must be pretty cool!

S: Answer: The truth – I am more fortunate than anyone can imagine. I get to have a casual chat, over a Sunday lunch, with a man who helped build the industry in this region, what better advice can a young professional dream of. Regardless of the inevitably hectic schedule he has, he always manages to give us a helping hand when we need it. And believe me there is no client, or situation or problem the likes of which he hasn’t seen before, and managed to handle. So yeah there are benefits on top of the ones mentioned, but when you compare them to some of the ‘issues’ mentioned, and some of the ones not – they pretty much weigh each other out.

D: Sam it was a pleasure, good luck to you at Memac Ogilvy!


Anonymous AP said...

Good on you Sam, rare find for people to have a future secure and sitll be passionate about what they do.
I think the Lebanese elite are a prime example of how comfort could go wrong.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Oliver Twisted said...

I think too much comfort for anyone of any nationality can go wrong, not just Lebanese.

Sam, how difficult is it for you to trust new friends you make in the agency?

I mean it is in everyones interest to be the Bosses sons best do you cope with that?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Oliver Twisted said...

I think too much comfort for anyone of any nationality can go wrong, not just Lebanese.

Sam, how difficult is it for you to trust new friends you make in the agency?

I mean it is in everyones interest to be the Bosses sons best do you cope with that?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Technorat said...

The same way anyone copes with pretentious a** kissing. They label them 'a** kisser'.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in a similair situation to Sam, I would like to add that you are excluded from alot of grass root conversation. A large portion of agency peoples dialog is about the agency itself, most are complaints about people, structures, promotions, rules etc...
This is conversation which you tend to be excluded from.
Few will complain in front of do walk into conversations and experience that awkward silence frequently.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys fine, Im sure its tough but are we overlooking the fact that very rarely is someone going to actually fire their son.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont the words Job security mean anything to anyone?

5:47 PM  
Blogger X said...

Anonymous you are aware of the term 'stakeholders'.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oliver - I tend to consider friends in the agency like any other friends. I mean it goes without saying that work is work, and that should never comprimise a friendship. I think they all pretty much realise that they are not going to get any added professional 'benefits' from being my friend. Has to be said, some of my closest friends in the country i met through work.

Anonymous 1 - I actually find it quite the opposite, people tend to think that by making complaints to me it is going to make some difference - they soon realise they are better off speaking to the MD's secretary, cause coming my way won't help matter.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep at it Sami, you've done a great job so far.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were MD I wouldn't allow my son(s) to work inthe same agency regardless of talent.

It stinks of nepotism regardless if it's ther or not and anyone who thinks this isn't goingto be a suspicion within the agency is clearly in with the 'right crowd' and denying their instinctive feelings.

I'm sure you're good at what you do Sam and I'm sure your father and brothers are also. Just this really is the wrong way to go about 21st century business...unless it's your own that is

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Valid point, but where do you put them?

Only option you've have is to make them change industry which is stupid...or send them out of the region...which is equally as stupid.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't there other agencies in the region?

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea get the MD of Burnett to hire the owner of FP7, the release his kids

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem solved

Sam looks like your only option is to change agency in order to become fully recognised

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Spoon said...

Anonymous did you mean 'get the MD of one agency to hire the son of the owner of a second agency?' the 'words conflict of interest ring a bell' in the hollow tower?

ding ding?

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is in, in most cases, contractually illegal for the owner of an agency - or family of, to work for another agency.

I have zero intention of working in another part of the world. So that option is ruled out.

I love what i do - so i am not changing industry.

Anonymous - the definition of nepotism is: Practicing favoritism toward one's family. Firms give favored employment positions to family members.

If you take out the word favoritism it doesn't really mean much. I am certain that if you were to ask any of my colleauges if there is any level of favoritism, they would tell you none of us are treated any better - or worse than any other employee.

E.G. In order to get this interview approved for publishing i needed to run it through my D.M.D, to M.D , to head of group visibility then to the CEO - and back again.


11:54 AM  

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