Meeting of The Minds: Braedy Neal and Francesca Casti from Wellcom

meeting of the minds logo - June 5

Neal and Casti share their best career advice, hot takes, and what they currently have on repeat.

This week’s Meeting of the Minds sees Braedy Neal and Francesca Casti from creative production agency Wellcom reveal their leadership heroes, current streaming binge, and career goals.

The Mediaweek series showcases diverse perspectives, thoughts and opinions by bringing together two different points of view from an industry rookie and an experienced expert.

Braedy Neal, head of production, Wellcom

Wellcom - Braedy Neal

Favourite Podcast/Read – My favourite podcast is the ABC’s Future Tense. So much of what we do requires us to understand, prepare for and embrace future trends and future tech. I love this podcast because it seeks to understand the future from a philosophical perspective rather than the cultural and technological futures we love to imagine.
Current streaming binge – I don’t get a lot of time to binge (don’t worry, I watched Baby Reindeer), but I’ve recently finished watching 3 Body Problem. Having already read the novels, I was really satisfied with that first series. It was a faithful rendition of the first novel.

Guilty pleasure content – Any cooking, food or wine show. I love them all, and I have no standards. I’m just as happy watching the badly made ones as I am watching those with high production values.

What do you have on repeatEasy Lover by Phil Collins with Philip Bailey. Just that one old song over and over in the headphones, the car, the kitchen. My wife and I are learning how to sing the two distinct harmonies so we can OWN our next karaoke duet but it’s really quite hard to master. “And I’m just tryna make you seeeeeee”. In hindsight we should have chosen an easier track. It’s just going to take more time/rehearsal than we initially thought.

Best career advice – An old mentor of mine told me this and I will always remember her words: “Know the people in the room.” It’s such powerful advice. When you walk into a meeting or a briefing session knowing as much as possible about who you are meeting with, putting some thought into why that particular person is here, now, meeting with you, it empowers communication and helps everything else (all the details) fall into place.

Leadership hero – Ok this is going to seem like a terrible suck-up to the boss but I’m at a point in my career where any potential benefit of sucking up will be negligible. My leadership hero is my current GM Marnie Darren. I’ve seen many people lead, sometimes effectively, but I’ve never seen someone unify a large team towards a common goal in the way Marnie has. Her empathy and support for every person on her team is a big part of this success. Her uncompromising drive to push every one of us to be the best we can be is as well. The balance between those two critical factors is something Marnie has mastered.

Best training course/session – Defensive motorcycle riding.
I wish someone had told me – When it’s your turn to do the talking, respect your listeners. Say what you need to say, clearly, and don’t say more than you need to – they will thank you for it.

Favourite place to network – Industry events and awards nights.

Something that surprised you about the industry – I always thought there would be more dickheads. That’s the stereotype of the advertising industry I guess. Sure there are some but I’ve mostly been surrounded by amazing, inspirational people and met some of my best friends in this industry.

What is your hot take on the industry – Expect change. Expect to have to be agile and learn new things, and also expect things to stay the same. This was as relevant to people dealing with the introduction of TV to a world that had previously only known radio – as it is for us trying to integrate ever-evolving AI models into existing workflows.

Career goal for 2024 – Achieving growth for the company that exceeds expectations. Keeping myself and my team agile, effective and happy.

Francesca Casti, account manager, Wellcom

Wellcom - Francesca Casti

Favourite podcast/read – Too many to choose from! The Imperfects for thoughtful and vulnerable conversations, Straight Talk with Mark Bouris for business insight, Cancelled by Mamamia to laugh, Darling Shine for an easy listen. I could go on forever!

Current streaming binge – Bridgerton

Guilty pleasure content – Shamefully, fantasy novels. They are insanely addictive.

What do you have on repeatLizzy McAlpine or Leon Bridges.

Best career advice – In an industry like ours, the landscape is constantly evolving. It pays to keep up, ideally stay ahead, and continuously take on as many alternative perspectives that challenge your beliefs and opinions as possible.

Leadership hero – It changes all the time but at the moment it’s Lewis Hamilton. I don’t really follow much sport, but I’ve been in awe at his continuous drive for improvement on and off the track. He is a perfect example of an individual who uses his platform and success to advocate for important issues. 

Best training course/session – Any Ted Talk

I wish someone had told me – Trust your gut, in retrospect, I’ve found that it’s almost always right

Favourite place to network – Aside from the obvious one (LinkedIn), anywhere where casual conversation with intelligent people flows. So maybe Bill and Toni’s!

Something that has surprised you about the industry – Hard work doesn’t necessarily equal success. You have to make sure your finger is on the pulse and that you’re consistently working with purpose and towards a goal.

What is your hot take on the industry – I think that the constant push for shorter, more attention-grabbing ads is contributing to the decline in consumers’ attention spans and patience. At some point, the effect this is having on our psyche is going to take centre stage, and we will be challenged to produce different kinds of content, whatever that might look like!

Career goal for 2024 – Be a part of a pitch that wins us a new client

To take part in future editions of Meeting of the Minds, please email: [email protected]

Past editions of Meeting of the Minds.

Top image: Braedy Neal and Francesca Casti

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