Matthew Maher | Founder, M7 Innovations

How do you stay brave at work and in life? 

When it comes to being brave at work, I like to subscribe to Grace Hopper’s quote. “It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” Any time you want to challenge the status quo, push a new initiative, or carve your own path, you can’t expect a roadmap or a person to “allow” you to be a disruptor. You have to formulate your plan, work hard to understand every detail and implication, and go forth with both passion and confidence. This doesn’t mean break the rules or circumvent your boss – a good manager that sees you pushing both yourself and the company will not only “allow” you to continue, but support you in your endeavor. 

In life, I think of the journalist Franklin P. Jones’s adage — “Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.” It’s completely normal to have fear, to question yourself, and not always know the path forward. But calm is contagious, and keeping your cool and being as objective as you can in difficult situations will not only exude confidence to others, it will provide self-assurance and help you work through the problem.mattmaher_assembly_headshot.jpg

What is the bravest trend you are seeing in advertising at the moment? 

Brands that are bringing up conversations that need to be had. P&G’s “The Talk” and “The Look,” Gillette changing the meaning of “The Best a Man Can Be,” and even The New York Times’ latest efforts in “The Truth is Hard.” These campaigns aren’t executed perfectly, and I understand why there are opposers, but the willingness to start the conversation, have your brand stand for something purposeful, and get on the right side of history is a step in the right direction. 

What excites you most about attending Advertising Week? 

Advertising Week provides such an eclectic array of speakers. From Oscar-winning actors to professional sport legends, advertising industry icons, to world-changing activists, it’s hard not to walk away from each and every session feeling inspired.