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, people of colour and under-represented groups.
We recognise a series of actions needs to be taken to advance equity, equality, representation, and actively address any issues faced that may hinder career growth, promotion and retention. 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 and people of colour into senior positions. AKQA's data from April 2018 for the gender pay gap can be read here.
This work to actively highlight role models and encourage our people to progress into leadership roles is ongoing, and includes the stories below.
Brand experience in a post-pandemic world
Experience Designer, Jiapeng Song and Head of Technology, Steven Gutteridge, speak to Muse about emerging from the pandemic stronger. They Explain: “It’s the most trying of circumstances which create the most interesting outcomes.”
Danish Digital Awards
Strategy Director, Miriam Plon Sauer and Client Service Director, Mads Fuhr, were part of the Danish Digital Award’s jury, which highlights the most inspiring and effective digital work. Mads is one of the founding forces of the award show and part of the advisory board.
BIMA 100 Rising Star
Every year BIMA launches its search for the 100 most pioneering people in the digital/tech industry. Strategist, Rosie Cross, has been featured on the list as a Rising Star. Celebrating future leaders earmarked for success because of the influence their ideas are having.
What the West can learn from China
Managing Directors, Alisia Muscat and Sam Sterling swap stories and strategies about dealing with COVID-19 and what the West can learn from China. Sam Sterling said: “We chose to look to where we want to be and navigate towards that, so our decisions were made in that light.”
Miriam Plon Sauer joins Denmark’s leadership team
Joining AKQA as Executive Strategy Director 15 months ago, Miriam Plon Sauer has recently been promoted to General Manager of our Denmark studio. Previously, Miriam has been working across the Danish agency business for more than 14 years in various strategic roles. On her appointment, Miriam said: “I’m so happy to be given the opportunity to help progress AKQA further.”
Johnny Budden promoted to Executive Creative Director
Having spent nearly a decade with AKQA, Johnny’s roles have spanned Artistic Director to Group Creative Director. He has played a vital role in cultivating the strategies of the world’s best brands. In his new position, working alongside Map and Universal, Johnny’s work will unite physical and digital worlds to enhance lives across service, product and architecture.
How to succeed with creative tech
Group Creative Director, Resh Sidhu, spoke with The Drum during their Digital Transformation Festival, about the tools creatives are using to create success in today’s market. On augmented reality, Resh said: “AR offers unique and immersive digital experiences, and engages consumers in a memorable way.”
The origin story of the Adman
General Manager, Miriam Plon Sauer, speaks to Unfold about changing the destructive self-narrative of the PR and comms industry. Miriam said: “I have so much faith in the younger generation to push us to try harder. But are we going to wait for them to push us, or are we going to do something ourselves?”
Simplicity amidst surplus
Managing Director, Ron Peterson was invited to present at the Sophus3 Automotive Digital Summit. Ron explored how world-leading organisations are navigating seismic shifts through the application of three core principles: Simplification, purpose-driven and unforgettable.
Women in transport
Managing Director, Sam Sterling was invited to feature on The Bond x Women In Transport panel, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Insights into the role of technology to meet transport customer demand were discussed, along with advances in facial recognition that will transform the way we move.
Applying a performance lens to branding
Managing Partner, Media, Scott Symonds spoke with AdExchanger about the importance of using digital to build brand and drive performance. Scott said: “If we can put a performance lens on branding, we can dig into the ROI, find the right engagement and verify an audience’s reaction”.
The value of diversity in design
Design Director, Ros Horner tells BandT why an hour in a government immigration office changed her outlook on design. Ros said: “Diverse teams enable us to get a variety of perspectives into the work, and along with solid research practices go a long way to creating more useful and usable products and services”.
D&AD Festival 2020
Chief Creative Officers Diego Machado and Hugo Veiga and Executive Creative Director Tim Devine have been selected to be part of this year’s D&AD Festival. Diego joins the panel as a judge nine years after receiving his first award. Hugo and Tim will be leading a discussion about Code of Conscience.
One Show China
Managing Director, Sam Sterling was invited by the One Show China to give a keynote about experience commerce in Shanghai. The talk covered how China is globally leading the way, and what brands should take into consideration when creating their own experiences.
The future of personalisation
AKQA and Amazon held thought leadership and networking sessions in Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney for clients, friends and partners. The event unpacked the trends, challenges and forecasts for ‘the future of personalisation’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.