24 Hours With… Racepoint Group’s Mark Jackson

24 Hours With... spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Asia’s marketing and media landscape. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Mark Jackson, deputy managing director for Asia at Racepoint Group

As a firm believer that change is good, Hong Kong is the fourth country where I’ve lived and worked albeit only since the start of May. It’s one of the world’s great cities and, after four years in the Gulf, it is a sensory and experiential overload. But as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “if you do not change direction, you may end up where you’re heading.”

Mark Jackson

6am: The alarm is normally set for 6.15am but in truth, I’m usually awake before the dreaded buzzing starts. I’ve always been an early bird with my best thinking and work done before lunch. I admire people who can work late into the evening but I’ve found – ever since I was at university – that anything that requires thought or attention after 10pm normally ends having to be redone next day.

My day starts with the gym four out of five working days. I’ve found that it helps set me up well for the day ahead. I also spent 20 years refereeing competitive rugby so training has become an integral part of my life. I retired in October last year but it’s hard to shake the bug. Training is usually a combination of interval training and weights but I mix it up every few weeks.

7.15am: I then head back to the apartment to chase the kids around trying – and failing – to give them sweaty hugs. As with many households, it’s a fairly chaotic time of the day but I feel blessed that my wife runs the house, leaving me time to talk to the kids. That’s a challenge given they’re just four and two but it’s fun trying.

8pm: We’re really new to Hong Kong having only arrived in early May. I’m still having fun trying out the various modes of transport but the easiest is the bus which leaves me about 15 minutes to think about the day ahead.

8.30pm: The first part of the day is dealing with what’s come in overnight. We’re headquartered in Boston and, with 12 hours’ time difference, there’s a lot of email that needs answering which I tend to do while eating breakfast and savouring my first cup of coffee.

10am: Then it’s time to focus on our four offices in Hong Kong and China. At the moment, we’re in discussions with many of our clients about bringing all their communications needs under one roof so much of the day is taken up in planning sessions, creative brainstorms and plan writing.

12.30pm: As with the Middle East, where I was based before coming to Hong Kong, this region seems to be all about building personal relationships, so whether it’s lunch or a simple coffee, I’m trying hard to meet as many people as possible. I have to confess that it’s nice to get back into the lunch culture; it wasn’t a common part of life in the Gulf but food has an amazing way of bringing people together.

2pm: It’s on with the rest of the day and having responsibility for all four of our locations in Greater China, there is a considerable amount of time spent in making sure the offices are running smoothly. Human resources, operations and finance all need attention to make sure we’re running efficiently, as well as delivering great campaigns for our clients.

6pm: I make a point of trying to leaving work by 6pm, although it’s not always possible. Like me, my children are pretty early risers so they tend to crash quite early and if I’m not home by 6.30pm, there’s not much time to see them. Bath time is always entertaining and I love being able to read their bedtime stories.

8pm: Once they’re eventually asleep, it’s dinner and then onto the evening shift of calls with colleagues in the US which run the gamut of management meetings, finance reviews, client team updates or creative brainstorming. But, with an early start to come, it’s lights out at 10pm.


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