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  • Writer's pictureBloom North

Bloom North profile: Pavan Riyat, Founder of We Are Allies

What do you most admire in a colleague?

Collaboration, a good positive energy, communication, patience, teamwork and tenacity. Also having the ability to keep quiet and listen sometimes - you don't always need to be the loudest person in the room to add value. Also knowing it's OK to make mistakes - if you learn something - it was a mistake worth making.

Running a freelance creative network and supporting agencies to ensure they get the right talent for their brief takes lots of organisation and hard work. I run Allies with my daughter Polly, an Editor, husband Rick a Creative Director and son George a Photographer - we're a creative family and what's great is that our kids are learning from us and we from them.

What moment in your life most helped in shaping your career?

I started my career in the advertising agency world. Having spent many years doing that, I felt the need to broaden my experience and move client side. My move to Morrisons was a massive challenge and eye opener - going from a creative agency to a corporate environment takes some adjustment, but I loved the brand and I was responsible for their TV advertising. It was a dream job and it meant I was doing what I loved most.

My confidence grew as I grew as a marketeer, the years of agency experience meant that I could take some of that experience client side - build a great rapport with my advertising agencies and almost be one of them on the inside - driving creativity and pushing the boundaries wherever possible to get great creative work through.

From there I was headhunted by Poundland then moved across to Coop as Head of Marketing. That one move to Morrisons and having the balls to make a big change was a catalyst to landing some brilliant roles thereafter.

Which women do you look to in life to help guide you?

I have been very fortunate in my career to meet some very talented women - I always wanted to know how they got to the top and listened to their stories. I recommend that to anyone - if you ask questions of those you admire, they'll not only inspire you, but they'll give you some good solid advice.

My friends and my mum are also great listeners. I often call them when I'm at a crossroads in my career - they always remind me to have faith in my gut and give me that little nudge of confidence that I'm doing the right thing.

What advice would you give your 20 year old self?

Keep the faith and believe in yourself. Have a roadmap, even if you fall off it and change direction, shit happens but you'll find another cross road that leads to amazing things. The brave succeed - if you get that feeling for change, follow it with conviction.

Leaving a well paid job and great career to start my own business was an easy decision for me. Why, because it was part of the plan and somewhere I wanted to get to at the end of that roadmap. So I did it, F**K it what could possibly go wrong if every bone in my body was screaming...JUST DO IT!

So here I am founder and owner of We are The Allies, a business I run with the people I love and trust most, my family - which started as an idea on a drunken night in the kitchen, and now three years on is a growing business with over 350 very talented creative freelancers on the books, working for some of the biggest agencies and production companies in the land.


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