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'Breakthrough' with Sue Unerman - Courage. Empowerment. Discovery.

In this new series, we ask our people to define what 'Breakthrough' means to them, both from a career standpoint and a personal note.

Recently announced as a Glass Lions for Change juror, this issue features Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation Officer, EssenceMediacomX.

What does ‘breakthrough’ mean to you?

There are many kinds of breakthroughs. They include a sudden, dramatic and important discovery or development, an act or instance of removing or surpassing an obstruction or restriction, the overcoming of a stalemate. Breakthroughs can change your career progression and work/life blend. Most of all, for me, a breakthrough requires you to have the courage and the bravery to stop settling for good enough, when good enough is never, in my opinion, good enough.

What’s been the most inspiring personal breakthrough in your life?

Discovering the power of meditation, I have been meditating every day now for over two decades.

What was the breakthrough moment in your career?

Working for leaders who have encouraged me to bring my best self to work, and to challenge the status quo. It started in 1990, when I joined the start up that became MediaCom and then EssenceMediacom.

Tell us about a piece of work you were involved with that you would define as a breakthrough.

Two examples, one old, one about to happen.

Old: Award winning strategy for Ajax surface cleaner where my naïve audience insight question: what do housewives really want (answer: someone else to do the cleaning for them) led to a complete change in creative and media strategy and led to a rethinking of gender stereotypes in advertising.

New: The Cannes creativity for good winning campaign for World Woman Foundation to create a movement to support women led businesses and to change the outcomes for women and girls economically around the world.

What breakthrough in this industry - achieved by someone else - do you really admire? What do you admire about it?

Google translate is the most extraordinary tool that mankind has developed, it transforms communication across language and culture, its effect on our industry, and on the world, is still playing out, as GenAI continues to revolutionise its power.