Ruth Kieran – CEO – Cirkle
Ruth is the CEO of Cirkle an award winning PR Agency with 20+ years of consumer and corporate reputation experience across public, private and third sector communications, Ruth is also an experienced crisis & issues expert. Ruth’s career began as a media buyer with McCann-Erickson in Sydney as well as working with Microsoft and IBM in Hong Kong.
Her client experience includes Miele, The National Lottery, Department for Transport, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, Harley-Davidson, The Open University and Whitbread. A seasoned leader, previous roles include Managing Partner and Deputy Managing Director for both Kindred and Lexis. She currently sits on the MAAG’s Advisory Board and chairs its diversity group.
Arjoon Bose – Marketing Head – General Mills
Arjoon Bose is the Europe-Australasia Head of Culture and Brand Experience at General Mills creating differential brand building playbooks and modern marketing approaches to drive cultural relevance for their full portfolio of loved food brands across all categories. Previous to this, he was the Marketing Head for Haagen-Dazs and Nature Valley for UK & Northern Europe and Europe Marketing Head of New Ventures delivering market-leading growth and leading award-winning campaigns. He has over 16 years’ experience working in leadership roles around the globe at L’Oreal and General Mills and is passionate about remarkable modern magical marketing on purpose-led brands leveraging cultural forces. He was a jury member of the Global Effie Awards and chair of judges for The Drum Social Media Awards in 2020.
Dino Myers-Lamptey – Founder – The Barber Shop
Dino Myers-Lamptey is the Founder of The Barber Shop, a strategy-led creative company that aims to solve the biggest business problems through data, distribution and disruptive ideas. They work with businesses that are driven by a purpose and which strive to enrich culture through the pleasure that they bring. Their clients include Karma Cola, The Athletic, Tobefrank and Parkinson’s UK. Dino is also a board member of the UK Effies and a NED for the Brixton Finishing School. In 2019 Dino was recognised as a Top 10 Media Planner by Campaign. Dino is also a founding member of MEFA (Media For All), and has recently founded Diverse Speakers.
Claire Miller – Global Head of Strategy – Lego
Claire is an award winning strategist with 25 years experience in helping shape brands to play a meaningful role in people’s lives.
Through a relentless curiosity of people, culture and brands Claire has shaped strategic solutions for some of the world’s most successful global brands; working at BMP DDB and McCann Worldgroup . Today Claire gets to work on the world’s most loved brand LEGO as Global Head of Strategy for the LEGO Agency; leading a team of brilliant thinkers finding new innovative ways to enrich and deepen consumer engagement with the brand across LEGO’s vast ecosystem.
Oliver Illing – Head of Independant Agency Team – Google
Oli leads the Independent Agency & New Partner team within Google’s Large Customer Sales, partnering with some of the leading and largest independent agencies, and other new emerging partners for Google – helping their businesses and advertisers grow. In his 11th year at Google, Oli has fulfilled various roles across the agency business and is passionate about championing independent agencies within Google and the wider industry.
Mark Palmer – Founder – Cawston Press
Mark graduated from the University of Bath where he studied business and finance.
He spent his early marketing career at United Biscuits and Burger King, before becoming Marketing Director of Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate in 2001. During Mark’s tenure sales increased from £4m to £30m leading to an acquisition by Cadbury Schweppes. Green & Black’s was voted the UK’s coolest food brand by Superbrands for five successive years and Mark was voted UK marketer of the year for his work in building the brand.
In 2012, Mark became Marketing Director of Pret A Manger – a role he held for four years before transitioning to a part time Board advisory role. Mark was responsible for the marketing and creative for more than 500 shops in the UK, US, France and Asia. Pret’s global turnover is £1bn and Pret was voted 2016 Brand of the Year by readers of Marketing Week. Mark exited the Pret business after the sale to JAB Holdings in 2018.
Mark now pursues a portfolio career investing and providing hands on NED input in the food and drink sector. He is a co-founder of Cawston Press soft drinks, Chair of Union Coffee and an NED of Kestrel Foods and Tisserand. In 2018, he co-founded the non-alcoholic premium drinks brand L.A Brewery.
Laurence Parkes – CEO – Rufus Leonard
Laurence Parkes is CEO of the award-winning, independent digital experience agency, Rufus Leonard. Throughout his career and his time at Rufus, Laurence has proven himself a powerful strategic operator and passionate supporter of client transformation. As CEO, Laurence spearheads the agency’s strategic and business ambition; engineering a meaningful difference to people through our clients, in turn helping unleash the full potential of the digital economy.
A regular industry voice, Laurence’s specialist subjects include business transformation, lean principles, data-driven decision making, brand and communications strategy, product, service and experience design, CRM, and brand experience. As a former Campaign ‘Face to Watch’, Laurence has collected many accolades throughout his career including a Gold Digital Experience Award, Gold Cannes Cyber Lion, and Gold IPA Effectiveness Awards.
Prior to being named CEO, Laurence was Rufus Leonard’s first Chief Strategy Officer. During this time, he successfully repositioned the agency, reframing the agency’s services and launching new products to market – including the Brand Experience Index (BXI) – driving consistent growth in inbound interest and profit. He was also responsible for creating bespoke and rewarding digital experiences for clients including Reckitt Benckiser, the AA and Stagecoach.
Gellan Watt is an award-winning Creative Director and Agency Founder, who, with his partners, grew an independent agency group to c. £60m revenue before successful exit in 2016. Following this exit he now works as a Global Brand Advisor, Agency Non Exec, and Creative Strategist and Investor. He also hold the position of Creative Chair of the Alliance of Independent Agencies – championing independent UK to clients worldwide
David Meikle – How to Buy a Gorilla
David Meikle is a business and marketing consultant, an innovator and a problem solver. In his advertising career he held senior positions at Grey and O&M in London, and was Head of Country for Ogilvy Russia. In 2009, David founded the consultancy, Salt, delivering marketing transformation, pitch management, process design and training. He rebranded his business The How to Buy a Gorilla Company after his book in 2017. HTBAG’s consultancy clients include The Post Office, Abellio, TSB and Vision Express, Direct Line Group. Its training clients include: AMV/BBDO, Adam&EveDDB, the7stars, MediaCom, the IPA, ISBA, IAPI, the EACA & the MRS.
During the Covid lockdown of 2020 David wrote his second book – Unstressessary – How to reduce stress and improve performance in advertising and marketing – yet to be published.
In autumn 2020 David co-founded Wippet – an online marketplace for the healthcare sector, which was sold in a pre-revenue deal in April 2021. David continues in Wippet as Operations and Marketing Director. The site is due to launch in September 2021.
Karen Bigwood – Head of Brand – Lloyd’s
Karen Bigwood is Head of Brand for Lloyd’s of London, with global responsibility for brand strategy ensuring Lloyd’s is globally admired and respected for its reputation as the world’s specialist marketplace for insurance. Karen is also responsible for communications and engagement for Lloyd’s transformation strategy, digital and thought leadership. Karen has over 25 year experience in developing brand and marketing strategies targeting customers in both public and private sectors. Her passion is understanding what makes people tick and translating this into compelling propositions, seamless experiences and creative campaigns.
Prior to joining Lloyd’s she has held senior brand, marketing and communications roles in the insurance, support services and construction industries where she has lead multi-disciplined teams and delivered a number of award winning campaigns.
David Atkinson – CEO – Space
David is nearing 30 years in agency life, all of it spent at independent creative agencies. For the last 17 this includes founding and leading Space, a global creative business with a remarkable track record in helping brands go beyond convention. Space has celebrated an excellent haul of Awards, and are one of the agencies that embody the freedom and spirit that the Independent Agency Awards is designed to represent.
Colin Buckingham – Head of Media – Birdseye
Colin Buckingham is the UK head of media at Nomad Foods. Colin leads the media and consumer facing comms strategy across some of the UK’s favourite frozen brands including Birds Eye, Aunt Bessie’s and Goodfella’s Pizza. In his work Colin works with agencies, driving them to produce award winning work, with an ambition to always propel brands to the next level in terms of driving return on investment through creating content fit for channel, alongside efficient media buying.
Rob Quinn – Head of Creative Industries – Fortus
Former agency owner Rob Quinn is Executive Board Member and Head of Creative Industries at Fortus Business Advisors and Accountants.
With a career spanning 20 years in building, leading and selling marketing agencies both in the UK and overseas, Rob appreciates the importance of the independent agency sector.
Having worked at agencies including Dynamo Marketing and rpm, in 2003 Rob founded theatre} Brand Experience and grew it to be recognised as the fastest growing agency in the sector. In 2007 Rob established Purity, expanding the business to launch in the USA with a client roster that included Samsung, BMW, Pernod Ricard and Microsoft.
As Executive Director at Fortus, Rob assumes a strategic lead on brand and marketing communications along with sector development whilst also being national lead for the Creative Industries, bringing his experience of working in this fast-moving and highly innovative industry during to the fore.
Victoria Sanders has been in the travel business for the last 24 years, starting her career in retail sales. She then shifted into the aviation sector working for 2 years for Air New Zealand and subsequently entered into tour operating, spending 2 years at Jetset and a further two years at First Choice.
She made the transition into the media publishing business in 2004 when she joined Teletext Holidays. Victoria spent 8 years at Teletext Holidays where she was promoted to MD in 2009, a move that saw her lead a successful and profitable transformation of the business.
Victoria joined News UK in May 2014 as the Head of Travel. In 2015 she was appointed Director of Travel, where she now heads up the travel vertical and is responsible for an expanding commercial travel team. This encompasses print, digital advertising, partnerships, digital marketing, online development and more. She is actively involved in the digital development of new travel propositions and growing the opportunities for key clients within all News UK titles.
Richard Bowcott – Interim Director of Digital – WWF-UK
A graduate of Bournemouth University, Richard started his career at Brann working on the Barclays account. He then joined Lloyds TSB working on various projects including LloydsTSB.com and their first internet banking release. Richard spent the next 10 years working in FS before relocating to Dubai as Marketing Director for Corporate, Commercial and Private Bank clients at Standard Chartered. Richard returned to the UK to join HSBC as Global Head of Marketing, planning, content and events for Global Banking and Markets before deciding to set up his own marketing consultancy in 2016. Richard has delivered award winning programmes of work and is currently a consultant at WWF where he is leading on several major programmes around marketing and digital transformation.