The Drum seeks out and talks to some of the most interesting people working in the global media and marketing sector in an effort to get to know them better. This week The Drum’s 10 Questions at put to Snapchat’s international VP, Claire Valoti.
What was your first-ever job?
My first real job was working at a bed and breakfast in King's Cross that my parents own to this day [The Alhambra Hotel in King's X]. I was made to clean the rooms and do literally everything from the reception to the breakfast. That was my first official job, but my first ever job in the industry was working at MindShare.
Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
"Let's be strategic" - I think it's very important to be strategic but it gets overused and I would say 50% of the time, people aren't being strategic, they're being tactical but under the umbrella of being strategic.
Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
Clearly I follow them on Snapchat, although we're not a social media platform. Also slightly biased because I interviewed him a couple of years ago, but I love Philip Schofield. He's genuinely very entertaining. And not what you would expect from him, which makes him just so authentic on the platform.
What is the highlight of your career (so far?)
I think getting promoted to run the international business for Snapchat. I think the reason for me was one, it was testament that they'd felt I'd done a great job of building the UK business up, but I have learnt so much about myself, as a leader and as a manager. I learnt about cultures in a way that I never thought I could from a business point of view and I've grown a lot.
What piece of tech can you not live without?
That one is obvious I’m afraid - my phone.
Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Embarrassingly, Christian Slater. I loved him in Heathers.
In marketing and design, what needs to change soon?
Action. We do a lot of talking about various key themes that need to change. I'd like to see us actually make those changes faster, because as I always say, things are happening faster than we're making those changes and we need to get ahead of it faster.
What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Definitely a film, I would say Mary Poppins. As a kid I watched Mary Poppins every day and now I've got kids it reminds you of the importance of make-believe and magic. It just brings you back to a very happy place and I think for me Mary Poppins just signifies all those things.
Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
For me it would be Cannes, because it's just connecting with key partners at a global level and I think it's a support and a way to connect to those people and really understand where we are as partners.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Stay true to yourself. Never lose sight of who you are and what you believe in.