Did you know you always wanted to take on a Senior Creative role? What first piqued your interest about this kind of role?

Nope! I always knew I wanted to be a designer, coming from a creative family. My brother and sister both went into the creative industries and I wanted to follow suit, but had a pretty wobbly route in having failed to get into the art college I wanted after school! But… I stuck with it, and after a few jobs in branding, editorial, and media agencies; I joined Ardmore! This allowed me the opportunity to explore other avenues in the creative landscape, whilst staying close to my love for design and art direction. From copywriting and scripting, to conceptualisation, storyboarding and directing, I’ve got so much from my four years here so far.


When it comes to leadership/creativity/etc. as a skill, how much do you think is a natural part of personality, how much can be taught and learned?

I think having your brain wired creatively is something that probably comes naturally, but can definitely be tuned and always improved. Although courses etc. help, I’ve found keeping a finger on the pulse of what other agencies and brands around the world are doing, works well for me. Creative leadership is a wormhole of management that I think can be a bit of a minefield and is definitely learned from having strong mentors around me. Us creatives tend to be quite precious about our ideas; we do get really stuck into briefs in a way that consumes us until the big pitch. I guess it puts us in a really vulnerable position; so having the ability to tread lightly around the ideas that are going nowhere, as well as recognising and praising the gold are key to the role.


What has been your favourite campaign/most rewarding campaign to have worked on?

There really has been so many, but the first campaign I was involved in from start to finish was Lidl NI’s Lover, Liker, Loather campaign and I still have a real soft spot for it. From the consumer insights, to the creative rollout and humour bursting from the campaign, it’s one that I was able to get such a strong grasp of how collaboration can work at its finest within the agency.


What has been the most challenging campaign you have worked on?

It has to be our work for Network Rail’s There’s Always Hope campaign, aimed at tackling suicides on the railway lines. It’s one of the most rewarding campaigns I’ve worked on at Ardmore, but the conceptual stage was particularly challenging. In order to get into the correct mindset for this, we had to do a lot of research into deaths on the railway; the impact it has on families; and on train drivers. We spoke to people with poor mental health and uncovered a lot. It was a heavy brief. But off this crucial first phase, we created a campaign that was deployed across England, Scotland and Wales and has had real, positive effects on people’s lives. I think these will always be the most rewarding campaigns, when we use the power of creativity to really move people.


What are the most challenging aspects of this role and how do you work through these?

Subjectivity is always a challenge, and can work on a number of levels. I could look at someone’s work and just simply not like it, but not really be able to explain why. This can be applied across the agency. As creatives we really need to develop a thick skin as our work is put under the microscope of not just the hierarchy in the studio, but then cross-departmental. This ensures our work is fully on brief and that it is answering exactly what the client requires. But it is sometimes true to say that others simply don’t like the work, but can’t quite articulate why. It then goes to our clients who put it under another microscope. At this level, we’re talking about huge sums of money being entrusted with our ideas, and we do feel that pressure as creatives but we always have the business objective front of mind. Rather than us doing the top-line colouring in, we’re creative business-thinkers. Problem solvers. We are commercial partners, and we really know our stuff. Trying to position ourselves as such always needs attention.


What are the most useful resources you’ve found that have helped you through your career journey?

All the people I’ve worked with along the way. Everyone from Creative Directors’ experience to interns with their enthusiasm to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty.


What is your favourite thing about Ardmore?

Worldwide Partners. In Autumn ’22, I was really lucky to get to attend my first WPI event in Amsterdam. This one experience gave me such a huge boost of enthusiasm, and so much confidence. The event was attended by our Partner agencies from around the world, and I met so many amazing people. The creative leaders at each agency attended a session at Weiden & Kennedy’s offices, where we were able to discuss opportunities, weaknesses and the industry in general, along with new tools to create award-winning, globally-recognised work. So good.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Christ. I’ll be 40. 40… Ask me in five years!