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The humans of adland

Campaign gathers the industry's most inspiring individuals to share their greatest out-of-work achievements...

The humans of adland

Our industry’s full of people shouting about their great work. Awards won, media firsts, landing pitches – you know the stuff. But what really makes them tick? Outside work, how do they spend their time – what will they be remembered for? 

Campaign and Adobe Stock tell the untold, human stories of those in media and advertising. From freefalling to fighting crime, we draw upon Adobe’s image library to illustrate these touching tales… 

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Anna Stone, new business & marketing manager, OgilvyOne

"On Monday nights I’m in an equally hectic but totally different environment to work – running a Brownie pack.

GirlGuiding lets me try amazing new things, have heaps of fun, learn and develop all sorts of skills. Keeping the attention of 27 fidgety children keeps your presentation skills sharp, and taking them to train with the Team GB Sitting Volleyball team makes you look at motivation in a whole new way.

Leading a team of volunteers is different to leading a team of employees – the volunteers bring different knowledge, experience, likes and dislikes and you have to respect they’ve all given up their time to be there.

It’s lovely to see the girls grow and develop skills through three years in the pack.

The best bits are the silliest – making a mess with slime, painting with our feet and doing the conga in our local supermarket.

15 years, two continents and over 150 children later, I can’t imagine spending my spare time doing anything else."

Thomas Ferguson, marketing assistant, Andrew James UK

"My brother was in an accident after a tree fell onto his car in Cambridge. He was left critical with major head injuries.

I travelled from Durham each weekend while he was in a coma and after three weeks he became stable. The Great North Air Ambulance sole funded to fly him home to the north – close to him family and friends during his recovery. I wanted to thank them, and the nurses at Addenbrooke's hospital who saved his life.

I set about raising £2k and I ran a busker's night with live local talent. I achieved the target after just one night and realised I could do more. I teamed up with a local club promoter and ran a dance event after they agreed ticket sales would go towards my chosen charities.

We raised £6k for the air ambulance and nurses in under six months, something I'm incredibly proud of. Oh, and my brother is recovering pretty well too..."

Amelia Torode, chief strategy officer, TBWA

"I lived in a Brooklyn apartment overlooking the New York City marathon route. Every year I’d see thousands of people running past – it filled me with admiration, awe and fear.

One year, on the back of an horrendous break up, I successfully signed up. I’d never done any running and I’m not built for long-distance. But I broke it down in my head into manageable chunks and trained hard. I did it in 3 hours 40 minutes. I’ve since completed three marathons and raised quite a bit for charity.

You can do anything if you compartmentalise the components. Nothing is unachievable with focus and belief. My next marathon is for a cancer hospice close to my heart."

Sarah Fuller, chief brand officer, Graze

"I've started singing in our work choir since joining graze last summer.

I don't have a particularly strong singing voice but I can just about hold a tune and love to sing whenever I have the cover of large numbers, when I'm driving in my car or spending time with my kids, who tolerate my lullabies and West End show renditions at bedtime.

I've never sung in a choir before and can't read music but that's the joy of our choir. There's a great mix of talented musicians (some of whom can actually read music) and enthusiasts who turn up for our twice-weekly rehearsals when we can. Our choir leader looks after our social media and sings professionally outside work - he gently brings out the best in us.

There's something about a song coming together across the four parts, bringing people from different teams together and getting some air into your lungs that is extremely uplifting.

We make the most of our lunch breaks and our choir rehearsals feel like a different type of sustenance. So far, the choir's performances have been to friends and family - watch this space for more public performances!"

Claire Beale, Global editor-in-chief, Campaign

"Of course I was determined to kick against convention when I was younger and made up my mind I was never going to get married. Marriage back then came with a clear religious framework and a lot of patriarchal baggage; it seemed to me that "wife" was almost a pejorative word. 

Marriage has evolved since then but it’s still not an institution I want to commit to. I’ve been with my partner for a quarter of a century; we  share two kids, a dog, debts and assets, and I’m still happily unmarried. Yet my partner and I recently flew to the Isle of Man to become the first heterosexual couple living in the UK to enter into a civil partnership. It's not recognised on mainland Britain, where civil partnerships are still only open to same sex couples. But it’s a start.

Years ago we joined the campaign for gay marriage, which was finally legalised in 2014. Now we’re campaigning for civil partnerships for all, with all the legal rights and protections that confers. This is one cause that’s particularly personal to us, but campaigning for it has hardened my belief that any one - whatever their gender or sexuality - should have the same equal rights."

Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO, AirBnb

"In 2006 I left London's ad industry and moved to Atlanta to join The Coca-Cola Company. One day my secretary ran into my office and said: "Jonathan, this has to be the greatest letter you will ever receive." Sure enough, she was right.

The letter was from my alma mater, Manchester Metropolitan University saying I’d receive an honorary doctorate degree in business administration for my services to the British advertising industry.

They cited the effective creative work I had been involved in alongside my role as the IPA's co-chair for the campaign for greater ethnic diversity in advertising.

Four months later I became ‘Dr Jonathan Mildenhall’. It is a day my mum and I will never forget and shows that no matter who you are or where you come from, dreams can come true."

Matthew Stockbridge, growth analytics manager, Mondelez

"I volunteered at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in London 2012.

Placed at Heathrow Terminal 5, I worked with competitors and officials as they came and went. The experience was filled with highlights and one day stands out. In 24 hours, I persuaded BA to upgrade the flight of wheelchair athlete, I helped a group of Paralympic Volleyballers who were having difficulty checking in their prosthetics, I escorted the legendary Alex Zanardi through customs and met Rihanna (who was less chatty than Zanardi).

But the most enduring memory was strangers randomly coming up and thanking me. The feedback I heard from all of the athletes was universally positive about all of their encounters with Games Makers.

It was a privilege to be selected and it was one of the most rewarding times of my life."

Verra Budimlija, chief strategy officer, MEC
"Growing up, I visited my grandparents in Dubrovnik for three months every year.

My experiences there informed my entire life. They spent much of their time looking after and entertaining elderly people. I loved helping to put on shows – often picking out costumes and making props for small scale productions in a tiny open air theatre.

But the best part was getting to know the audience who often had lived long and varied lives. Many were absolutely delightful.

Their perspective on life taught me: you don’t have to play by conventions, don’t take everything at face value. And, of course, that growing older is a positive, rewarding, part of life. Elderly people shouldn’t be parked in a corner waiting to die – that’s a waste, they are a force for change.

The time I spent there has stayed with me. I’ve tried to keep up my links with the elderly community where I live… I do Saturday morning volunteering whenever I can.

I’m delighted I’ve been able to support older people at work too. MEC is leading the debate around ageism. We would all benefit from older people in the workplace.

The best thing of all is I’ve instilled these beliefs in my daughter. She commits an hour a week to visiting an elderly person in our local community too.

Dan Shute, managing partner and co-founder at Creature of London
"In 2014, one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer, so four of us decided to raise money cycling up some mountains. Manny got better but we still had to do the cycling. That’s the short version.

The longer version saw a drunken plan to try to raise £10k cycling up Mont Ventoux turn into founding Le Cure. Le Cure is a charitable bike club that has seen more than 100 people ride some of the most iconic climbs of Le Tour, raising over £750,000 for the Royal Marsden, funding – so far – three research fellowships.

Cancer’s a prick: thanks to Le Cure, and the passion and generosity of its supporters, the chances of being able to send it packing are now slightly better. Which is a pretty good thing."

Mark Webb, group head of social media, Dixons Carphone
"I have a progressive neurological disease called Multiple Sclerosis, which chips away at the central nervous system in your brain and spinal cord. It’s sometimes called the snowflake disease because none of us are identical in the way the illness develops. There’s no cure.

In 2013 I went through with a charity tandem skydive. Adrenaline, sensory perception overload and total euphoria made that lung-bursting fifty seconds feel an awful lot longer in a glorious, slow-motion kind of way. I screamed, I did a little jig, I laughed, I giggled, I beamed. Such was the noise there was no way of communicating, but anyone within half a mile would have felt the glow of my sheer, unadulterated joy.

I could have free-fallen all day if science and reality permitted. 

I’ve repeated it several times since. The feeling of freedom and (brief!) normality is incredible. And I’ve raised about £7k to date!"

 

Trevor Robinson, founder, Quiet Storm
"Knife crime in my old neighbourhood, Brixton, was rife. You’d see young lives wasted, misled, taken.

Creating something impactful is addictive. It’s an amazing feeling.

I wanted to help people – young people – who aren't usually encouraged to be creative or ambitious, to experience that, to know that creativity is a viable route in life. A far more rewarding one than getting involved with gangs or violence.

With some others, I funded a project, ‘Create over hate’, working with children from my old school. We tasked a year group to come up with an idea for an ad campaign. And promised we’d make it happen. We did.

It was a risk but one that paid off – we raised money and empowered hundreds of kids across London who became involved in the programme.

When working with a charity, my goal is to render it useless by the time I’m finished."

Arthur Jones, account manager, AMV BBDO
"I create interactive theatre in my evenings and weekends, and take shows to festivals and fringes all over the UK whenever I can.

We don’t really have any budget for anything we do. We got our first gig (a month-long residency at an ex-fabric factory on Brick Lane) by just emailing the owner asking him to give us a chance in exchange for a box office split.

Next summer, we’re at the Edinburgh Fringe with a show called Losers - about the dubious ethics of reality TV. The audience is armed with electronic voting handsets, and forced to make increasingly absurd decisions about what should happen to the gameshow ‘contestants’ next. It’s not for the squeamish.

Being onstage makes me feel profoundly calm (despite the odds, maybe). Everything else in my brain (other than my lines and my cues, luckily!) seems to disappear for a couple of hours, and it’s bizarrely peaceful."

Have you got an inspiring out-of-work achievement you’d like to share? We’d love to talk to you so email us at georganna.simpson@haymarket.com

Discover how other creatives use Adobe Stock to express themselves, watch videos from freelance graphic designer Oliver Goddard and multi-service agency The Creative Place.

 

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