I’m originally from Hull, my dad worked for Reckitts for 32 years and I grew up in Cottingham before going to university in Bradford. My first job was in Leeds in accountancy but although I liked getting to understand the various client businesses I decided it wasn’t really for me and made a switch to market research.
That led to me working with several marketing agencies and eventually a strategic planning role with the then biggest agency in Leeds. I moved after a couple of years to another Leeds agency, Charles Walls and was there for 8 years, eventually becoming Managing Director.
I then had a dabble with Direct Marketing spending a year with an Omnicom owned agency now known as Rapp. Having got a taste for bigger agency life I moved from there to the biggest agency outside of London — McCann Manchester — to work on a range of national and international clients.
Over nine years there I worked with some great people and brands in various roles eventually becoming one of the Managing Partners. Clients included Magnet Kitchens, Britannia Building Society, Aldi, Peugeot, Sainsbury’s Bank, Gateway Computers and MasterCard.
After McCanns I worked client side for a while in marketing roles before returning to the agency world in Leeds, working in a couple of retail focused agencies mainly on the adidas brand. I then decided to return to my roots in Hull which is when I started talking to Strawberry.
To be honest, I wasn’t really aware of the agency scene in Hull so I had to do a bit of research. I did know James as a fellow Hull City supporter so I asked him if we could meet to ask a few questions and find out the lie of the land. When we spoke James suggested I meet more of the Strawberry team and things just progressed from there — it quickly became clear that Strawberry was the only real choice for me.
You’ve recently moved back to Hull, how are you finding the City of Culture?
It’s simply brilliant — after spending a lot of time in both Leeds and Manchester which are both quite vibrant cities on an upward trajectory, I was quite concerned to be honest that Hull might provide a stark contrast. City of Culture and all the investment surrounding it really has transformed the city and given people a new attitude and confidence. There’s lots of great events, exhibitions and performances going on but it’s the effect on the population as a whole that I think has made a real difference. Long may this continue!
What’s the best bit of being back in Hull?
The people! I love the Hullensian self deprecating, down to earth attitude of being determined not to be impressed by anything too fancy. The City of Culture seems to have restored a sense of pride in Hull and that’s quite infectious. I know people from Leeds, Manchester and even London who’ve visited this year and told me how much more enjoyable the whole City of Culture experience is because of the people they met when they visited — that’s something to be proud of.
Want to get to know another Strawb better? Meet Alice Jones.