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Dan Dobson-Smith

Chief Learning & Culture Officer, Essense

Essence is a global digital agency that blends data science, objective media and captivating experiences to build valuable connections between brands and consumers. Clients include Google, HP Inc., method, Tesco Mobile and the Financial Times. The agency is more than 540 people strong, manages over $850MM in media spend and deploys campaigns in 71 markets via offices in Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Part of GroupM, Essence is majority owned by WPP, the world’s leading communications services group.

Reporting into the global CEO, I am accountable for architecting the culture and conditions that deliver the Essence vision and ensure our people can be at their best.

Architecting the right conditions means:
– Partnering with executive leadership to break down any barriers that could interfere with Essence’s commercial and operational success.

– Ensuring Essence is equipped with the right skills, knowledge and capabilities to deliver the business today and in the future as we scale.

– Leading an internal Professional Coach Framework and acting as an Executive Coach-Mentor.

– Developing a team of talent development and culture specialists to partner with their regional teams in the implementation of all talent development and culture matters.

Architecting the right culture means:
– Understanding the long-term commercial needs of our business and designing the cultural fabric that enables us to deliver to the strategic agenda.

– Ensuring the emotional and psychological impacts of global change programs are managed and the culture remains strong as we scale and transform the business.

– Designing Essence’s People Proposition and ensuring it is experienced in real and meaningful terms by our people.

– Global accountability for employee listening, internal communications and employee engagement activities and ensuring Essence is a workplace in which our people are invested in, engaged with and cared for.