March 12, 2019

Top-of-Mind Tuesday with Associate Vice President Brandon Thomas

by Ellen Mallernee Barnes in News

Welcome to Red Havas’ ‘Top-of-Mind Tuesday’ blog series. Some weeks you’ll find a crowdsourced list of assorted stuff our staff is pondering and learning and falling in love with, and other times our top-of-mind list will fit into a single theme or come from one particular Redster. This week, Brandon Thomas, an associate vice president in our New York office, told us what he’s been into lately.

What I’m watching… Each December, like clockwork, I become committed to seeing as many movies as I can that will likely vie for the biggest honor in film, the Academy Award. For three months, I internally go back and forth between “Do I really need to see this in theaters, or should I wait until I’m able to rent it?” And, most recently, “Oh, that’s a Netflix movie?” I essentially become the most amateur film critic you’ll find. This year I was able to check off six of eight Best Picture nominees, along with several of the films featuring performances in the acting categories. I was going to share my Top 5 favorites, but I honestly have six and refuse to let one go, so here are my Top 6 films of 2018 (in alphabetical order):


  • “BlacKkKlansman”
  • “Black Panther”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “The Favourite”
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk”
  • “The Wife”

Also, I’m sure you’re wondering how I fared in my Oscars predictions, so here were my selections, along with who actually won, in what I like to call “The Big Six” categories:

  • Best Picture: “ROMA” (Incorrect: Winner was “Green Book”)
  • Best Actress: Glenn Close in “The Wife” (Incorrect: Winner was Olivia Colman in “The Favourite.” In my defense, I did think Olivia Colman had the best performance, but I ultimately thought Academy voters would lean in to Glenn Close given how many times she’s been nominated in the past.)
  • Best Actor: Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Correct)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Regina King in “If Beale Street Could Talk” (Correct)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali in “Green Book” (Correct)
  • Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón for “ROMA” (Correct)

Where I’ve been… I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the country as part of my work on behalf of clients. Whether it’s executing an event or attending a strategic planning meeting, business travel is a great chance for quality face time with the client and also, many times, a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the Empire State of Mind. A recent trip to São Paulo, Brazil, proved to be one of the most exciting so far. A colleague and I had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in our client’s culture as we helped brainstorm and strategize an upcoming PR plan for 2019. From collaborative discussions to authentic cuisine and learning the (very) basics of a new language, the trip was an opportunity to see a different part of the world, its people and how our client is creating impact in one of the largest countries.

What I’m pondering… I recently finished a three-part professional development course provided by Havas Health & You that focused on management. Each of the three “boot camps,” over a four-month period, built on the previous one to take us from simple yet important skills like “How to Be a Good Listener” to tackling more complex tasks like “Leading Internal Change.”

The course was a reminder that it’s never too late to learn something new, and it’s always nice to know when you’re doing something right. It also reminded me that there’s power in identifying new ways to enhance your skill set. While not everything might be brand-new information, finding pieces that I can apply to my daily routine signals to me the value in remaining open and coachable. Now, for me, it’s about revisiting this new management toolkit regularly and looking for opportunities to pass along tips and best practices to colleagues that might be helpful.