Ahead of our AMG ‘7 Minute Mentor’ speed learning session in Melbourne on May 17, Edelman brand director Alex Lefley shares the best (and worst) parts of his job, his most embarrassing career moment and his career high.

TCC: Why advertising as a career?

AL: For me this is the perfect cross-section of everything that I love – creatively solving real business problems, changing behaviors that effectively lead to a better society and the opportunity to work with some incredibly smart, passionate people – all combined in the one industry. What more could you ask for!

TCC: If you hadn’t pursued this as a career, what else would you have done?

AL:  I’d most likely have been a chef – I’d worked as one all through university and I very nearly re-trained after I’d completed my masters but got a place on a grad scheme and so my career took a different path.

TCC: Name three skills or qualities you think you need to stay at the top of your game ?

AL: 1. Thirst for knowledge – it’s critical that you’re constantly trying to self-improve and learn new skills to keep fresh. 2. Resilience – this job isn’t always easy and it’s important that you learn to take it on the chin and just get on with it. 3. The ability to switch off – it’s really important that you maintain a work-life balance – not only does it keep you fresh but also can add value to your work.

TCC: What’s the best part of your job?

AL: First and foremost, working with amazing people and clients. The diversity and quality of talent at Edelman is outstanding and being part of a team that creates groundbreaking, award-winning campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world is always exciting.

TCC: What’s the worst part of your job?

AL: Timesheets…

TCC: What’s your most embarrassing career moment?

AL: I can’t say I’ve had anything that major to be honest – the closest thing is probably when I met my wife at work and our client found out when we first started dating and mocked us ruthlessly for it.

TCC: What’s your career high?

AL: It’s very tough to put it down to just one or even a handful of highs – awards are great and always nice to win, but for me the real satisfaction comes from seeing a campaign you’ve been working with a client on for months finally launch. It’s an amazing feeling and one that, even after a decade of working in comms, still feels the same.

TCC: What do you look for in a team member?

AL: I look for two things really: 1. Strong cultural fit – we’re very proud of both our office culture and the wider Edelman cultural values and I believe that a positive work environment leads to great work for our clients. 2. Attitude – skills can be taught and improved, but having the right attitude to the work is invaluable.

TCC:  If you could step back in time and offer yourself just one piece of advice as you started your career, what would it be?

AL: You’re only in competition with yourself – focus on running your own race at your own pace.

Alex Lefley is one of our ‘7 Minute Mentors’ at our AMG speed mentoring event in Melbourne on May 17.