Mary Keane-Dawson on unlocking value through digital transformation

“Digital transformation is hard for big companies because they have encouraged ‘Groupthink’ and rewarded the wrong behaviour for years and years,” warns digital maven, entrepreneur and business mentor Mary Keane-Dawson.

After c-suite roles at WPP, Steak, Reform and Collective, in 2013 Mary co-founded medical technology startup MyHealthPal as well as the women’s networking franchise How She Made It – both of which started in London, but have since expanded to the US and Canada.

Mary started in advertising sales on Fleet Street in the late 80s, the dawn of desktop publishing, and she has been part of the digital revolution ever since. She has helped guide several of the world’s largest brands’ entry to the disruptive and evolving landscape of digital, including Mazda, Ford, John Lewis, BUPA, IBM, Nestle and British Gas. The first woman to Chair The Guardian Changing Advertising Summit, she is a speaker, writer, business mentor and coach. In April 2017 Mary stepped down as MD of Neo@Ogilvy and is starting a new agency leadership role in June.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Mary discusses her extraordinarily quick journey from ad sales to management, and the challenges she encountered on the way. “Rather than just being a sponge in the meeting and just nod my head sagely in agreement with the most senior person, I wasn’t afraid to ask the question that was on everyone’s mind,” she explains of her early days.

Learn how ‘another revolution’ in marketing and advertising awaits us with the rise of AI and Machine Learning, how companies can unlock value through digital transformation, and why it only works when there’s collegial buy-in.

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