The Fishbowl: Laura Chase, WeAre8

The Fishbowl: Laura Chase, WeAre8

The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week is Laura Chase, chief commercial officer at WeAre8.

Laura Chase joined social platform WeAre8 in 2021. Prior to that she worked at Hearst UK for more than 17 years in various sales, partnerships and leadership roles.

Who’s your best friend in the industry?

Alistair Holt, who is doing brilliant things over at Pinterest. We met at Hearst many years ago when we were both just starting out in media.

A few nights out at the Loop/Digress/The White Horse and he hasn’t managed to shake me since. One of the smartest, kindest, most wonderful people I know and just the best fun too.

Which advertiser would you love to work with (but don’t already) and how would you sell WeAre8 specifically to them?

Right now I’m obsessed with getting as many brands as possible on WeAre8. Every pound spent with us is shared with 50% going back to people, 5% to charities and climate solutions and then 5% going to our creator fund. The more brands we have, the more money we get back to people and the planet.

We’re still fairly new in market so there are many brands on our hitlist. I’m very lucky as WeAre8 really does sell itself. Advertisers make positive impact with every campaign and get better business results too. A total no-brainer!

Which deal in your career are you proudest of?

Coming from a partnerships background, trading deals weren’t something I had a huge amount of experience in.

My role at WeAre8 was a step up and there was a lot of ground to cover, with one of the biggest priorities being to start working with ad agencies.

Dentsu was our first confirmed partnership in the UK which was a brilliant moment for me and the whole WeAre8 team — it paved the way for all the other deals we’ve done since.

If you could take a year off from work, what would you do?

Probably an obvious answer but definitely travel. I’d love my children to see a bit more of the world.

I’d want to do something productive too. Master a new skill, take a course or learn a new language — I’ve always wanted to speak French, so let’s go with that.

What are clients talking about this year that they weren’t last year?

Responsible media seems much higher up the agenda — and rightly so. Where advertisers show up is a reflection of their brand values and has a huge impact on sentiment, engagement and business results.

WeAre8 ticks every box when it comes to responsible media and also delivers better business results so I’m delighted we can support our partners in a big way with this.

**Peer question** Who are your role models?

I’m so grateful to my parents for everything they have done for me, but, as it was International Women’s Day recently, I’ll focus on my mum who has continued to inspire and influence me greatly throughout my life.

She mastered the art of balancing a career (she worked for the UK Government before she retired) with a busy family life and I was always immensely proud of all she achieved. She also taught me a lot about kindness and compassion over the years which I feel has really shaped my approach to leadership and also the way I bring up my own children.

Working with Sue Fennessy is also the biggest privilege ever. She blows everyone she meets away with her amazing energy, determination and brilliance.

She is the woman to not just reshape the media industry for the better, but also to change the world by redirecting billions of ad dollars back to people and the planet. There are not many who get the opportunity to be part of something as special and game-changing as WeAre8 and I’m so thankful to Sue leading the way. She’s one in 8 billion.

Question from Davina Barker, sales director at DCM. 

**Peer question** How is your business driving the change? Do you have any best practices or obstacles you confronted to share?

I may be biased but I firmly believe that WeAre8 is the change our industry has been waiting for. A social ecosystem where everyone thrives. We don’t tolerate hate, are better for the planet, put money in people’s wallets, celebrate the good in life AND get better results for brands at the same time. Sue has genuinely thought of everything with WeAre8.

The biggest challenge for us has been the length of time it can take to get on plans. We’re making great headway though — this year is going to be huge.

Question from Emma Newman, chief revenue officer EMEA at PubMatic.

**Peer question** From a work perspective, what were you most proud of last year?

My amazing team and how far we’ve come. I’ve had the unique opportunity to build the UK commercial team from scratch and have managed to bring together a group of the most brilliant humans going.

They all bring their best each and every day, care deeply about the work they are doing and are committed to helping transform our industry for the better.

The platforms we are up against are Goliaths but we’ve stood together and made our mark. I’m beyond proud of the huge headway we’ve made in such a short space of time.

Question from Kelly Williams, managing director commercial at ITV.

When did you last change your mind about something?

My five-year-old son is absolutely brilliant at forcing me to change my mind. He’s relentlessly determined when he wants something and his strategy of wearing me down works a treat almost every time.

He probably got me to change my mind at least half a dozen times over the course of the weekend. He’s got me wrapped around his little finger!

What podcast do you regularly listen to and why?

I listen to music more than I do podcasts but as you’ve asked the question, it gives me the opportunity to put this incredible podcast episode on your radar: Holly Tucker talks to Sue Fennessy in The woman taking on the social media giants… and winninggive it a listen, you won’t regret it.

Media Jobs