‘Tough workouts during lunch break’: 24 Hours With… Essence’s Shane Dewar

Essence's vice president of media operations Shane Dewar has an action-packed day with sports, exercise, meetings and luckily, at the end of it all, pecan pie and falling asleep to podcasts


7.00am: Wake up. Not really a morning person, but I recently adopted a rescue kitten Mai from the Cat Welfare Society and she has a habit of waking me up early for breakfast.

8.00am: We eat, I dress for work, and spend some time perusing industry updates and catching up on overnight happenings from my colleagues in North America and Europe.

Then I begin my daily ritual of planning out the day ahead. I also use this window of time to get on a call with Eric Kirtcheff, Essence’s global advertising operations lead who is based in Chicago.

As a global agency, it can sometimes be hard to remain connected but I’m extremely fortunate to work with so many great people around the world, enabled by the collaboration tech and tools we have, which all makes staying up to date easy.

9.30am: In the office. One of the unique things about our Asia Pacific advertising operations team here is that we, as a team, touch base with our North American and European colleagues weekly to review our campaign health checks.

These are run daily and alert us of any issues with our campaign setup or delivery. This morning, we review these reports with our teams in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. These calls serve an additional purpose for us to connect as colleagues on a personal level, making it so much easier to call upon each other for support in busy periods, and vice versa. We truly do have a global team.

10.30am: Before lunch is a most valuable time I set aside for catch-ups with individual members from my team based across Singapore, Japan, and India.

It helps me understand more deeply what each member is experiencing with clients, partners and internal teams.

There’s always a mix of technical questions, project management matters, and discussions on how we work with teams in the region and all over the world.

I genuinely love guiding my team and have a lot of pride witnessing their success in designing solutions to overcome challenges.

12.00pm: Quick progress meeting with an advertising technology partner. Another one of the responsibilities of the advertising operations team at Essence is to ensure that we’re partnering with the best advertising technology vendors that meet the needs of each of our clients, in each market that we work with them.

We’re in a constant cycle of testing and evaluating tools that can help us at scale measure the brand safety of websites we’re running activity on, as well as detect the rate of fraudulent traffic against our campaigns. We’re blessed to have an amazing team of bright minds who analyse the data that we collect from these vendors, to ensure the quality of the media we buy is as high as possible.

Team Essence

12.30pm: This is the time I escape from the office to get a sweat on. I’ve been attending the local F45 gym, which is an ideal way for me to get a tough workout in during my lunch break. Each session consists of 45 minutes of high-intensity interval training with functional movements.

1.15pm: Eat some food and try to stop sweating!

1.30pm: This afternoon, I’ve got a video conference call with our regional and local market leadership team from across Australia, India, Korea, Japan and Singapore. Video calls are regular and preferred as we get to speak face-to-face. I then meet with my entire team to share company, business and client updates from the regional leadership. It’s a useful forum for knowledge sharing and as they share learning from situations with clients and campaigns.

3.00pm: I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work on building partnerships with industry bodies and government agencies of late.

One of the most satisfying has been with the Interactive Advertising Bureau Southeast Asia and India on the professional conversion programme for programmatic advertising professionals. This culminated with a graduation ceremony held at our Essence Singapore office for the attendees of the inaugural training programme. It’s particularly pleasing to see two executives from Essence graduate – a very proud moment!

The graduates from the IAB course

5.00pm: I try to steal a bit of this time back to do some daily administrative work.

Replying to emails crossing items off my to-do list for the day, and organising my diary for the following day. But of course, I’m rather distracted by the lively office environment I work in and also spend some time chatting with people around the office, mainly about my cat and the intricacies of living in such a culturally diverse country as Singapore.

6.30pm: I’m off to rugby training at the historic Singapore Cricket Club. I’ve been a member there for over five years, ever since I arrived in Singapore. The club is in an amazing location at the heart of the city’s civic centre and it’s always a privilege to run out to train or play on the Padang.

Post-rugby celebration

8.00pm: Now, finally some quality time at home with my lovely wife Julie.

This involves me sampling her latest baked creation – the pecan pie she’s making is one of my particular favourites. She’s been putting in a huge amount of work to develop sweet American-style pies, using recipes she learnt from spending time with her aunt back in her home state of Arkansas. They’re pretty spectacular, but not so spectacular is my waistline after sampling too many of the products.

We also take in an episode of a Netflix series as well as a TV cooking show. (I’m actually watching NBA and rugby highlights on my phone whilst pretending to watch TV.)

10.30pm: Bedtime for me. I love my sleep, so it’s really important for me to rest well. I try to read as much as I can, but in reality, I put myself to sleep listening to a podcast.

Shane Dewar is Vice President, Media Operations, APAC at Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency which is part of GroupM.


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