Our people

The future, faster.

As part of our commitment to inclusion across the full spectrum of diversity, and as an employer of choice, AKQA desires to be a leading creative and professional services firm for the attraction, promotion and retention of women and under-represented groups.

We recognise that a series of actions needs to be taken to advance equality and actively address any issues faced that may hinder development. Through a series of company-wide, industry and recruitment initiatives, we are ensuring a greater pipeline of diverse talent at all levels, while also hiring and promoting more women into senior positions. This work to actively highlight role models and encourage our people to progress into leadership roles is ongoing, and includes the stories below.

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Hugo Veiga and Diego Machado

Freedom in creativity

Following their 2019 Cannes Lions success, the São Paulo duo spoke to Creativepool about their process: “Freedom is a key factor… We like to work with nimble teams empowered with the autonomy to make ongoing decisions”. Hugo and Diego also discuss working as part of AKQA and amidst the changing nature of the creative industry.

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Sam Sterling

Stronger together

Sam Sterling, who has been leading our Shanghai team, has been promoted to managing director for the Greater China and Japan region. Sam has been with AKQA for 18 months, and spoke to Campaign Asia about how she will draw upon these two progressive and culturally interesting markets to continue to deliver value for our clients.

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Hugo Veiga

The importance of ambition

Executive creative director Hugo Veiga, whose team returned from Cannes Lions with two Grand Prix wins, has written an opinion piece in the Brazilian journal Dinheiro Vivo, about the ongoing evolution of the creative industry. Highlighting the importance of ambition, and the need to always seek out references and inspiration.

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Axel Nygårds

The value of studio culture

Creative Axel Nygårds appeared in a BBC short film about studio culture. The piece draws insight from a handful of London creative studios, including AKQA, and examines how we’re building and maintaining a collaborative, creative working environment, and what we’re learning through this process.

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Andy Hood and Steffen Otkjær

AI will change civilisation

Our Copenhagen studio hosted the future of AI, led by head of emerging technologies Andy Hood and Copenhagen MD Steffen Otkjær. Andy examined the current potential and immediate future of AI, while Steffen explored the hypothesised singularity event, wherein technological growth is predicted to become so uncontrollable and irreversible that it leads to unfathomable changes in human civilisation.

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Suki Heather

Pitch 100 Superwomen

AKQA London creative director Suki Heather has been recognised within the Pitch 100 Superwomen. The initiative celebrates women working behind the scenes in the creative industry, with a focus on fearless risk-takers who get the job done, and all 100 women are nominated for the list by their industry peers.

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Maurício Dias

Representing Brazil at Young Lions

Copywriter Maurício Dias, whose project work includes the multi-award-winning Netflix Stranger Broadcast, has been named as the Brazil representative for the Cyber category in the Young Lions competition at the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival. This is the third year that AKQA talent has represented Brazil in the Cyber category.

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Stephen Forth

New Zealand online retail summit

Experience-design director Nel Johnson attended the 2019 iMedia Online Retailer Summit at Lake Taupo in New Zealand to present to a group of senior e-commerce professionals, on the theme of ‘creating moments that matter’ for their customers.

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Jazz Advaney

Mirren Live conference in New York

AKQA business development lead Jazz Advaney was a guest speaker at the 2019 Mirren Live Agency Growth Conference in New York. Jazz appeared alongside chief growth officers and business development directors of VMLY&R, HUGE, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Digitas, and Dentsu Aegis. They examined what it takes to be effective in business development roles.

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Jacqui Sze

D&AD Festival: Jacqui Sze as New Blood judge

Senior creative Jacqui Sze appeared as a D&AD New Blood judge, for a Heinz ideas competition which explored new ways to market the traditional tomato ketchup. Jacqui was separately nominated for the D&AD 2019 ‘Next Photographer’ photography award.

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Sam Sterling

The future of retail in Asia

Shanghai MD Sam Sterling delivered a guest lecture to executive-MBA students from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. Sam spoke about the Chinese retail environment, and detailed the country’s (in)famous fully automated cashless economy. The talk also covered the optimisation of physical spaces as well as the augmentation of experiential retail with contextual digital content.

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Jacqui Sze

Future creative leaders

Campaign Live has this week announced its Future Female Creative Leaders for 2019. In this year’s list, AKQA senior creative Jacqui Sze has been selected for the ‘Ones-to-Watch’. The list is published in partnership with diversity specialist Creative Equals, and profiles outstanding female talent, Jacqui was recognised for her multidisciplinary skills.

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Kathryn Webb

AI as a creative tool

AI practice lead Kathryn Webb has featured in AdWeek to discuss the growing interest in AI’s potential for creativity. The article explores how AI can supplement the creative process rather than simply serving as an element of the finished product.

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Resh Sidhu

No compromise

AKQA New York group creative director Resh Sidhu has featured in Australian journal AdNews to discuss life as a female in the creative industry. The interview explores how no one should have to compromise any professional or personal goal, and the need to seek out mentorship and opportunity, even if that means moving around the world.

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Eric Orton

Personalisation panel

AKQA Melbourne executive technology director Eric Orton appeared on a panel discussion, for the ‘Path to Personalisation’ event that was hosted by software company and AKQA collaborator Sitecore. The conversation explored how to launch a future-proofed, data-driven personalisation strategy that drives conversion and can handle any new device that emerges on the market.

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Resh Sidhu

New frontier

AKQA Group Creative Director Resh Sidhu was invited to speak at University of the Arts London’s annual conference. The theme of the event was innovative practices. Resh’s Keynote focused on AKQA’s work, creating the future with our clients and the rise of immersive mediums, exploring the new frontier and peeked into what the future can hold – looking at brain interfaces, A.I and beyond.

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Resh Sidhu

AKQA at Adobe Summit

AKQA Group Creative Director Resh Sidhu spoke at the Adobe Summit about ‘Humanising your brand – how to align with your customers’ values.’ Along with Rachel Curry, Director of Marketing, Owned Channels, Volvo Cars USA. They explored how emerging trends, new competitors, rapid innovation, sustainability and changing consumer behaviour are all transforming how auto brands behave and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

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International Women's Day

Today, Forever, Balance for Better

AKQA marked International Women’s Day with a host of initiatives and opportunities for employees and clients reflecting the theme of this year’s campaign, Balance for Better.

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Rachel Barek

AKQA judges the Shorty Awards

AKQA Managing Director Rachel Barek has been selected to judge this year’s Shorty Awards. The annual awards show aims to recognise the people and organisations that produce real-time short form content across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and beyond. Rachel said: “Judging was a great opportunity to examine how truly creative ideas can have an amazing range of influence across a variety of social formats”.

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Yazminca Woodward

Connection in Chaos

Connection in Chaos, presented by AKQA Associate Strategy Director Yazminca Woodward. In the first of three talks given at AKQA’s Simplification Insight in London, Yazminca explores Connection in Chaos and demanding less from customers. Yazminca shows how companies such as Stripe, Muji and Brandless have thrived by using simplification to expect less and deliver more.

Hugo-Veiga
Hugo Veiga

Andy Awards Judge

AKQA Executive Creative Director Hugo Veiga has been selected for the Andy Awards 2019 Jury. Upon joining the Jury, Hugo said: “Letting people get a glimpse of what is usually a closed and secretive process through Facebook Live is an amazing service of simplicity, transparency and education for the global community. I’m looking forward to being inspired by the work and the perspective of a jury from such diverse backgrounds”.

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Steven Gutteridge

5G’s Impact on retail

Technology Director of AKQA Shanghai, Steven Gutteridge shared his thoughts with The Business of Fashion this week about 5G’s impact on retail. He said: “It will enable not only richer digital experiences but also mass adoption of wearables currently hindered by 4G’s latency”.

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Michelle Lassman

Inspiring the Next Generation

AKQA Group Creative Director Michelle Lassman hosted a Q&A session with Syracuse University about AKQA’s global student competition, Future Lions. Michelle answered questions from students, already working on and finessing their ideas for the 2019 competition.

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Woke and Wonderful

Diverse people and diverse perspectives

Woke & Wonderful is AKQA’s initiative devoted to addressing diversity and inclusion in the Portland studio. Designed and led by the people who work there, Woke & Wonderful is driven by a simple belief: that great ideas come from diverse people and diverse perspectives.

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Lindsay Lim

Empowered Women Inspire All

Recognising that a series of actions need to be taken to advance equality and actively address issues, AKQA participated in the 2018 Women in Technology Australia conference in Sydney. AKQA Melbourne Principal Architect, Lindsay Lim, took the stage to share her insights on developer problem-solving methodologies.

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Kanika Chandra

WPP Stella: Next Stop, India

AKQA is pleased to announce that Kanika Chandra, Technical Delivery Manager from our Gurgaon studio, has been nominated for WPP Stella India Chapter.

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Sam Sterling

The Future of Retail

AKQA Managing Director of the Shanghai studio Sam Sterling joined the team and clients in Melbourne and Sydney to share insights on how the future of retail is coming to life in China.

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Empower Conference

Towards a Level Playing Field

The Empower conference, organised by Women in Sport will both identify and help to solve the causes of inequality. The conference will also harness the latest insights, social innovation and best practice evidence to provide solutions.

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Nat Vosloo and Jacqui Sze

AKQA at D&AD New Blood Festival

AKQA Art Director Natalie Vosloo and Creative Jacqui Sze joined the portfolio surgeries, offering advice to students on how to present their work and how to expand on their ideas to form campaigns.

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Alisia Muscat

Alisia Muscat Judges the 2018 AMY Awards

AKQA General Manager of Melbourne Alisia Muscat was selected as a Juror for the 24th AMY Awards. With a distinguished heritage in Australia, the AMY Awards are looking for customer-focused, relevant and more prestigious work.

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Resh Sidhu

Resh Sidhu Receives Honorary Doctorate

The University of the Arts London has awarded AKQA Creative Director Resh Sidhu the Honorary Doctor of Arts, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the fields of design, arts, animation, film and technology. The Honorary Doctorate, together with the Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour conferred by the University.

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Christine Grand

AKQA welcomes Christine Grand as Client Partner

Christine is a global marketing leader with over 15 years experience driving digital acceleration and business performance for agencies and brands around the world. She recently moved to San Francisco from Shanghai where she was leading numerous client service, strategy and digital teams.

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Maggie Chau

Foundry Live

AKQA Principal Experience Designer Maggie Chau spoke at Foundry Live, Australia’s most thriving creative speaker programme. Maggie walked students through “Data Driven Design” and explored interesting ways data is being used and collected, as well as the impact that it is making.

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Michelle Lassman

Future Lions 2018 and Beyond

AKQA Group Creative Director Michelle Lassman spoke with TheNextGag to discuss Future Lions 2018, her thoughts on the winning ideas and co-hosting the annual seminar in Cannes.

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Valentina Badini

Forward Festival

AKQA UX Director Valentina Badini spoke at Forward Festival on “design pollution” over recent years, which she defined as: designs that lack purpose and meaning because it ignores the bigger picture and fails to correctly identify needs.

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Felicia Leoncelli

Go with the Flo

Felicia Leoncelli joined AKQA’s Melbourne studio for an inspiring AKQA Insight, sharing the story and learnings from her diverse career and achievements while raising a family with two children.

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Ruth Awogbade

Faith, Feminism and Fashion

Entrepreneur Ruth Awogbade joined AKQA’s team and clients for an inspiring discussion on her work as founder and editor-in-chief of Magnify, the lifestyle platform designed to inspire women through faith, feminism and fashion.

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Kathryn Webb

Impact Week 2018

As part of the ‘Visions of the Future’ session at this year’s Impact Week, AKQA Lead Conversational Architect Kathryn Webb discussed the influence of AI on current market research, and how it will further shape the industry during the next 20 years.

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Suki Heather

A world Designed by Women

AKQA Creative Director Suki Heather joined a panel hosted by Creative Review and Human After All to discuss the impact of only 10% of the planet’s Creative Directors being female upon our daily experiences.

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Resh Sidhu

Beyond the Frame

AKQA Creative Director Resh Sidhu took to the stage for Immersive Stories at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival. The conference brings together pioneering international thought leaders on Virtual and Augmented Reality to chart new ways of storytelling on immersive platforms.

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Sam Sterling

Sam Sterling Appointed as AKQA Shanghai MD

Sam Sterling has been appointed Managing Director of AKQA’s Shanghai studio, leading the team of 50 people.

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Ginny Golden

AKQA Tree of Lights app Plants 1,000 Real Trees

Group Creative Director Ginny Golden on AKQA Tree of Lights, explains: “Tree of Lights shared the magic of the holidays and augmented reality to provide a gift to our planet. The idea is a powerful example of the digital world helping protect and preserve the real environment we all share”.

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Rachel Barek

Organic Growth Training

AKQA General Manager Rachel Barek was guest speaker at the 2018 Mirren Account Management Bootcamp in Miami. Rachel spoke about organic growth – sharing tips, case studies and best practices.

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Aivory Gaw

Aivory Gaw Director of Business Development

Aivory has been with AKQA since 2013 as a Client Services Lead, and previously as Associate Planning Director. As the youngest member of London’s leadership team, Aivory will be responsible for driving growth across AKQA’s London studio.

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Natalie Vosloo

Design Trends of 2018

AKQA Art Director Natalie Vosloo shared her inspirations, hopes and predictions for 2018 with DigitalArts, along with 25 other leaders in creativity.

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Kathryn Webb

Recognising the Reshapers

AKQA Lead Conversational Architect Kathryn Webb has been selected to judge this year’s Campaign Tech Awards.

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Kathryn Webb

Toolkit for 2018

AKQA Lead Conversational Architect Kathryn Webb spoke at the WARC Event: Toolkit 2018 in London. Kathryn highlighted the key learnings around the creation of the Arsenal FC Alexa skill, and showcased AKQA’s industry-leading principles for creating the best voice experiences.

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Michelle Lassman and Julia Jahn

Women’s Salon

AKQA’s San Francisco studio hosted a Women’s Salon event, a safe and constructive forum for women of AKQA to gather and discuss relevant topics on gender in the workplace.

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AKQA Melbourne

TimesUp

This may look like an average day at an AKQA studio, but don’t be fooled. The all-black outfits stood for something else on Tuesday. What started as a conversation between a few friends after watching Oprah at the Golden Globes, went on to become an agency standing together in black to say #TimesUp on harassment, assault and inequality.

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AKQA Atlanta

Mentoring at the Atlanta Studio

This week, the AKQA Atlanta studio started Monday off with mentorship – hosting 30 advertising students from the University of Georgia’s Ad Club, part of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The students enjoyed a presentation about AKQA and the chance to ask questions of team members from multiple disciplines.

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3% Conference

AKQA at the 3% Conference

14 people from AKQA (with representation from each North American studio) attended the 3% Conference in New York, celebrating creative female talent and leadership. AKQA Senior Media Planner Kayla Koterbay said of the conference: “It was inspiring to be a part of such a large movement, and the energy in the air was infectious”.

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Kathryn Webb, Ginny Golden, Colin Williams and Jason Glover

Women Who Code

AKQA’s Portland studio opened its doors for a networking night in partnership with Women Who Code. AKQA Creative Developer Kathryn Webb shared an engaging presentation on her career evolution. Kathryn discussed her journey from education to employment, and shared key take-aways and lessons learnt along the way.

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Bea Johnson

AKQA Insight with Bea Johnson

AKQA’s London studio was joined by Bea Johnson, author of the best-selling book and blog, Zero Waste Home – the story of how, since 2008, Bea innovated and adopted a Zero Waste lifestyle for herself and her family. Bea shared the life-changing effects of living simply with the AKQA team and clients.

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Miriam Healy

Berlin Hosts TECH.Insight

Last week TECH.insight returned to AKQA’s Berlin studio for a sold-out event titled ‘Blockchains for a New Economy’ hosted by Executive Director, Delivery & Operations Miriam Healy.

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Michelle Lassman

CreativeWorks Panel

Group Creative Director Michelle Lassman participated in a Creativeworks panel hosted by Workfront. This interactive luncheon for marketing and agency leaders was an exclusive two-hour event featuring an expert panel and an open room discussion.

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Miriam Healy

Diversity Welcome

AKQA Executive Director, Technology and Delivery Miriam Healy explains the importance placed on creating an even gender balance within the studio and helping to achieve this through recruiting talented female developers from countries such as Ukraine and Russia.

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Karen Civil

AKQA Insight with Karen Civil

AKQA hosted social media guru Karen Civil for an AKQA Insight in the San Francisco studio. Karen shared her entrepreneurial story and answered questions from the team and clients.

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Rachel Barek

New Client Trends

AKQA General Manager Rachel Barek joined a panel this week titled ‘The Client Trends Defining Agency New Business’ at Mirren Live New York, a business conference focused on driving agency growth.

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Aivory Gaw and Kathryn Webb

WPP StellaIgnite Show: Technology

WPPStella hosted its second annual Ignite Show at Google’s Town Hall in London. AKQA Associate Planning Director Aivory Gaw and Creative Developer Kathryn Webb were among the speakers given just four minutes to share their interpretation of the event’s overall theme: Technology.

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Richa Khandelwal

Women Who Code

AKQA’s Portland studio hosted Introduction to the Command Line, the first of many events in partnership with Women Who Code. Nike Technical Lead Richa Khandelwal led 30 women through the workshop with support from AKQA Director of Technical Operations Edd Bignell.

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International Women’s Day

Be Bold For Change

On International Women’s Day this Wednesday, the AKQA team and clients welcomed writer and comedian Viv Groskop; author Emma Gannon and four-time ParalympicsGB sailor Hannah Stodel to an AKQA Insight hosted in London and screened across the global AKQA network.

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Kathryn Webb

Artificial Intelligence and Copywriting

This week, AKQA AI Practice Lead Kathryn Webb spoke with Adweek about AI’s ability to learn mass amounts of information, giving it a unique advantage when it comes to copywriting.

Kathryn says copywriters shouldn’t view AI as a threat but rather a “member of the creative team” that can provide a diverse viewpoint and maybe even take on some of the more humdrum work that’s not exactly exciting or challenging.

She continues, “I think it actually frees up copywriters to tackle more difficult copywriting tasks,” said Webb. She continued, saying that human-driven copywriting may even increasingly become a “premium product” that marketers seek out for higher-level tasks.