About Gather Week Highlights Last Updated: May 30, 2020

Day 1 – Practical advice and training on how to dream big and achieve the career (and life) you want.


On day one of WACL’s virtual Gather Week event, Leadership Coaching CEO Fiona Parashar looked at how to positively plan a meaningful career with advice on dreaming big to achieve the career and life you want.

Fiona’s Facebook Live session gave our hundreds of viewers the chance to look “backwards, forwards, up and down” and included practical exercises on role models, creating time for dreaming, journaling and just getting started with it all. Fiona said: “One of the gifts that have come with the present pause is that we can give up on the comparison game. We are all on different paths.”  “It’s not a case of ‘when I, then I’. The more we work on our own well being the sooner good things will happen in your career and life.”

Day 2 – There is an “I” in Team. Tips on how to make your team psychologically safer.

Tuesday 19th  1 pm-2 pm. Pat Boles, Psychotherapist.

“If you want to change the world start with yourself.” This is what psychotherapist and former advertising creative Pat Boles told us during Day Two of WACL’s virtual Gather Week.
Living proof that we should not be afraid to embark on a plan to change careers, the multi-awarded creative director behind the BT ‘Stephen Hawking’ and Alka Seltzer ‘Lifeboat’ commercials discussed the topic of psychological safety. She covered what makes a high functioning team and condensed her advice into a memorable three-word formula that talks to leaders and juniors alike: Clarity + Compassion = Connection.
• “If you have clarity in roles and responsibilities then you feel safe to challenge.”
• “If fears clog you up, then you need compassion for yourself. Feeling kind to yourself gives you compassion towards others.”
• “There is an I in team and it’s you. Where there is conflict, stay grounded, look for a friendly face.”

Day 3 Highlights – Why dependable doesn’t mean dull

Wednesday Part 1
Wednesday Part 2

On day 3 of Gather Week, we heard from Debbie Phillips and Michaella Williams, the two winners of WACL’s ultimate prize – The Patricia Mann Award – which sits within WACL’s Future Leaders scheme, now in its 14th year.

Debbie won the judges hearts and minds from the outset as a self-declared introvert in an industry built for extroverts. Her passion to make her workplace, NatWest, more inclusive shone through. Sharing her alternative CV, she told us about leaving school and home to go and live independently, only later going to university. “Winning the FLA invited me to take stock of my career,” she said. “It’s a real investment in yourself.”

Michaella, who works at Generation Media, also mesmerised the judges with her energy and passion for driving inclusion in our industry. Her presentation invited us to break our ‘atelophobia’, the fear of imperfection. Sharing practical tips for future FLA stars, she told us: “Now’s a good time to think about how the bursary will propel you to where you want to be.”

Day 4 Highlights | CEO day

Day 4 of Gather Week saw WACL focus on CEO perspectives on leadership and leadership during a pandemic.

Our podcast with Penny James, CEO of Direct Line Group, saw Gather Week co-chair Claire Sadler take her ultimate boss Penny on a journey through career moves, learning from your deepest darkest career troubles, vulnerability, teamwork, leadership, quotes from Nelson Mandela and more. A beautifully delivered set of questions, this Gather Week session proved both practical and entertaining. Listen here.

Next, in the lunchtime slot, Next, in the lunchtime slot, we had a CEO and one of her Board Trustees in conversation. This compelling session saw Daryl Fielding talking to British Heart Foundation CEO, Dr. Charmaine Griffiths about different aspects of leadership. What were Charmaine’s first 95 days as CEO like given her vast organisation went from operations across 750 sites to virtual working? Is there anything more important than good communications in a crisis? What has been the unexpected positive side effect of removing formal structures as we work from home? Fast-talking and funny, Daryl took Charmaine into the nitty-gritty of our Gather Week theme of teamwork. The lockdown has certainly not killed this CEO’s infectious positivity or her genuine appreciation for her team and volunteers.
See the interview here.

Day 5 Highlights


On the final day of Gather Week, we joined Syl Saller CBE, CMO Diageo, in lunchtime conversation with Camilla Harrisson, CEO Anomaly. Talking via Facebook Live from Camilla’s kitchen and Syl’s home office they explored how they build psychological safety in their teams, leadership styles and work dynamic during COVID-19 and beyond.

From the many interesting takeaways we heard about their first impressions of each other, the central role WACL has played in their lives and their respective leadership styles. Camilla said of Syl: “You’re constantly learning, thoughtful about how you lead. And you’re also able to pause, have silence  – I’ve never been able to do that!“. And Syl on Camilla: “You’re strategic, diligent and caring. And you’re always working, I want you to share the load more!“.
Speaking about leading through COVID 19, they shared their most personal thoughts, including from Syl: “With my retirement planned the idea of not saying good-bye in-person to people I’ve worked with for 20 years was overwhelming.”
A significant practical takeaway from the session covered imposter syndrome. As Camilla said: “It comes from the urge to compare, but everyone has a superpower.” Syl added: “Let’s stop using the word imposter and be more diagnostic about what you feel bad about. Growth is never a straight line, it’s about a commitment to being on the up trajectory.” Hear-hear to that from all involved in Gather Week.
See the full conversation here.

Fiona Parashar, CEO & Coaching Director, Leadership Coaching

Fiona is the founder of Leadership Coaching Ltd. She specialises in coaching leaders and senior executives through transition periods, typically promotions, restructures, mergers or new roles, but also mid-life transitions in the context of work.

Fiona spent 12 years in leading roles at top advertising and media international agencies Ogilvy, Lintas and McCann Erickson. She later jointly ran Universal McCann, with clients ranging from Nestle and Sky to L’Oréal and Coca-Cola, before leaving to set up Leadership Coaching in 2000.

With over 10,000 hours of executive coaching experience, coaching senior leaders and training and supervising executive coaches, Fiona has a well-refined, results-oriented coaching style, combining her business and commercial experience with her academic background in Psychology.

Fiona is an award-winning coach and certified supervisor with training in executive coaching, mastery in coaching from Newfield, and NLP coaching. She has an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology, a BSc Hons Human Psychology, and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She’s also a Master Practitioner of NLP and accredited to administer and process psychometric testing, including MBTI, FIRO-B and Emergenetics®. Fiona is also a teacher of meditation and mindfulness.


Patricia Boles, MA,

Adv. Dip. Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling, MBACP, UKCP.

Pat Doherty career has included roles as a D&AD and Cannes juror and award-winning copywriter and Creative Director for London agencies including Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Saatchi, AMV and BBH. Pat is now a counsellor and psychotherapist with a private practice both in Central and North West London and is registered with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Pat has a particular interest in managing and creating a healthy balance between life and work, and stress and emotional wellbeing in the workplace, having had plenty of personal experience with agency experience, including miscarriage, redundancy, familial bereavement and being an introverted female in an extrovert environment!

Aside from having a private practice, Pat also facilitates workshops and groups for stress management and self-esteem. Pat has worked within advertising agencies as an in house staff counsellor, a wellbeing service at St Charles’ Hospital and as a staff counsellor, dealing with issues both personal and related to the workplace, in the staff stress management service at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington

Debbie Phillips, Head of Campaigns, RBS

Debbie is Head of Campaigns at NatWest (formerly RBS) working across proactive media and public affairs campaigns. She also leads the bank’s 13,000 strong women’s network, creating opportunities for colleagues to grow and learn together. She is a frequent speaker on both diversity and resilience and is passionate about the impact that coaching and mentoring can have. She was one of the winners of the Patricia Mann 2020 WACL Future Leader Award and has been shortlisted for the Women in Banking and Finance Future Leader Award. Outside of work, she volunteers with BLOOM, is a founding member of the Allbright Club, a Brownie Guide leader and soon-to-be podcaster.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation

Charmaine re-joins the BHF as our Chief Executive from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) where she had a range of strategic and operational responsibilities; most recently as Chief Operating Officer. The ICR is one of the world’s most influential cancer research organisations, with more than 1100 scientists and staff and an income of more than £140m.

She also holds leadership roles for several ambitious initiatives, including the London Cancer Hub and the pioneering new £75m Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery.

Charmaine did her PhD and postdoctoral research in Neuroscience at University College London, alongside working in public engagement for the Wellcome Trust. Her subsequent career at the BHF included roles spanning communications, policy and assurance, as well as strategy.

Her non-executive experience includes roles at the Human Tissue Authority, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Brain Research UK and the Cranfield Trust.

Charmaine led the development of our previous organisational strategy, winning the Best Strategic Transformation category at the Chief Strategy Officer Awards 2014.

David Pattison

David left school at 18 not really knowing what he wanted to do. For the last 40-something years he has worked in the media and marketing services industry, starting his career working his way through a number of advertising agencies.

In 1990 he co-founded the media agency PHD with Nick Horswell and Jonathan Durden. The business eventually found its way, via the AMV group, into the Omnicom network. David stayed for a total of 17 years. In that time he helped build the initial business, led the team that sold to AMV, attended Harvard on an advanced management programme, lived and worked in New York for three years and launched PHD in 35 markets.

He was also the first person from the media sector to become IPA president. After leaving PHD he was hired to sell a digital business into a private equity-backed MBO. Since then he has worked as a ‘wingman’ watching the backs of companies and CEOs. He is an angel investor, a mentor, advisor, Chairman, founder and company ‘friend’. David still doesn’t know what he wants to do but it’s been a blast on the way through…….David Pattison:

Lindsay Pattison, Chief Client Officer, WPP

In October 2018, Lindsay was appointed Chief Client Officer of WPP, reporting to CEO Mark Read. In this role, she is responsible for WPP’s 50+ Global Client Teams (who lead the largest accounts with 40,000 colleagues globally), organic growth and integrated new business. As CCO, Lindsay ensures that WPP’s major clients have access to the combined strengths of WPP, that the best talent is working on the client teams, and that they work effectively with WPP companies and Country Managers to deliver fully integrated solutions for clients.

The CCO role follows Lindsay’s role as Chief Transformation Officer for GroupM (May 2017) and Global CEO of Maxus, a WPP media agency. Lindsay is a passionate advocate for gender equality and created a WPP-wide initiative called ‘Walk the Talk’. She also serves on the board as a Non-Executive Director at Design Bridge.

Michaella Williams Associate Director, Generation Media

Michaella is an Associate Director at Generation Media an independent media planning and buying agency, that specialises in communications with children, young people and families. Previously, Michaella graduated six years ago from Bournemouth University where she studied Communication and Media Studies. Most recently she won a Patricia Mann WACL Future Leaders 2020 award where she was recognised as “a pioneer who lit up the room”. In her ‘spare time,’ Michaella plays semi-professional football as a defender for Dulwich Hamlet FCW.

Camilla Harrisson

Camilla Harrisson Partner, CEO, Anomaly London

Camilla has worked in the UK advertising industry for 25 years at agencies including Wieden + Kennedy, Leo Burnett and M&C Saatchi. She joined Anomaly in 2014 as partner and CEO of the London office.  Anomaly is a progressive global agency with 7 offices worldwide – it’s driven by an entrepreneurial culture that comprises a diverse set of skills including design, comms and innovation.  Anomaly’s partnership with Diageo goes back ten years and today includes brands such as Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan and Gordon’s.

Camilla plays an active part in the UK industry, being a current member of the IPA Council and a member – and past President (2012/13) – of Women in Advertising and Communications London, or WACL. She also sits on the Corporate Development Board of Mind and is currently running an industry-wide initiative around mental health.

Camilla plays an active part in the UK industry, being a current member of the IPA Council and a member – and past President (2012/13) – of Women in Advertising and Communications London, or WACL. She also sits on the Corporate Development Board of Mind and is currently running an industry-wide initiative around mental health.


Syl Saller

Syl Saller, CBE

Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo

Syl is the CMO and a member of Diageo’s Executive Committee. Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business operating in 180 countries with over 200 brands including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness. Syl oversees all Global Marketing, Design, Innovation, and Reserve, Diageo’s luxury division. Before she was appointed CMO, she was Global Innovation Director, responsible for Diageo’s innovation strategy, including all new product development, launch programmes and R&D. Prior to that, she was Marketing Director for Diageo Great Britain.

Syl was recently awarded a CBE for services to business and equality in the workplace. Syl is President of the Marketing Society and a member of the Marketing Academy Board. A member of the 30 Club, MGGB and WACL, she is consistently recognised by external organisations as a leader and expert in her field, recently being recognised as one of Campaign Magazine’s 5 most influential Global CMOs. She was named Marketer of the Year, one of the 500 Most Influential People in Britain and Forbes top 50 CMOs. Syl has been a Non-Executive Director of Domino’s Pizza Group plc where she chaired the Nominations Committee and served on the RemCo.