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. Our parent company, WPP, is among the top 10 performers in the FTSE UK gender diversity report.
Our New York team has created When I’m With Her – exploring the many dimensions of the incredible women across the AKQA global network.
This work to actively highlight role models and encourage our people to progress into leadership roles is ongoing, and includes the stories below.
How I got here
Principal of Experience AKQA San Francisco Hillary Coe speaks about embedding experiences into life and work; her journey from climbing trees as a child to adventures in aerospace. On her leap to AKQA, Hillary said: “My role at AKQA is to think harder about these companies and what problems they are trying to solve.”
Campaign BIG Awards panel
The awards champion creativity and celebrate the best of British advertising, recognising groundbreaking work. President and CCO Grey London Laura Jordan-Bambach and Group Creative Director AKQA Jade Tomlin are joining the judging panel.
B&T Women Leading Tech Awards
Managing Director AKQA Australia and New Zealand Alisia Muscat hosted a panel while AKQA’s Camila Acosta, Engineering Lead was shortlisted in the engineering category, and Mel Huang received the highly commended award in the design category.
New Delivery Director appointed at Potato
Dan Dowden-Brown joins digital product studio Potato as Delivery Director for its US operation. Dan joins from AKQA where he was Delivery Director and part of the management team for five years. He brings a wealth of client experience to the team.
Grey Tokyo promotes Chief Creative Officer
Grey Tokyo has announced the appointment of Masanori Tagaya as Chief Creative Officer. Masanori said: “At a time like this when the world is keen on finding the true essence of our existence, I find it to be an extraordinary opportunity to dive in.”
Grey appoints Executive Creative Director
Grey UK has announced the appointment of Celeste Dalairac as Executive Creative Director. Celeste said: “I am honoured to have been tasked with helping the agency ensure it fosters the perfect environment for creative work and talented people to thrive.”
Mentoring emerging creatives
Laura Beretti, Richard Buchanen, Rosie Cross, Paul Ostryzniuk, Robbie Smith, Jacqui Sze and Yazminca Woodward are working with emerging creatives as part of D&AD New Blood Academy.
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.
Women in transport
Managing Director Sam Sterling featured on The Bond x Women In Transport panel. Insights into the role of technology to meet transport customer demand and advances in facial recognition were discussed.
One Show China
Managing Director Sam Sterling was invited by the One Show China to give a keynote about experience commerce in Shanghai. Covering how China is globally leading the way, and what brands should consider 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’.
AI will change civilisation
Our Copenhagen studio hosted the future of AI, led by head of emerging technologies Andy Hood and MD Steffen Otkjær. Andy examined the current potential and immediate future of AI, while Steffen explored the hypothesised singularity event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.