International Men’s Day at OG: The men who inspire us

  • November 18, 2022
  • Reading time: 5 min

In the same way we encourage everyone to celebrate and uplift women, International Men’s Day is a day to promote a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity. And there’s a good reason why we should. One of the goals for the occasion is to raise awareness of predominantly male-affecting issues.

With the concerning narrative around male suicide quite often now shown in the news, and importantly written into storylines of television soaps and series – we should be striving to keep the conversation going. Just in the UK alone, 13 men per day take their own lives, and 85% of rough sleepers are male.

We will all have, or have had, an important man in our lives at some point. A brother, a friend, even a teacher we looked up to. And it’s important to remember that every person in our lives also has their own personal challenges and history that they deal with. Part of making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men – and boys – is to remind them that they are valued and appreciated. One way to do this, is by reflecting on and vocalising the positive differences they’ve personally made in our lives.

That’s why this year, we asked five Octopedes about an influential man they’ve known or been inspired by – and the impact he has had on who they are today. From larger-than-life uncles, to accepting grandfathers – here is what they had to say.

Chris Ashley-Manns, Strategy & Planning Director:

“My maternal Grandfather, Norman, is someone who has made a positive influence in my life. Originally from Liverpool with an incredibly strong work ethic and with total commitment and dedication to his family, he was someone I looked up to as a child and a young adult and I see myself in him today.

He served in the war, established a long career, met my grandmother and settled down to start a family. He was humble, warm, generous with his time and for someone of a much older generation, was incredibly worldly and accepting of others.

My grandmother passed away at a very early age and left him raising three daughters in their teens on his own. He supported them in the most challenging time of their life and raised them with his motto ‘Carpe diem’.

He’d use it all the time, instilling his daughters (and grandchildren) to be grateful for what they have, valuing every life moment and grasping opportunities that come your way because at the end of it all, life eventually comes to an end.

Carpe diem is probably the most fitting of mottos for him, is a constant reminder of him to me, and one I live by today.”

Jon Lonsdale, CEO

“My Dad, Keith Lonsdale, was the most influential man in my life, and I miss him every day.

One of my earliest memories as a football-mad kid was seeing my Dad’s U18 England Squad team picture from 1967 on the wall in the hallway and being so proud. He was my cult hero. He didn’t make it as a pro, but instead joined the police and kept a small corner of the Midlands safe for 30 years.

As well as teaching me to kick with my left foot, he taught me about hard work at all times, being resilient, never being late and about how to appreciate the simple things in life. But most of all, he taught me the humanity of just being nice, and fair, to everyone, at all times. Maybe that was what made him such a great Copper.

Everyone felt good around my Dad and that in turn, made him feel good about himself and his life. I hope I’ve adopted his philosophy and passed this on to my kids. Cheers for that Keithy xxx.”

Pierre Mazurier, Senior Designer

“To me, Justin Baldoni’s talk: Why I’m done trying to be “man enough on YouTube’s TED channel is one of the most important pieces of media I’ve consumed in recent years. It came at a sensitive time when women around the world were risking careers and sometimes lives to name abusers, and he was one of the very few men in the public eye to lead the way by acknowledging the toxicity of the classic male gender role.

I think it was brave of him to say out loud that the traditional “male role” is the reason why too many men would rather die than talk about their struggles, brave of him to say we need to reject the broken scripts passed down to us by previous generations, brave to say we men need to listen more and learn from women around us.

This talk was a big YES moment for me. It put words on thoughts I was wrestling with and made me think of ways I could rethink the norm to be the kind of man I want to be. These types of statements are still weirdly controversial, that is why I wanted to highlight a man like Justin Baldoni for giving permission to other men to be more vulnerable, in order to lead better lives. There is so much to do still, but it gives me hope.”

Jide Cliffe, Paid Media Specialist

“My late uncle ‘Sammy Olagbaju’ – or Big Uncle as I called him – was a positive male influence in my life. Sammy Olagbaju was one of Nigeria’s biggest art collectors, becoming the rallying point for artists and art in Nigeria. Either through sponsoring young artists, putting on countless exhibitions and also founding the Olagbaju Art Foundation – his legacy has been felt.

The achievements and respect my uncle garnered every time I went to Nigeria positively impacted my life, due to the fact he was the only member of my family who worked and succeeded in a creative field, validating all creative dreams I have for myself. In addition to that, outside of all Sammy’s achievements, he was the most larger-than-life character I have had the pleasure of meeting and I look back on all the memories we shared fondly.”

Alastair Kirk, Copywriter

“We meet people on nights out all the time – then usually quickly forget who they are by morning. Luckily for me, when I met Jack on a night out in 2017, he ended up becoming one of my best friends. A fellow Brit living in Vietnam, he quickly became a ‘home comfort’, sharing the same interests, anecdotes and exceptional taste in pop music – but also inspiring me with how he lives and approaches life.

When I got into fitness, Jack was my rock. I saw how much he got out of going to gym classes, dancing and trying new things. He inspires me every day – whether it’s his can-do attitude, his way of prioritising happiness for himself and those around him, his passion for teaching, and how he challenges himself to continuously learn and grow.

We both live in London now, which is amazing because I sometimes think: if either of us hadn’t gone to Vietnam, we’d probably never have met …(well chances are we probably would have, considering how much we both love a night in Soho). But because we both did, we share a unique bond that has tied us together for life – whether he likes it or not!”

Share this

Step away from
business as usual.

Get in touch to discuss how we
can work together.

Contact us

Extraordinary thinking.

The latest (and most useful) B2B insight, delivered to your inbox.

Publicis Pro needs the contact information you provide to send you the latest B2B insights. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime.