The brief for the 2015 Media Business Course was provided by easyJet. Before the Course started, CEO Carolyn McCall offered the delegates some advice…

Originally posted to the Guardian Media & Tech Network

When I’m asked for advice on professional success, the answer invariably depends on the questioner – their experience, plans and attitude.

But if you’re a few years into your career in media and marketing, there are still ways you can develop important skills that will shape how you work and ultimately determine how successful your career will be.

So, when I’m asked, these are the skills that I think are the most helpful when you are building your career.


A couple of years into my career at the Guardian I was asked to participate in the Media Business Course. I had never presented to anyone, but all of a sudden I found myself in a situation where a group of peers were asking me, alongside two others, to pitch a range of ideas that we had been working on to a group of more than 200 people. It was an intimidating moment, to say the least.

Despite nerves, I realised that I could present and do it well. My peers were brilliant in encouraging my confidence and I never looked back.

I would encourage you to put yourself in situations that build your confidence, even if they’re a bit overwhelming at first glance. Only when you face a difficult challenge and are able to overcome it will your confidence in your abilities continue to grow.

Collaboration and speaking up

At a similar time to finding my confidence while presenting ideas, I also learned how important it is to speak up. Having the confidence to speak up and contribute in a big group is an invaluable skill in any job because if you don’t cut through in a large group, you quickly become a passive bystander.

But speaking up goes hand-in-hand with collaboration – working with people and being able to participate in a constructive and collegiate way is a skill much needed in today’s workplace.


You never know when you will meet someone, inside or outside your industry, who could be helpful – be it next month, next year, or even over the next decade. This isn’t a cynical point; it’s about getting on with people, staying in touch and being able to help each other and learn from one another.

Networking within your own company – getting to know people outside of your own area – is equally important. It will enable you to get involved in a much broader range of projects where you will learn a lot and have fun.


Perhaps most important of all, having the right attitude is the biggest differentiator between success and failure in this industry. I learned early on that it’s the most enthusiastic people and the ones with a great sense of humour who do well in the media and marketing sector.

Working really hard and being determined to succeed is important, but the trick is being able to balance this with not taking yourself too seriously, being able to have a laugh and lifting a team’s spirit.

This has stayed with me throughout my career. I’m a firm believer that if you love what you do and show it, and you retain humour in the face of adversity, people will want to work with you and want you in their team.

carolynmccall easyjet media business course