Meeting of the Minds: News Corp Australia’s Michael Desiere and Alexander Coucouvinis

meeting of the minds logo - May 24

Desiere and Coucouvinis share their perspectives, thoughts and opinions

Meeting of the Minds brings together two different points of view from an industry rookie and an experienced expert.

The Mediaweek series aims to showcase their diverse perspectives, thoughts and opinions.

This month’s Meeting of the Minds sees Michael Desiere and Alexander Coucouvinis from News Corp Australia reveal their leadership heroes, current streaming binge and career goals for 2023.

Michael Desiere, Head of Independent Agencies NSW, News Corp Australia

Meeting of the Minds - Michael Desiere

Michael Desiere

Best career advice – Find work that aligns with your passions and strengths and to do your best to always keep learning and growing. I’m lucky in my role as head of NSW Independent Agencies at News Corp Australia that I am managing to do all of that.

My favourite podcast/read – I’m a huge fan of Disney and a big kid at heart. I love The Ride of a Lifetime – Lessons in Creative Leadership from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Bob Igar. This memoir gave, and, if I’m honest, continues to inspire me to never give up and also helps me believe that dreams can come true.

Current streaming binge – I cannot get enough of The Last Dance. A sport documentary series produced by ESPN Films and Netflix, it follows the career of Michael Jordan, with a focus on his final season with the Chicago Bulls. I have watched it multiple times and I still learn something new every time.

Leadership hero – My Mum. She raised me by herself. She came to Australia to provide a better future for my siblings and me and I will forever be grateful for the many sacrifices she made in a bid to ensure we followed our dreams and also grew into the humans we are today.
I wish someone had told me
– to invest into shares … especially Apple or Uber or McDonalds when I was younger. I would have even considered Bitcoin lol.
Guilty content pleasure
– at the moment it is playing Fortnite with my son and the constant search for great music. I have always had a passion for music and DJ-ing. I will never give it up and gaming is something that’s just for me and my best little mate.
Best training course/session
– The High Performance Leadership Program by Elkiem It has taught me so much about myself and what type of leader I want to be. I did well on the course and was rewarded when I won a particular award for those on the course. I get to meet and interview some high performance leaders and businesses across the globe next year as part of my winning prize. I can’t wait.
Your mentor
– My boss Danny Lavell, who is the GM of Agency, Direct, Prestige NSW at NCA. He leads with his heart which I admire deeply. He also has an incredible wealth of knowledge to navigate through the daily challenges of the media landscape and our business. He is a great guy, a great friend and someone I enjoy working for and with.
Hot medium or show
– YouTube. I can spend hours learning so much about the world and different interests. I spend more time watching entertaining and interesting content on Youtube than any other platform or streaming service.
Favourite media event
– NCA’s Pacesetters. This is an annual getaway held for the top sales performers at NCA. It’s a great event staged across a number of days with guest speakers, networking opportunities, fun events and development training. I also have a few team members at the top of the leaderboard with a chance of winning their respective categories which makes me proud.
Wish I’d done that
– started my own successful social platform like TikTok or Meta.
Career goal for 2023
– To be one per cent better every day…. It’s not much but it’s progress.

Alexander Coucouvinis, Independent Agency Sales Manager NSW News Corp Australia (Mediaweek Academy ambassador and cadet)

Meeting of the Minds - Alexander Coucouvinis

Alexander Coucouvinis

Best career advice – Be your authentic self and value your working relationships… media is a small world and you will most definitely cross paths again with most people.

My favourite podcast/read – I could provide a book I have once read or a podcast that I have listened to for about ten min before I changed to music… But I won’t. Honestly I do not read enough and if I was to listen to anything it would be music…. I always say to my wife, “I read enough emails!” when she interrogates me that I need to pick up a book to read… And I should, to be fair…. Maybe the Prince Harry audiobook might swing me around.

Current streaming bingeJust finished BEEF on Netflix. It was a very unexpected journey and reinforced the importance of de-escalating a situation….

Leadership hero Hero in general: My Dad. The man practices Stoicism to a tee. Something I strive to master in this lifetime or the next.

I wish someone had told meI have recently come to peace with the idea that life is not a race and happiness is not based on the few milestones which you may come about every year or decade. There is no destination, there are no first prizes. If you say you will be happy when I achieve X , once you get to X you will be happy for a fleeting moment, but then look for the next thing. Learn to appreciate the small wins and not the finite milestones in your life. Because if you don’t, you will only be happy on those days when the milestones are achieved and that is such a waste.

Guilty content pleasureI have recently downloaded XBOX game pass on our TV. Playing for about 1 hour or 3 here and there has been a lot of fun and a great way to immerse myself into new worlds. Incidentally I struggle to understand the term guilty pleasure. It’s a pleasure: yes. Do I feel guilty? No. No one should feel guilty for the things they enjoy and love.

Best training course/sessionI have to say the MFA programs are on point . But those exam conditions can be ruthless.

Your mentorI don’t really have one specifically….However taking applications now! 😉

Hot medium or showTik Tak (**Tok). It is definitely an undervalued media format that showcases the power of individual storytelling and reporting on a global scale. Desensitized content is something that is and continually should be something that is cherished amongst all the white noise we are exposed to today.

Favourite media eventThe News Corp Aust sales event – Pacesetters. This is an annual getaway held for the top sales performers at NCA. It is a great event over a number of days with guest speakers, networking opportunities, fun events and development upskilling. I hope to make the cut again this year.

Wish I’d done thatI have been recently fortunate enough to pay off all my HECS debt (prior to the June 1st rate increase). As a millenial who was coached through traditional avenues of career succession… I wish I discovered earlier that you can find your career by taking other various pathways which ultimately don’t funnell you into an early life of government debt. Gaining work experience in your desired area should always be the forefront goal. Don’t fall for the square way… there is always another way.

Career goal for 2023come out of 2023 a tad better than I came in… It’s not much but its progress. What does ‘better’ look like ? Not sure, let’s see at the end of the year…I am just focusing on today at this point.

Top image, left and right: Michael Desiere and Alexander Coucouvinis 

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