Karen Blackett OBE Demystifies The Media Industry

16 December 2016

Karen Blackett OBE, Chairwoman of MediaCom UK and apprenticeship champion, gave students at the London Academy an insight into her career and into the workings of an advertising agency.

Speaking to 100 students, Karen was eager to share her key messages and discuss different advertising campaigns MediaCom has been involved with. Karen gave the students key details of campaigns run for Justin Bieber, Coca Cola and Cancer Research whilst discussing the different ways in which we consume media. As one of the most influential business figures in the UK and leading campaigner for young people accessing industry opportunities, it was a unique opportunity for these students to get world class advice and insights.

Media is…everything we consume now

Students were eager to hear from such an influential figure and there were several key messages that Karen gave them to take away from the talk:

Have a personal statement – know what you’re good at, how you work, what your interests are and how you can contribute to a project”

“Be interesting and interested

“Celebrate what makes you different, rather than think of it as a disadvantage”

Karen also discussed the various opportunities available to students within the media and advertising industries and discussed the successful apprenticeship programme set up by MediaCom in 2012, making them the 1st creative industry to set up a government run apprenticeship scheme. Karen is passionate about providing opportunities within the industry to people of all backgrounds.

“Setting up an Apprenticeship scheme had long been an ambition of mine. I feel passionately about talent being given the opportunity to shine, regardless of ethnicity, wealth or education. We’re about to take on our 40th Apprentice and with each young person that’s joined our ranks, I feel more and more confident that we are effectively future-proofing our business.”

The students had clearly done their research to make the most of the opportunity to quiz Karen, and asked questions about:

  • The apprenticeship scheme
  • Overcoming challenges and prejudice in a white male dominated industry
  • How she motivates her teams
  • What is her day to day work
  • Has she met Justin Bieber
  • What car she drives

Karen Blackett, talking at London Academy in Edgware, North London.


MediaCom also run an insights day for students interested in a future career in media/marketing or for anyone who wants to get a feel of how a media office works. Through Speakers for Schools, students from schools in our network were able to attend this event on December 1st.


Thanks to Karen Blackett for being such a big supporter of Speakers for Schools and thanks to the staff and students at the London Academy for facilitating such a fantastic talk with great questions and lively discussions.