Jon

Steel

Jon was the Global Head of Strategy for WPP. He created the “got milk” campaign and worked with Al Gore on Climate change.

"Find mentors who care more about your career than they do about their own."

Jon

Steel

Why do you want to be a mentor?

During my career (and throughout my life) I have benefitted greatly from the influence of a number of mentors. None of them acted in that capacity in any official way; we simply had a connection, they knew things that I didn’t, and they were good and willing listeners. The idea of Global Mentorship is true to what I knew to work best as a mentee and, later in my career, as a mentor myself: people need to have access not just to a single mentor, but rather to a broad range of people, each of whom has experienced different things. Most important, those mentors need to be people who are more interested in helping the mentee than they are in furthering their own career. I’m excited to be one of those mentors. I’m a good listener, and I know how to guide a conversation so that a mentee, in the process of discussing their problems, is able to arrive at their own solution. While it’s helpful if a mentor has experience of the mentee’s specific industry, situation and geography, it’s not essential. If 40 years as an advertising strategist has taught me anything, it’s how to understand other people: their hopes, fears, motivations, strengths and weaknesses, and how to get those people to see problems through a different lens.
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Jon’s career has spanned four decades, three continents, and more than a million miles on each of five different airlines. He’s a writer and strategist who has solved problems for commercial brands ranging from Nike, Coca-Cola, eBay, Porsche, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Starbucks, Unilever and Vodafone, to the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Cricket Australia and Fulham Football Club.

He was the strategic architect behind the globally-acclaimed ‘got milk?’ campaign, and between 2012 and 2014 worked, with former US Vice-President Al Gore and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on a global climate change campaign in advance of the 2014 UN Climate Change Summit. His environmental and conservation passions are currently focused on positioning and fund-raising work for the Kenya-based David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which successfully rescues orphaned elephants and reintegrates them into the wild, while protecting the wild populations and ecosystems.

Jon has published two best-selling industry books: ‘Truth, Lies & Advertising’ (1998) on how to develop strategically focused and creatively distinctive ideas, and ‘Perfect Pitch’ (2006) on how to persuade others that those ideas are right. His proudest achievements relate to his work as director of the WPP Fellowship, an elite global graduate recruitment and training program, designed to create future leaders for the WPP Group. Between 2005 and 2018, Jon hired and mentored more than 130 Fellows, most of whom have subsequently been appointed to senior industry positions at a ridiculously early age.

He retired from WPP at the end of 2018, although he still takes on consulting projects for people he likes, and on subjects that interest him. (This means he doesn’t take on very many.) He now spends most of his time writing, painting and travelling. His wife of 35 years, Lynda, is an interior designer; their son, Cameron, is a professional cricketer, based in London, and daughter, Hannah, is a veterinary doctor, about to move to Cameroon to work in a chimpanzee sanctuary. Dull moments are few and far between.

A Message from Jon: Although my entire career has been spent in the advertising industry, my role as a strategic planner has given me a unique insight into numerous different industries. I have helped to create, build and manage brands in the airline, automotive, beer, sports, healthcare, finance, entertainment, food and beverage, technology, consumer electronics, e-commerce, energy, and retail industries, and many more besides.

Countries Jon has worked in

Australia, Europe, USA / Canada

Industries Jon has worked in

Entertainment, Media & Advertising

Jon's key roles and titles

Advisor / Mentor, Board Director, Partner, Planning Director, Vice-Chairman, WPP Fellowship Director

Management Skills & Competencies

Adaptability & Resilience
Communication & Interpersonal Skills
Creativity & Innovation
Customer Focus and Management
Diversity & Social Responsibility
Ethical
Leadership
Management & Strategy
Problem Solving & Decision Making
Project & Time Management

Companies Jon has worked with

  • Boase Massimi Pollitt, London (Planning Director, Board Director, 1984-1989)
  • Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco (Planning Director, Partner, Vice-Chairman1989-1999)
  • WPP Group (Global Planning Director, Director of WPP Fellowship, 2002-2018)
  • Perth Scorchers (Board Director, 2011-2012)
  • WPP Australia (Board Director, 2016-2018)
  • Independent Consultant (2019-present)

Jon's current city

Perth, Australia

Jon's book recommendation

West with the Night,' by Beryl Markham. It has nothing to do with business, yet perhaps everything to do with business. And it's a great book.

We are here to help - please reach out to find out more about Jon and schedule a FREE 30min obligation free chat

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