How maintaining a small business mindset works to drive global business

How maintaining a small business mindset works to drive global business


Delving into business from a young age, Rose Herceg started a company called Pophouse when she was still in her early twenties.

It was a social trends consulting business that saw Herceg travelling the world and working with organisations like Commonwealth Bank, Pfizer and Listerine. 

She eventually sold the business to STW, which many years later, merged with WPP, a creative transformation company where Herceg is currently president in the Australia and New Zealand regions.

“Our purpose is to use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, the planet, our clients and the communities in which we work,” she says, adding that “the only thing that’s ever worked in changing the world is creativity”.

At WPP, Herceg says they’re using hard metrics and targets to help clients find creative solutions to become more sustainable, such as reducing their carbon footprint

When Herceg first started her business, there were about 70 employees. That number has since grown to roughly 2900, but she says the same business principles apply.

“The principles that you learn when you have a small business are very much the same principles that you have when you’re running a much bigger business,” says Herceg. 

“Those lessons that I learned when I was a kid in my early twenties are the same lessons that I apply today in running WPP.”

Most notably, Herceg says she’s learned that “culture and diversity is critical when growing a business” and that employees need to feel genuinely supported and seen.

Herceg shared this advice during her keynote session for Women’s Agenda’s new video app series, The Keynotes

“I’m especially proud of what we’ve done at WPP,” she says. “Our gender representation at all levels of the business– from the most senior right down through the ranks– is 50/50.”

Herceg also says she wants to see “diversity of all stripes, sexual orientation, cultural ethnicity, religion, you name it” represented at WPP. 

“I love that we have people inside our business who represent all facets of Australia”, she says, noting that this is “the best way for us to succeed and give our clients the necessary tools they need to succeed as well.”

When it comes to maintaining the small business mindset, Herceg says WPP prioritises listening to the local communities. A number of their clients in Oceania are local and the bulk of their revenue is locally placed. 

“Although WPP is global and we’re a big business, ultimately we are behaving more and more like a small business,” she says, adding that a great deal of their financial success is local. 

“We’re certainly walking the talk, so to speak, making sure that we do things that are both measurable and accountable.”

The Keynotes app shares “Mini Keynote” sessions and insights on leadership, equity, current affairs, climate and so much more. To watch Rose Herceg’s keynote as well as other sessions, sign up to the app here


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