24th October 2013
Zoltán Paksy is European Executive Director of MGI, having taken on the role in May.
What does your job involve?
I have 18 general and specific responsibilities, including representing the interest of the European Area to head office and other areas, managing area budget, ensuring successful resolutions of disputes among area members and identifying new members.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I am at the beginning of my MGI journey so there is a lot to enjoy, including the MGI culture of friendship, the meetings, and the commitment of members, opportunities to build, and being able to draw on my past experiences.
What was your first job? Where else have you worked before joining MGI?
I started my working career in the Hungarian film industry as a production assistant. Despite the proximity of international and local movie stars and the good pay, I moved into advertising as soon as the Hungarian market opened to foreign investors. This is how I become one of the founding members of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Agency in Budapest. I stayed in advertising for 18 years, started as an assistant account executive and the spending eight years as managing director. I then took another managing director’s position at the Forest Stewards Council, an NGO in Germany, which promotes responsible forest management and the FSC certifications globally. I then opened my marketing consultancy firm in Budapest, which I still run today.
Why did you decide to join MGI?
BPO, which is the Hungarian MGI member, happened to be my client at the time. László, the MD at BPO, convinced me to take the job. I have a strong interest in entrepreneurship, so was attracted by the opportunities in this area that MGI offers. After my interview with Clive, Erik and László, I knew this was the right opportunity for me.
Do you have a particular area of expertise? What would you say your strengths are?
Marketing, communication and company management. My key strengths are creativity, driving projects, being open to different cultures, managing and inspiring people.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
I was involved in many advertising campaigns in Hungary which resulted in strong sales returns. One of my most recent professional achievements was a successful and complete rebranding project of a large Budapest law firm of 13 partners – managing these partners and their diverse interests has been quite a challenge.
What do you hope to achieve in the year ahead, both professionally and personally?
To fully understand what the European Area wants to achieve as a team and being able to deliver relevant opportunities to grow MGI within the region. Personally, I hope I would like to earn the respect of MGI members. Both will be tough but hopefully rewarding.
What hobbies or interests do you have outside of work? Any favourite holiday destinations?
I love photography and contemporary art. I currently do voluntary work as an art mediator at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, which is the only Hungarian contemporary national art collection. I love jazz and classical music and recently started learning the guitar. For holiday destinations, I have travelled extensively during the past 10 years so have many favourites places. I love visiting large cities as much as rural areas. During the past four years, my wife and I have been learning about different countries’ cooking techniques, which has helped us better understand different cultures. We recently visited Hanoi in Vietnam where we attended a cocking school, which was great fun.
If you were not doing what you are doing now, what other job would you do?
I would learn a new profession and start a small workshop where I can actually produce something beneficial for everyday people. I would also open an art gallery, because I love ideas.
If you could go back in time and offer advice to yourself when you were starting your career, what would you say?
Now I would say: The road to happiness is not to have too high expectations. However, at the age of 25 not many would listen to that. I didn’t.