Tell us a bit about your role! Is there a “typical” day?
It’s early days as I’ve only just started working at Girl&Bear so at the moment I’m mostly watching, learning and understanding. A typical day in my role usually consists of meetings, problem solving and directing my team towards the best work possible. There’s also forward planning around new hires and resource management.
What was the biggest challenge in getting to your current position?
My biggest challenge has been hiring the right people. In the past, in-house production was seen by creatives and producers as not being as good or as creative as external offerings. So to be successful you have to be every bit as good as the competition, and to do this you have to hire the best people. Thankfully, working at such an amazing company makes it easier to attract good talent.
What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?
I wasn’t that academic at school, so I stuck with what I was best at - and that was graphic design. I’d also played with computers and programming, starting back on arguably the first home computer - the Sinclair ZX81. Then my combined passions of computing and design placed me in a great position; when everything creative began to shift over to the digital world.
Which individuals and/or agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Due to the way VCCP positively views production, I had coveted a role at Girl&Bear since its inception in 2021, so to finally work here is very satisfying. I honestly wouldn’t have chosen to work anywhere else.
Heroes - Jon Forsyth - one of the founders of Adam&eve(DDB). Jon was a big supporter of cain&abel (a&es content production division) in the early days as well as being a true gentleman and all round lovely, approachable guy.
Also Anthony Falco, one of the kindest people in the business and an incredible people manager. I’ve learnt so much from him, specifically valuing the team around you. As a leader, you’re nothing without them.
If you could go back to your teenage years, would you have done things differently? Do you have any regrets?
No regrets ever. A single different decision would most likely have led me to a different place, and I love where I am in life now.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
A counsellor or therapist most likely. There’s still time!
What’s your one big dream for the future of the industry?
That technology continues to provide exciting tools for creative people. It’s been predicted for many decades that the latest tech will make us all redundant - going right back to the industrial revolution, and the reality is that it just makes us more creative and more productive, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
What are your top tips for aspiring creative professionals?
If you have an idea you believe in, stand strong and don’t allow anyone to dilute or change it.
What are your top tips for other creative leaders?
Allow your people the freedom to make mistakes and be able to learn from them in a positive environment. A blame culture and stress are a sure fire way to stifle creativity, and it amazes me how this simple approach is often overlooked.
When you think about your team, what is the thing that matters to you the most?
Positivity and momentum - and how this flows down from leadership. Every team I’ve managed promotes good communication and support for each other. If someone is struggling then others are always on hand to lean in and help. A ‘safe’ environment where people aren’t afraid to take risks.
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
This is a website I reference frequently - mainly because I’m a big fan of Noma Bar’s beautiful design and animation. Noma makes extremely complex designs and animation look effortless, he’s an amazing talent.