Tamara Ingram: My Life In Media

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The Independent Online

What inspired you to start a career in the media?

From an early age I always had a passion for theatre, films, TV and newspapers. When I left university I worked on the Putney Chronicle, soon realised it wasn't for me and wanted to work in the film industry. I walked up and down Soho with the Yellow Pages and knocked on hundreds of doors until I got my first job in the film business. It was whilst I was there that I had a call from Saatchi & Saatchi.

When you were 15 years old, what was the family newspaper and did you read it?

I was and still am a newspaper addict. We had the Daily Express, The Times, the FT, The Economist and Time magazine.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

To be frank back then I watched everything and anything. From The Prisoner, Dallas, Horizon, Bouquet of Barbed Wire, World in Action, The Waltons, Sargent Bilko, Soap and Top Cat to those wonderful world-changing BBC2 drama-documentaries. On the radio I listen to the World Service as I've never been good at sleeping and on Radio 4 Any Questions and Just a Minute.

What's the first media you turn to in the morning?

I have a digital radio that wakes me up to Today. Then I go straight to newspapers, starting with The Guardian, the FT and The Independent, particularly for suduko.

Do you consult any media sources during your working day?

In a week I go to visitlondon. com for the latest things in London, guardian.co.uk , nytimes.com and FT.com for general news bulletins and wwd.com, fastcompany.com, adage.com and brandrepublic. co.uk to keep abreast of all the latest ad industry issues.

What's the best thing about your job?

When people surprise me with magical ideas.

And the worst?

Whenever you meet "can't do" people.

What is the proudest achievement in your working life?

The NSPCC Full Stop campaign. To be part of a campaign whose mission was to stop cruelty to children forever! It was an incredibly brave idea and at the time quite a revolution in charity work. The other area I'm particularly proud of is the work we've done to transform what was the London Tourist Board and is now Visit London, where through great marketing and little spend we generated over 700 million incremental pounds to the city of London last year.

And your most embarrassing moment?

When I was an account exec at Saatchi & Saatchi I was in at the weekend working on a pitch. The MD at the time, a man called Roy Warman, came up to me and said: "What lovely pink socks you have on," and I realised they were not lovely pink socks but yesterday's knickers, peeking out the end of my trouser legs! I quickly removed them and put them in my bag.

At home, what do you tune into?

I'm an obsessive radio listener - my husband has been known to throw my radio against a wall. Sunday wouldn't be Sunday without the Archers omnibus, and one can't get up without the Today programme. My TV staples are Newsnight, Question Time, The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives. I love This Week's fantastic chemistry between Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott and Andrew Neil. I never tire of those fantastic dark comedies such as Nighty Night, Little Britain, The Catherine Tate Show, and then of course there's the sheer pleasure of TV realism such as Wife Swap and Super Nanny, and unlike most people I adored Celebrity Love Island.

What is your Sunday paper and do you have a favourite magazine?

The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Business, The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday and News of the World. As I said, I'm a newspaper addict!

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you die

I've so many ambitions for life that it's hard to think. I've got enough years left to fit them all in. I passionately believe that one should never lose one's hunger for life.

If you didn't work in the media, what would you do?

Work in the voluntary sector; work in the arts; go into politics, get thin and brown - the list is endless!

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

John Humphrys, as he gets me up in the mornings!

1982

Follows her creative nose to a job in film production. Begins a 17-year career at Saatchi & Saatchi, shattering the glass ceiling to become joint CEO in 1995, then sole ceo and finally executive chairman in 2001

2002

Joins McCann-Erickson as chairman and chief executive as well as taking on the role of Visit London's non executive chairman, promoting the capital around the world.

2003

Heads up WPP's Kantar Group

2005

Appointed CEO of Grey London with a remit to focus on growth and 'Team Procter', the creatives behind the massive Procter & Gamble account.

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