In Summary
  • Being an entrepreneur has had its challenges and he has taught me to be focused and that perseverance is key and that it is not always as simple as it seems.
  • Embrace the challenges of life as they will grow you and help you to dream big. If anyone can do it, you sure can.

Prital Patel is the Chief Executive Officer of Creative VMLY&R

1. Briefly, describe your family background

I am a third generation Kenyan Indian. My grandfather came to Kenya in the 1940s in search of better opportunities.

I am the middle child in a family of three. I am single and no children either.

2. What are some of the influences that shaped your childhood?

Living in an extended family, I saw both my parents working hard, one as an entrepreneur and the other as a home-maker.

The importance of working hard and perseverance is something that really shaped my childhood.

3. Tell us what Creative VMLY&R is all about

We are an integrated communications agency that started in 1995 as a design studio.

Up until early this year, we were known as Creative Young & Rubicam (Y&R), a global merger of Y&R, a legacy brand building agency and VML, a digital experience agency has now led to our new identity and offering to form Creative VMLY&R, a brand experience agency.

We harness creativity, technology and culture to create connected brands that impact the world.

The company started as Creative Edge Ltd nearly 24 years ago when I bought into it in 1997; we only had a single computer in 1997 with a staff count of two (including me) and are now a team of over 80 staff offering integrated communications to our clients.

4. How does this set you apart?

We believe that our creativity paired with effectiveness is the key to growth for our clients’ brands.

Brands today need more than an advertising agency, and we are gearing up to be a strategic partner for our clients and work with them on addressing and solving their business and brand challenges.

5. As CEO, briefly describe a typical day for you at work

Everyday is a different experience. I typically keep an hour for myself for some strategic thinking and important projects that I am working on, and thereafter it includes reviewing whether our client work, brainstorms and client meetings go well.

6. Why did you choose this particular field?

It took a while to figure this out, but to be honest, I think it found me.

I studied business management and my first job was in the family business and in finance.

But after two years I knew this wasn’t for me. I thought I would pursue an MBA and in the meantime.

There was an opportunity to invest in a design house called Creative Edge. And with a loan from my father, who believed in my ambition, here I am today.

7. Who are the three people you look up to?

I believe there is something to learn from everyone. If I had to narrow it down to three — one is my father.

Being an entrepreneur has had its challenges and he has taught me to be focused and that perseverance is key and that it is not always as simple as it seems.

Yossi Schwartz, former chairman of Y&R Africa, has given me a lot of encouragement and believed in me in this crazy world of advertising.

And last but not least, Avdhoot Shivanand introduced me to meditation and mindfulness, which have really shaped my mindset, and it came at a pivotal time in my life.

8. What are your other passions away from work?

I love being in the outdoors and earlier this year I started hiking.

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