Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Media Hero: Tracey Barber, Global CMO, Havas Creative Group

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their media hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Tracey Barber is Global CMO at Havas Creative Group, Havas UK, promoted to the role in April 2019. She has been at Havas since 2014 and previously held senior roles at agencies including Lowe Howard-Spink, Kitcatt Nohr Digitas and EHS 4D Group.

Who is your media hero?

My boss, Chris Hirst. Global CEO of the Havas Creative network and Havas UK Chairman.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

He’s written the book on good leadership – literally. He empowers me and everyone else who works for him to believe in their ability to do the right thing, to make a call, to not be afraid of making mistakes and to always be honest about where we are now.

His book is a bestseller and I’m not kidding about it being a bible for doing it right. I feel very privileged to work for him now at this point in my career.

How has his heroism helped drive media?

All of that sounds a bit bleeding obvious. And it is really – it’s just damn hard to do.

The result is growth in our business globally at a time when so many of our competitors are crippled by losses.

And he relentlessly tears down the obstacles that get in the way of our ability to grow. So we keep growing. 

What the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?

We need some balls again.

Our industry has been apologising for making money for too long. If we deliver the right work, in the right way, at the right time, in the right media, we’ll make meaningful differences.

We’ve got the heroes in our businesses already, they just need to shout louder, be braver.

Let’s get our swagger back. Because when we’re good, led by heroes, we’re really, really good.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in media?

I’ve survived another ball-breaking year. And we’re still smashing it.

Oh, and I’ve managed to backpack with my daughter in Australia, take my son to New York and make lasting friendships right in the thick of it at work.

Including with my boss. Does that count as heroic? It feels like it to me.