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Friday Five: Diane Banks, CEO of Northbank Talent Management


Answering the #FridayFive today is Diane Banks, CEO of Northbank Talent Management


Tell us a bit about your job?

I’m responsible for running and growing Northbank Talent Management, which I founded in 2018. The job splits broadly into two: building and nurturing our fantastic team, and exploring new opportunities for the business. The media space is changing more rapidly than ever at the moment, with daily developments in broadcast, podcast, book publishing, brand partnership and corporate opportunities, so it feels like being a kid in a sweetshop when looking for new opportunities for our clients. 


What are the key ingredients for success?

Leadership, drive, resilience and big picture vision; staying ahead of cultural trends and developments in the media, business and technology and an ability to always spot the opportunity. 


Could you describe a normal day?

I start by reading the papers and the trade press, then chair our morning meeting. We work very collaboratively and it’s important that the team is across what everyone else is doing, so that we’re able to pool ideas. The rest of the day will comprise meetings with clients, potential clients, partners, customers and other stakeholders, as well as advising on ongoing business and setting aside quality time to work on new ventures. 


For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?

I started my career in book publishing, at Penguin and then Hodder & Stoughton, before starting a literary agency in 2006 which I grew over 12 years before founding Northbank in 2018. The most important quality for being a talent agent is a hunger for new trends, and the ability to translate this into opportunities for clients – as well as spotting new talent. This can be honed through working in any part of the media – production, a creative agency, book publishing, journalism, or a speaker bureau. 


What are you reading, watching and listening to now?

I tend to read several books at a time, currently Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral by Ben Smith, founding editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News; Aiming High: Masayoshi Son, SoftBank, and Disrupting Silicon Valley by Atsuo Inoue; and after much dipping in and out, I’ve decided to read the first volume of Chips Channon’s Diaries cover-to-cover.

I’m watching And Just Like That, having been a super-fan the first time round, and I listen to 3-4 podcasts every morning, chiefly Newscast, The Media Show, The Media Podcast, Sharp Tech, The Future of Media Explained, The Campaign Podcast, Stephen Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO and Harry Stebbings’s 20 Minute VC. 

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