Winner of the MOST Awards Media Owner Legend 2021 is Mediamark CEO Wayne Bischoff. With 30 years in sales, marketing and advertising, he is renowned for creating high-performance sales cultures with a sharp focus on customer-centricity.
Wayne Bischoff had worked for Mediamark prior to becoming CEO of the sales house in 2019. First time around, he was on the executive committee. But second time around, the buck stops with him. Not that the responsibility fazed him; he was excited to work for a company that had evolved into an integrated and multi-channel sales house. Moreover, he couldn’t wait to get to grips with the “rapidly changing media landscape, and how data, tech and creative are integrating in the media space”, as he told The Media at the time.
Celia Collins, a former Media Agency Legend, was one of the judges of the MOST Awards this year. “The characteristics I focused on included the ability to inspire during a Covid-19 year, to go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver a holistic view of their offering, as well as how they communicated this to the agencies,” she says. “A secondary factor was how media owners changed their proposals to fit into a Covid-19 year without just giving the same old elements.”
He has rallied at every single level of the business to engage and connect, facing the ongoing challenges head-on with solutions-based thinking and bucket loads of empathy
Bischoff’s staff bear out Collins’ thoughts. “Wayne’s leadership style has always been empowering and non-hierarchical, but Covid-19 brought out the Superman in him,” they say. “He has rallied at every single level of the business to engage and connect, facing the ongoing challenges head-on with solutions-based thinking and bucket loads of empathy. He maintains daily contact with all staff, and his regular ‘town hall’ meetings empower and energise.”
His can-do attitude and deep involvement with the media sector are things his staff admire: “Wayne’s extensive years of experience on the client, agency and media-owner sides speak volumes. He is passionate about the success of our industry and stays involved at all levels. He has been serving on industry bodies such as the Advertising Media Association of South Africa throughout his career to date.
“However, it’s his interpersonal and networking skills that really make him stand out. He has perfected the art of client service and building relationships that matter. Wayne keeps engaging, whether face-to-face, online or in the social-media sphere, where he connects and engages tirelessly.”
Bischoff is no pushover, though. “He demands professionalism and excellence,” say his staff. “Wayne has a massive capacity to read and stay informed, and shares his knowledge freely. He is outspoken about human rights of all kinds, and is not afraid to speak his mind on topics and get involved. His latest mission is to debunk vaccination myths and spread as much real and scientific news as possible! Last but certainly not least, Wayne is a true gentleman with a sense of family and integrity at his core.”
Being a modern media-owner leader require different skills and attitudes than in the past. What do his staff think makes Bischoff a modern media leader? “Wayne’s ability to encourage employee progression and empower his staff at all levels. He embraces the changing needs of business, for example working from home and the challenges and opportunities it has brought. He has a large capacity for risk and accepts that failures along the way are learnings for the future. He values his staff and his staff feel valued. We’ve said it before, but his capacity for empathy is a trait that every modern business needs in a leader.”
Bischoff’s peers refer to him as the Silver Fox, his staff reveal: “The age-old adage goes, ‘In a society where every man is fox-minded, you need to be foxier than the fox!’ Well, Wayne Bischoff is our Silver Fox.
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