Myrna Abou Mrad: Ahead to Full Cir­cle Ad­ven­tures

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Pre­fer­ring not to dwell on why she de­cided to leave her po­si­tion as the Gen­eral Man­ager of Porter Novelli Beirut, Myrna Abou Mrad opted in­stead to fo­cus on her new ad­ven­ture, af­ter as­sur­ing that her move was ex­e­cuted on good terms with Joe Ay­ache, the pre­vi­ous MD of Im­pact BBDO Beirut and the cur­rent founder of what be­came to­day Ay­ache & As­so­ci­ates Porter Novelli. The an­nounce­ment of your de­par­ture was un­ex­pected con­sid­er­ing that your fu­ture plans had not been made clear, so what prompted this move?

Ev­ery­one reaches a tip­ping point in life driv­ing one to make bold moves. 2016 marked the 20th an­niver­sary of my ca­reer in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion at BBDO; through­out, I was feel­ing the urge to fly solo, to put my dreams into mo­tion and over­come the in­ter­nal fear and self-doubt. I did it and it is look­ing fab­u­lous so far. The mar­ket re­sponse was im­me­di­ate and pos­i­tive.

What can you tell us about The Full Cir­cles, the com­pany you just es­tab­lished?

The Full Cir­cles is a start-up agency that of­fers tra­di­tional PR and en­gage­ment in many ways. I work with free­lancers - the world­wide trend now; I co-share plat­forms and I en­joy a lot of brain­storm­ing time alone or with groups of friends in non-con­ven­tional set-ups.

What are some of the ac­counts you are cur­rently han­dling?

It’s too pre­ma­ture to talk about a client base yet I can as­sure you that the start was far bet­ter than ex­pected.

Hav­ing worked in the PR field for over two decades, what has changed in the clients’ men­tal­ity and the field it­self?

The mar­ket is ripe with op­por­tu­ni­ties, con­sid­er­ing the new trends, new sec­tors and a new gen­er­a­tion of ex­ec­u­tives wait­ing to prove them­selves and count­ing on new part­ners and di­a­logues to do so. Clients want to see re­sults. Clients want ex­clu­sive con­cepts based on en­gage­ment, influence, ROI, con­tri­bu­tions, and thought lead­er­ship, all of which are not only buzz words but will help square the cir­cle.

I was feel­ing the urge to fly solo… I did it and is look­ing fab­u­lous so far…

MCN group in the same ca­pac­ity. To­day, as gen­eral man­ager of Magna, part of MCN group, I feel more con­fi­dent and happy with my choice.

What role does agency cul­ture play and how does the former com­pare to the lat­ter?

Each com­pany has its own cul­ture and I re­spect each one fully. The most im­por­tant thing is to be able to un­der­stand it and to feel in­te­grated.

What have been the great­est chal­lenges faced dur­ing all these years at the helm of Op­ti­me­dia and what do you be­lieve will be your next big­gest chal­lenge?

I faced many chal­lenges, the first was to cre­ate an iden­tity for Op­ti­me­dia as a sep­a­rate en­tity from the cre­ative agency at that time known as Publi­cis-graph­ics. The sec­ond was to drive the team and the busi­ness safely, dur­ing the tran­si­tional phase of the ac­qui­si­tion pe­riod of Op­ti­me­dia by Publi­cis. In other words, the chal­lenge was to suc­cess­fully guide the team and help them to com­ply with the new com­pany’s rules and reg­u­la­tions, with­out af­fect­ing the out­come within the chang­ing and un­sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment. My next big chal­lenge is to place the new ris­ing star ‘Magna’ on the map of top MBUS in Le­banon.

Sadly, within Publi­cis’ cur­rent struc­ture, there no longer was room for me to move up, or even side­ways.

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