Rebels, misfits and innovators: 50Over50 – Jan Gooding

50 Over 50 is a series of interviews with our most influential and inspiring industry leaders aged 50 and over. 

We think it’s time to recognise and celebrate the true talent in our industry, the creatives, technologists, founders and leaders that are really driving our industry and shaping society.

Jan Gooding is Chair of the Board of Trustees of LGBT equality charity Stonewall and was ranked 16 in the Financial Times’s Top 100 Outstanding in Business list. She chairs PAMCo (the body which oversees audience measurement for the published media industry) and is on the executive committee of WACL.

In an over forty-year career, she worked for companies including Aviva, where she was Global Inclusion Director, British Gas and BT.

What one thing are you proudest of in your career?

Starting my own brand consultancy BLUEdOOR with Kathy Oldridge having been unceremoniously fired from the board of an advertising agency when I was on maternity leave.

We had a better client list, more fun and made a lot more money than in any previous employment.

What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?

Experience teaches you how to quickly build on ideas so they are bigger, and more effectively implemented, than at the early part of a career.

I feel just as creative but with age comes the wisdom of how best to execute.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your role today?

I have regained control of my own time and only spend it on what interests me and will have a meaningful impact.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

Act quickly on poor performance.

What advice would you give your 25-year old self?

Meritocracy is a load of old bollocks.

It is an idea to allows those with power to decide what is of merit and hold others back. Speak up about your contribution and make sure you are properly valued in pay, promotion and given opportunities to grow.

What is the biggest mistake companies are making in their attitude to age today?

Older people are wealthier, more adventurous, curious and more up for change than they are given credit for.

As you get older you both know your own mind and have the confidence to change it.

What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?

The combination of technological advances and the constraints on the world’s resources means that the future workplace will have to be completely reinvented to include talent from every part of society.

It is an age in which we must be radical in our thinking and behaviour.

What is your biggest regret about the industry today?

It has been corrupted by short term financial imperatives and lost its place as the voice and champion of real people – our consumers.

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