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Sweathead with Mark Pollard - A Strategy Podcast

Sweathead with Mark Pollard - A Strategy Podcast

By Mark Pollard
How do you get good at strategy? With over 700,000 listens, Sweathead tries to answer this question. Each episode helps thinkers realize they're not alone and that thinking takes practice. And, when your brain practices, it sweats. Hence, Sweathead. Hit SUBSCRIBE, tell your friends, and leave a kind rating. Real-time action is @markpollard.

You can find strategy classes and "Strategy Is Your Words" here:
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Sweathead with Mark Pollard - A Strategy Podcast

Moving Around The Agency World - Jess Mireau, Strategy Leader
What do different roles such as user experience designer, strategist, and managing director have in common - and what's the real work involved with doing these roles well? Jess Mireau is a strategy and agency leader. She started as an animator then she moved into user experience then strategy then strategy team leader then managing director. The last role she did in Hong Kong on behalf of her Brooklyn agency. In this interview, we discuss: - What these roles have in common - How to pay attention to what you're really interested in - The shift from user experience into strategy - Managing a new office in a foreign country - Mental health challenges  You can find Jess here  ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 29, 2020
Talking To People In Power - Vince Usher, Max Learmont
How do you get people with power to talk? Vince and Max host the podcast Son Of A Pitch from Sydney, Australia. Vince works as a strategist in advertising; Max used to. They've interviewed many agency leaders and we found ourselves discussing the power of naivety and dealing with power dynamics in interviews.  We also discuss: - Whether advertising is a compelling career - Making podcasts - Australian banter You can find the Son of a Pitch podcast here: Vince is here: Max is here:  ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 27, 2020
Why The Advertising Industry Needs You - Vanessa Toro, Group Strategy Director
If you wanted to tell the truth to a group of students eyeing advertising careers, what would you tell them? Vanessa Toro is Group Strategy Director at Digitas North America. She's based in Atlanta. She loves both her chosen city and her agency And, often, she loves her industry but she knows it can do better, especially for the new batch of students trying to get into it. In this interview, we discuss: - How advertising students want to change the advertising industry - Bringing who are to your day job - Her love of Atlanta You can find Vanessa here: ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 22, 2020
Life After A Strategy Career - Part 1 - Ian Crocombe, Jackie Crynes, Carlos Hermida
Strategists can take many shapes but what do those shapes look like outside of a full-time agency? This episode is from a livestream in the Sweathead Facebook group. It features Ian Crocombe, Jackie Crynes, and Carlos Hermida.  We discuss: - Things that make people leave agency life - What people hope to find after agency life - How "qualified" is "qualified enough" - Perceptions hirers have of agency people Ian Crocombe is based in London. From strategist to VP Innovation to CSO to finding his own shop to teaching and then working at Facebook, Ian is now on his newest venture of helping in-house teams build the next generation of performance brands. Find him here: Jackie Crynes is currently based in Arizona. She started out in strategy then moved client-side and is now back in a strategy role where she blends the worlds of digital, product and brand strategy to design meaningful experiences and drive business results. Find her here: Carlos Hermida is based in Colombia where he is now focused on advising entrepreneurs and startups. He has experience in marketing, strategy, branding and communications. Find him at his twitter account: ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 20, 2020
"I Don't Know Who I Am" - When An Advertising Career Loses Itself - Philip Slade
What happens when a creative career leads to a self-destructive life? Philip Slade went from Mac Operator at famed music magazine Smash Hits to art director at Saatchi & Saatchi then to creative director and planning director roles and, eventually, to managing partner of Crispin Porter + Bogusky London. But along the way he had to reckon with his relationship with drugs and alcohol and himself.  We discuss career mid-points, working in the London agency world in the 1980s, being adopted, and the difficult realities of decades spent making up stories. You can find Philip here: ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 15, 2020
Going Freelance - Where Is That Exactly? Part 2 - Tasha Prados, Lexie Perez, Greg Donnelly
What's it like to freelance? This episode is from a livestream in the Sweathead Facebook group. It features Tasha Prados, Lexie Perez, and Greg Donnelly. We discuss: - The mindset shift from being an employee to a freelancer - Working with agencies - Working with entrepreneurs - How jobs appear Tasha Prados is a multicultural strategist who's worked out of Washington, D.C. but was in Hanoi, Vietnam, during our chat. She has ten years of international project management, communications, and marketing experience with the world’s leading brands, publishers, and nonprofits Lexie Perez is a brand strategist in San Francisco and her credentials span across B2B and consumer tech, CPG, retail, and entertainment, fin tech - at both global and regional levels Greg Donnelly is a brand strategist in New York with experience in product marketing and creative strategy at global brands including Altria, Airbnb, and Google ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 13, 2020
From Social Strategy To "Strategy" Strategy - Blake Desormeaux, Strategist
How do you graduate from "doing social" to doing strategy? Blake is a digital strategist from New York who entered advertising after a brief flirtation with neuroscience.   In this episode, we discuss the  evolution made by many people who start out as social media workers. They go from trading on their youth and knowing the platforms because they use them to making recommendations not just because they get the platform but because they get people and business.    You can find Blake here ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 8, 2020
Planner Of The Year - Andy Nairn, CSO
How does the Strategic Planner of the Year think? Andy Nairn co-founded Lucky Generals in London seven years ago. The agency has grown to ninety people in London and now has twenty people in New York. Their work is consistently exceptional. Andy's contribution to it was acknowledged by Campaign when it named him Strategic Planner of the Year 2020. We discuss growing an agency from scratch, establishing a culture of effectiveness, seeking clients who are in search of dramatic change, and some of Andy's favorite work. You can find Andy here: ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 6, 2020
Taking Stances - Jenny Chang, Strategist
What does it feel like to take a stance about a difficult topic and to let it rip in public? Jenny Chang is a comet roaring through space–a comet that likes the wind in its face. That's how her prolific publishing feels. Only four years out of college, Jenny has dropped stances on the Cardi B and Mega Thee Stallion song "WAP", TikTok, and the stolen history of New York. She writes with a fire that might make you wonder, "Is advertising big enough for her?"   You can find Jenny and her writing here: ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
October 2, 2020
Am I Making Sense Yet? - Richard Huntington, Chairman and CSO
What if account planners get paid for their confusion and clarity is fleeting but just a bonus?   Richard Huntington is Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi London. He's also a writer of many classic account planning articles that you can find on his blog Adliterate  In this episode, we discuss the confusion and vagueness of the strategy career, the act of clarity, performing in front of people, being weird, and the intermittent value account planners provide.   You can find Richard on Twitter here: ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
September 29, 2020
Going Freelance - Where Is That Exactly? Part 1 - Colleen Berg, Lani Dourado, Willem van der Horst
How do you know you're ready to freelance and how do you make it work?  In this episode, we speak with Colleen Berg, Lani Dourado, and Willem van der Horst about what it means to freelance, the ups and downs, getting clients, and pricing.   Colleen Berg is based in Toronto and the Director of Strategic Insights in the Palmerston Group. She specializes as a human insight consultant and has over a decade of experience in the field.  Lani Dourado is a freelance brand strategist. She has worked with Virtue Worldwide, Supermachine and Alaffia.  Willem van der Horst is a brand strategy consultant based in Paris. He's worked with clients such as SC Johnson, P&G, and Toyota. Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
September 26, 2020
Discovering Yourself - If A Self Is A Thing
It’s been a minute but here’s a ramble from an Upper West Side bedroom about discovering yourself. PS My book just came out -
September 24, 2020
Opting Out To Opt Back In - Jennifer Ekeleme, Strategist
What if you know you have something to offer to the advertising industry but the advertising industry isn't set up for you?  Jennifer Ekeleme runs JennZen Co-Creation Studio. She is a brand and creative consultant as well as a diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitator.  In this episode, we discuss burn out in an early New York advertising career, depression, being a highly sensitive person, and jumping out of the industry so you can work out how to jump back in. You can find Jenn here ** Caveat: In this episode, we discuss depression. We try to make the point that everybody's experience with depression is personal and it is a complex condition with many strands. Please consult a professional if you're experiencing mental health challenges.    ** Find the book "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes at Sweathead here:
September 23, 2020
How Advertising Bro Culture Hurts Non-Bros - Megan Averell, Boss (Republish)
Megan and I had this chat in the middle of 2019. I'm republishing it along with other episodes that tackle difficult topics because 2020 seems to have woken up a lot of us. But there's still work to do.    Megan Averell runs The Insight Inn, a research and strategy consultancy. You can find her here "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes are now live at
August 21, 2020
Getting Interviewed When You’re A Background Player - Zac Martin, Strategist
Zac Martin is a senior planner at Ogilvy in Melbourne. We discuss getting. interviewed and being in the spotlight when you’re not used to it and how Australian culture is suspicious of it.  You can find Zac here:  "Strategy Is Your Words" and 100 strategy classes are now live at
August 20, 2020
Get In Where You Fit In (Or Make A Thing To Fit You) - Zoe Scaman, Strategist (Republished)
Over the summer, I'm going to republish a few episodes from over a year ago. This one features Zoe Scaman. It's direct, honest, and vulnerable, and delves into the challenges many creative minds face as they try to fit into themselves and then the advertising industry. You can find Zoe here: Sweathead strategy classes are now in session:
August 6, 2020
The Soft Skills Of Brand Strategy - Stef Hamerlinck
Stef Hamerlinck runs the podcast Let's Talk Branding in which Stef publicly documents his own journey to learning about brand strategy in a deeper way while coming from a design background. In this chat, we discuss Belgium and the soft skills that help brand strategy happen.  You can find Stef here and Let's Talk Branding here: Sweathead strategy class is in session:
July 27, 2020
What's Happening To My Career? - Colin Lewis, CMO
Recently in Marketing Week, Colin Lewis wrote, "Careers won’t pick up where they left off." Colin believes the recruitment process is broken, age discrimination will continue to rise, employers talk soft skills but buy hard skills, and job stability is a myth. Colin is CMO of OpenJaw in Dublin and organizer of Ireland's largest marketing event DMX. You can find Colin here: You can read a new piece "Seven tried and tested strategies for getting back into work" by Colin here: * This episode was recorded as a livestream in Sweathead on Facebook on May 8, 2020.  Sweathead strategy class is in session:
July 22, 2020
Strategizing While Black - Melle Hock, Strategy Boss (Republished)
Melle and I recorded this interview almost a year ago to the day. Having briefly worked with Melle, I can say that she is a powerful force, deeply compassionate, and excellent at what she does.  We hadn't had many direct conversations about what it was like to be a Black strategist in America while we were working together. I'm republishing this because I'm hoping it can give more of you insight into what it's been like for the few who've been able to get the title and then stuck around despite not seeing many people ahead of them like them and despite the treatment. You can find Melle here: You can find Art Noir here:
July 2, 2020
How Do You Do Good Creative Work In America? - Jon Haber, Co-founder
Jon Haber is Co-founder of Giant Spoon, a well respected, fully integrated agency based in Los Angeles. We discuss how Giant Spoon goes about its award-winning work and how to stay active during quarantine. This interview was recorded in April 2020. You can find Jon here Sweathead strategy class is in session:
June 30, 2020
Find Your Place In Advertising - Lizi Hamer, Creative Leader
Lizi Hamer is Regional Creative Director at Octagon in Singapore, where she also runs SheSays. She's appeared on the television show Gruen Transfer, she's been listed in the Top 20 Women in Asia to watch, and she's met Jurgen Klopp, the coach of Liverpool Football Club.  Lizi and I worked together at McCann in Sydney ten years ago. And, since that time, a lot has changed in the advertising industry but ... not enough. So, in this episode, we discuss what it's like to try to find a place in advertising while trying to open doors for others.  You can find Lizi here Sweathead strategy class is in session:
June 26, 2020
How Strategists’ Attitudes Mature Over Time - Will Humphrey, Strategy Director
Will Humphrey is Strategy Director at Wunderman Thompson in London. He grew up in an advertising family and he’s worked in a variety of agencies with various focuses - from advertising to PR. In this episode, we discuss how many strategists mature over time. You can find Will here Strategy class is in session:
June 23, 2020
Helping Clients Through Crisis - Rachel Mercer, Strategy Head
Rachel Mercer is Head of Strategy at R/GA New York. About one month into New York getting closed down (April 2020), we spoke about what it was like to try to help an agency and its clients deal with COVID-19. And all this after Rachel and her husband had to get off one plane and return to America on another plane before all the borders closed. You can find Rachel here when she's not playing Words With Friends with me or letting me make fun of her workaholism. * This interview was live-streamed to the Sweathead Facebook Group on April 25, 2020 - about 6 weeks into New York being locked down. Sweathead strategy class is in session:
June 19, 2020
Moving Into A Strategy Role From Inside An Agency - Sheldon Tarpey, Strategist
Sheldon Tarpey is a strategist at McCann in Birmingham in England. In this episode, we discuss how Sheldon made his way into a strategy role from inside McCann. And we discuss the importance of problems as well as the scene in Birmingham. You can find Sheldon here Strategy class is in session:
June 17, 2020
The Urge To Make - Ani Acopian, Conceptual Artist
Ani Acopian makes. She makes ideas that use all their might to capture the attention of the Internet. From Amazon Dating (a website where you can shop for a date), Scrubhub (Pornhub but for cleaning your hands), an 18-hole mini golf course that can fit in a tiny backyard, and some sweet video direction for companies like AWAL. In my plea to strategists to make - and not just think, I wanted to talk with Ani about what gets her mind going. We recorded this as a livestream on 13 May, 2020. There was a little lag which is why, every now and then, we speak over each other. But it’s still worth a listen. You can find Ani here Sweathead strategy class is in session:
June 15, 2020
What A Really Creative Culture Sounds Like - Ben Liebmann, Noma COO
Noma is one of the world's most famous restaurants. Based in Copenhagen and founded by René Redzepi, creativity is at the heart of Noma's ethos - in words and in action.  Ben Liebmann is the Chief Operating Office of Noma. In this discussion, Ben breaks down the beliefs that form the culture of Noma. It's an incredibly uplifting conversation, and a conversation that many agencies in the world would do well to study and emulate. This interview was record on 20 May, 2020, the day before Noma re-opened after Copenhagen closed due to COVID-19. You can find Ben here: Sweathead strategy class is in session:
June 11, 2020
Antiracism Is The Start - Walk And Talk, Central Park
A brief word about race and the recent energy of the Sweathead Facebook group. Thank you to everyone who’s been teaching the community and me about the history and the present. This week, we’ll launch a small research project to identify ways in which Sweathead can take and show more initiative in addressing inequities and abuses of people in the advertising industry and, especially of the black, indigenous, and people-of-color populations in and around the American advertising industry.
June 9, 2020
Young, Broke, And Hungry - The Advertising Industry And Its Juniors - Mickey Jones, Copywriter
Mickey Jones is a graduate from the University of Lincoln. Like many of her peers, she's trying to get into the advertising industry. In England, this can mean trying to get a job in London. But, before you can move to London, you need to be able to afford to visit it and stay in it to meet possible hirers. You also need to get on their radars. London is no mean feat if you didn't go to the right schools or grow up with the right connections.  In this episode, we discuss the challenges facing juniors outside of power. Mickey wrote about this in an article "Young, Broke & Hungry: How Can Advertising Improve the Way It Recruits Juniors after Covid-19?". Listen to our chat then read Mickey's article and share her writing. P.S. There is some construction noise in the background in parts of this interview. You can read Mickey's article here: You can find Mickey here Sweathead strategy class is in session:
May 29, 2020
Practicing Insights With Movies - Charlie Quirk, Strategist
Charlie Quirk is a strategist at Google in San Francisco. Recently, he published a deck that looked at 50 movies as a way to practice insights.  You can find the deck here: Charlie is here: Sweathead strategy class is in session
May 27, 2020
“Right” Isn’t Useful - Walk And Talk, Central Park
Summer Camp!
May 25, 2020
Planning In Paris - Sebastien Genty, Strategy Boss
Sabastien Genty is Head of Strategic Planning at DDB in Paris. Recently, he cofounded CPS, an organization to support planning and planners (but not just planners) in Paris. In this chat, we discuss what planning is like in Paris and the work of CPS. You can find Sabastien here - the CPS is here: Sweathead strategy class is in session:
May 23, 2020
5 Tech Trends That Interest Gracie Page, Emerging Tech Director
Gracie Page is Director of Emerging Technology at VMLY&R in London. In this episode, we discuss five technology trends that Gracie is currently studying - augmented reality, just walkout technology, voice, visual search, and gaming. Oh, and Gracie's mean knitting tech stack. You can find Gracie here: Sweathead class is in session
May 20, 2020
Employee Engagement And Employer Brand Strategy - Rhiannon Stroud, Strategy Boss
Rhiannon Stroud is Head of Strategy at McCann Synergy in Bristol. She works with companies on how they interact with their employees. It's an interesting field to work in, a field we don't hear much about because... no Superbowl ads. It can be a very meaningful field, too. We discuss all these things. You can find Rhiannon here Sweathead strategy class is in session:
May 18, 2020
All Of Your Experience Is Valuable - Simeon Coker, Creative Consultant
Simeon Coker is a Creative Director. He also makes a podcast called Mixed Company. A big part of Simeon's work is helping brands and agencies make creative work that is inclusive and that doesn't offend people with stereotypes. We discuss the business benefits and politics of inclusive work. You can find Simeon here  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
May 14, 2020
A Little Shit On The Internet - @Femalcopywriter
@Femalcopywriter is an anonymous Internet presence. It’s funny. The person who writes it is funny. And, in this episode, we talk about what’s funny about advertising. But we also discuss some serious issues including sexual assault. @Femalcopywriter’s voice has been altered. Female Copywriter is here Strategy class is in session
May 12, 2020
Healthcare Planning Through COVID-19 - Eric L Hu, Strategist
Eric L Hu is VP Strategy and Customer Experience at H4B Chelsea, a healthcare agency that's part of Havas. In this episode, we discuss what strategy work is in healthcare and what clients are asking of their agencies right now. You can find Eric here and here: Sweathead strategy school is in session:
May 11, 2020
Applying Football Strategy Concepts To Non-Football Strategy - Alex Stewart, Strategist
Alex Stewart is a Senior Content Strategist at The Athletic, which recently acquired Tifo Football. Tifo Football is a football/soccer channel for nerds. It painstakingly breaks down football tactics, history, and business. In this chat, we go through some of the better known ways to approach strategy on a football field and try to make sense of them off the field.   You can find Alex here: You can find Tifo Football here: Sweathead strategy class is in session:
May 8, 2020
Real Agency Salaries - Cole Habersham
Cole Habersham is an account manager at Droga5 in New York. In late 2019, he published a spreadsheet asking for people to anonymously share their salaries so that he could help friends work out their worth. Not their worth as humans but as salaries. You know what I mean.  This is the story of how it all happened. You can find Real Agency Salaries You can find Cole here: Strategy class is in session:
May 7, 2020
The Full-time Freelance Creative Life - Rebecca Rowntree, Creative Director
Rebecca Rowntree hosts the podcast This Way Up and is a freelance Creative Director. She's judged D&AD and Cannes. She's worked at BBDO, R/GA, and The Elephant Room. And, at the time we spoke back in March, Rebecca was contemplating her freelance life. So that's what we discussed. You can find Rebecca And here * This episode was recorded on March 12, 2020, the day NYC started locking down but still early days for COVID-19 here. And, yes, my voice sounds like that because maybe I had it. Sweathead strategy classes are now in session:
May 5, 2020
When Creatives And Strategists Can Work Together - Greg Hahn, CCO
Greg Hahn is one of the world's most prolific and best known creative leaders. Chances are that if you've lived in America–yet alone worked in the advertising industry here–you've seen his work. Or his team's work. Greg started at Fallon in Minneapolis then moved to BBDO in New York where he rose to Chief Creative Officer. He spent fourteen years at BBDO. But he's not there now. In this interview, we discuss how Greg is thinking through his future, how strategists and creatives can work better together, work and identity, as well as simpler stuff like, "What makes a portfolio good?". You can find Greg here The LinkedIn post we reference is here: Sweathead strategy school is in session:
May 1, 2020
How Much Can You Learn In 100 Days Of Strategy Training? - Strategy Summer Camp Starts May 4
Join hundreds of strategists from around the world as a Founding Member of Sweathead. You'll get access to the Sweathead Strategy Summer Camp. It will be weird.
April 29, 2020
How To Help Marketers Battle Fear During COVID-19 - Nathan Young, Strategist
Nathan Young is Group Strategy Director at Periscope in Minneapolis. Like the rest of us, he used to make a rap blog and, like the rest of us who've made rap blogs, at some point Nathann realized he had bills to pay. So again, like the rest of us who've faced these turbulent rap blog decisions, he moved into advertising. In this chat, we discuss research that he and his team at Periscope have just published. It focuses on COVID-19 and how America is feeling about it and responding to it. It also covers Periscope's POV on how to help marketers right now. Yes, we discuss rap and #BlackAF. You can find the Periscope team's research here You can find Nathan here You can join the Sweathead strategy school here:
April 28, 2020
Collecting The World's COVID-19 Reports In One Place - Ci En Lee, Strategist
Ci En Lee is a media strategist at PHD Media in Singapore. With the help of friends, Lee has been gathering reports about COVID-19 and storing them in a Google Drive for others to access. He first started coming across reports in group chat with friends in China. We discuss how these reports have worked their way around China and then what's stuck with him having read many of them.  You can find Ci En Lee here: You can find his round-up of COVID-19 reports here: Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 25, 2020
Solutions Or Self-Righteousness? - Tom Goodwin, Writer
Tom Goodwin is Head of Futures at Publicis. We live-streamed this chat into Sweathead on Facebook on Saturday, 11 April, 2020.  We mostly discuss sharing ideas in public - the privilege that often enables it, the perils of doing it, and what the point of it is anyway.  You can find Tom here:  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 24, 2020
What If You Could Make An Agency From Scratch? - Lucy Jameson, Uncommon
Lucy Jameson has had massive roles - CEO, CSO, and ESD. And she's had these roles at massive London agencies - Grey and DDB. But, despite these massive roles in these massive places, in 2017 she founded Uncommon with Nils Leonard and Natalie Graeme. In this interview, we discuss the different ways creative agencies can make money and what really matters once you're out of the holding company beast if you want to create an agency that is both profitable and constantly doing good work.   You can find Lucy here: You can find Uncommon here: For COVID-19 context, this interview was recorded on March 13, 2020. Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 23, 2020
You. Are. Allowed. Your. Emotions.
In this episode, I run through what strategists are sharing about their lives and emotions in the Sweathead Facebook group.  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 21, 2020
The Bedhead Edition - Quarantine Dreams
@ me -> Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 17, 2020
Marketers Are The Frontline Of Creativity In Business - Josh Dean, CMO
This might surprise some of you but there are experienced marketers out there who really love creativity. Josh Dean is one of them.  He's been the CMO at S'well (post-plastic bottles and containers), he's CMO'd Tommy John, he had a ten-year stint at Unilever, and he was VP of Brand Communications at Chobani.   I've sat in meeting rooms with him wondering, "What's he doing here?" I've wondered that because the wrestle with Josh is usually over ideas - to get to better ideas, instead of wrestling a marketer into believing in ideas. And this is what we discuss.  You can find Josh here  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 16, 2020
Covering Advertising - Tim Burrowes, Media Mogul
Tim Burrowes is an editor, a journalist, and an entrepreneur. Having helped to launch Campaign in the Middle East and edited B&T in Sydney, Tim co-founded Mumbrella in 2008. Chances are that if you work in marketing, media, or advertising in Australia, you know Tim.  In this chat, we discuss what it's like to be a journalist covering the advertising industry, how trade publications choose their stories, as well as why and how Tim started Mumbrella. You can find Mumbrella here *For COVID-19 context, this episode was recorded on March 8, 2020. Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 15, 2020
Tell Me The Truth - Derek Walker, Agency Boss
Derek Walker runs Brown & Browner Advertising. He enjoys cooking, writing, and taking public pot-shots at the things in the advertising industry that don't make sense. We've spoken on Sweathead before but I wanted to speak to Derek about what's happening right now.  *For COVID-19 context, we live-streamed this to the Sweathead Facebook Group on March 31, 2020 You can find Derek here: Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 14, 2020
Winning Too Many Strategy Awards - Christina Aventi, Strategy Boss
Christina Aventi is Executive Planning Director at BMF Australia. She's probably won more strategy awards than you've had strategy dreams. We discuss her approach to strategy.  You can find Christina here:  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 11, 2020
Strategists Who Bring Together Strategists (Plus Ideas From A COVID-19 Workshop) - Tina Yip, Darien LaBeach, strtgst
Tina Yip and Darien LaBeach (with many friends) run strtgst, a community that brings together strategy folk to learn together. By day, Tina is Director of Marketing & Culture at Berlin Cameron in Manhattan, and Darien is Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy at Huge in Brooklyn.  This is an edited chat from a livestream to the Sweathead Facebook group (streamed Wednesday, 25 March 2020). We discuss what they've been up to with srtgst, what they're hearing from their own communities, and we run through a COVID-19 workshop they ran.     strtgst:  Tina   Darien    Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 9, 2020
Minneapolis And Teaching Advertising There - Mark Jenson, Lecturer & Consultant
Mark Jenson has worked in advertising for over three decades. Currently, he is a brand consultant and also a lecturer at the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In this episode, we discuss Minneapolis - the culture, the advertising scene - as well as how Mark approaches the teaching of advertising. You can find Mark here * This was recorded P.C. (Pre-COVID-19) Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 7, 2020
Industry Secrets - Mara Lecocq, Fishbowl
Mara Lecocq is Brand and Community Director at Fishbowl, a semi-anonymous platform for people in industries such as ours to ask each other difficult questions. In this episode, we discuss what people in advertising talk about in public when people can't identify who's doing the talking. We live-streamed this to Sweathead on Facebook, hence the references to “watching” and “seeing”.  You can find Mara here  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 4, 2020
Portfolio Review - Payal Pereira, Strategy Student at VCU
Payal Pereira is studying strategy at VCU Brand Center. We met in Bombay, India, last year but I came across her portfolio again in a spreadsheet compiled by Aisha Hakim. In this spreadsheet are over 300 people hoping someone with industry experience with review their portfolios. Payal's portfolio and the way she expresses her strategic thinking stood out to me. So, we decided to talk through her portfolio in public. You can find Payal here: Her Swatch case study is here: Aisha Hakim's spreadsheet is here: Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 3, 2020
Thinking In Systems - Noah Brier, Founder
Noah Brier is Co-Founder of Variance, a relatively new company looking to help people work better together. His last venture was Percolate, a content marketing platform many of you will be familiar with. But these companies came after years in agencies such as Naked and Barbarian Group. In this episode, we discuss the shift from "coming up with things" to "coming up with systems for other people's things".  You can find Noah here: You can find Variance here: Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
April 2, 2020
Philosophy for WTF? - Rob Estreitinho, Salmon Theory
Rob Estreitinho is a strategist at VCCP in London and he helps make strategy get-together machine Group Think happen. He also publishes Salmon Theory in which he discusses ways of seeing the world, often with a nod to working in advertising. We live-streamed this chat last week right into Sweathead on Facebook. Now it's here ... for your ears. You can find Rob here Salmon Theory is here Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
March 30, 2020
How Money Works In Agencies - Darren Woolley, Trinity P3
Darren Woolley is Co-founder and CEO of Trinity P3. He spent 15 years as a copywriter including working as a Creative Director at JWT. Then he decided to help marketers make smarter decisions with their marketing. A big part of his work focuses on helping marketers hire agencies and fix relationships with their existing agencies. In this chat, we ask whether procurement or pitch consultants have hurt the industry the most, how agencies make money from employee salaries, as well as different ways agencies can charge for their work. You can find Darren's company and articles here: And his LinkedIn here:  Sweathead strategy classes are in session:
March 26, 2020
Hey, Advertising Industry, Open Up! - Mary Buzbee, Creative
Mary Buzbee is a creative at Lewis Communications in Birmingham, Alabama. Recently, she published an article about classism in advertising and how it prevents people who could work in advertising and who want to from doing so. And this is what we discuss. You can read Mary's article here: You can find her here: (One correction, I mention Recurse Nation and how it's now called Hacker School - I meant it the other way around) For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 10,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 25, 2020
Understanding the World Around You - Leo Nguyen, Strategist
Leo Nguyen is a strategist at Stink Studios in Brooklyn. He grew up in Portland, he graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015, he interned in Singapore, and he's wrestled with what it means to be American in a family that's from somewhere else. Initially, we intended to talk about the BBH Griffin Farley program but Leo talked about so much more and mesmerized me with how articulate he is. So, we talked about a lot more. You can find Leo here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 24, 2020
Your Work Life, Strategy Exercises, And Questions - Sit And Talk, New York
In this episode, I share some thoughts about the past couple of weeks, some real talk from a recent Instagram story about your work life and WHAT ARE YOU DOING, as well as run you through 10 strategy exercises and answer a bunch of questions. Thanks for hanging out with me. You can find 10+ hours of training videos here for the next week or two:
March 21, 2020
Trying To Feel Better About Yourself, Your Life, And Your Work - Amy Charlotte Kean, Director of Innovation
Amy Charlotte Kean is Director of Innovation at &us in the UK. She's led teams in the UK and throughout Asia. But we don't talk too much about this. Instead, we discuss Amy's book "The Little Girl Who Gave Zero F**ks", her article on mental health "Don't Tell Me To Talk, Teach Me To Listen", and DICE - her attempt to improve the diversity of industry panels. You can find Amy here: P.S. This was recorded before COVID-19 arrived in a big way in the UK so our discussion about going out after the interview was not about going out in spite of COVID-19. For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 10,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 18, 2020
Insights In Everyday Life - Gregory Duquesne, Strategy Head
Gregory Duquesne leads planning at M&CSAATCHI.GAD in Paris having been Managing Partner of Naked. He published a book called "Oeil Neuf" a few years ago in which he demonstrates how a planner's fresh eyes can apply critical thinking to questions such as "Why don't we pay attention to fire extinguishers even though they are red and very visible?", "Why do some people have more luck than others?", and "Why do students do better when they like their professors?"  You can find Greg here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 10,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 18, 2020
Fix Your Script - Finding Your Way Into Advertising Using Your Stories - Jani Westcott, Brand Strategist
Jani Westcott is a planner who plans to help more people get into planning by giving them new ways to see themselves and to speak about themselves. Essentially, she plans planners. Truth be told, she does this mentoring work with people who aren't just looking to get into planning but into the advertising industry as a whole and she focuses her work on helping women and people of color. In this conversation, we hear how Jani works with people to help them understand the power of their experiences while also helping them navigate an industry that has overlooked them for too long. You can find Jani here: For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 16, 2020
8 Strategy Minds Discuss COVID-19 - Sweathead Check-In
Natalie Burns - Brighton, UK Annalie Killian - New York, USA Sheldon Lawrence Tarpey - Birmingham, UK Jesse Alleva - Alaska, USA Siddharth Seth - Chicago, USA Alexandra Suarez - Puerto Rico Dillon Key - Arkansas, USA Join 9,000+ strategists:
March 14, 2020
Marketing In Turbulent Times - Bruce Clark, Northeastern University
Bruce Clark is Associate Professor of Marketing at Northeastern University in the D'Amore-McKim School of Business. This chat happened today - Friday, March 13 - and is unedited. In it, we discuss how COVID-19 has affected the teaching and learning of marketing, what marketing students need to learn, and what marketers might do well to contemplate in these turbulent times. You can find Bruce here: You can read his article "What's a 'Marketing Plan'?" here: For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 13, 2020
Finding Your Strategy People - James Lees, Group Think
James Lees is a strategist and a co-founder of Group Think in London. With over 1,000 members, Group Think brings together strategy-inclined folk several times each month to learn and to hang out. They even trialled a space for strategists to work together inside a co-working location. In this chat, we discuss how Group Think approaches its events and the topics that are on people's minds right now. You can find James here and Group Think here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 12, 2020
Introducing Strategists Into A Growing Company - David Navarro, ECD
David Navarro is Executive Creative Director at Ueno in New York. He's spent swathes of his career working websites and digital products, and he's done this in Spain, the Netherlands, and the USA. And while we could have spoken about all the incredible work he's done, we decided to discuss how companies new to strategists can help strategists succeed. (PS I said GFC = Global Financial Crash but it’s Global Financial Crisis) You can find David here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 10, 2020
Becoming Who You Are (Despite And Because Of The Industry) - Genie Gurnani, Creative Head
Genie Gurnani is Head of Creative, Asia-Pacific, at Vice Media. Genie grew up near Yosemite National Park, a relatively isolated part of the States before then attending UC Berkeley and VCU Brandcenter, and working in agencies such as David&Goliath, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and Leo Burnett. In this chat, we discuss Genie's push from a small town to elite schools, from planning to creative, from the US to Asia, and from behind the camera to in front of it.  This episode is for everyone who's been told to bring themselves to work but doesn't know what this means, and for anyone who feels they have to leave a huge chunk of themselves at home every day.   You can find Genie here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 9, 2020
That Strategy Career Trajectory - How Did You Do That? - Cristina Pansolini, Strategy Lead
In my first summer in New York, Cristina Pansolini interned with me and a small new-age strategy clique at Saatchi & Saatchi. She was astute, competitive, and very capable. These traits have taken her into fulltime roles at Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden + Kennedy, and McCann. She's had quite the career trajectory. Now, she leads strategy at Sylvain Labs and applies her strategy skills to different kinds of clients problems.  You can find Cristina here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 6, 2020
Is Creativity In Media Agencies Even A Thing? - Tristan Burrell, CSO
Tristan Burrell is Chief Strategy Officer at Vizeum in Sydney, Australia. Whenever I've worked with media agencies, there's an echo of my experience working with Tristan in my desires for each media plan but often the desires go unmet. In this episode, we discuss how Tristan landed a creative role inside a media agency, the impressive cast of characters he grew up around at Universal McCann, winning a Cannes Young Lions trophy, his jaunt in New York, as well as his return to Sydney and his new movie podcast Double Impact. You can find Tristan here: For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out soon
March 4, 2020
Developing A Portfolio Career - Marcus Collins, Marketing Lecturer
Marcus Collins is a marketing lecturer at the University of Michigan's The Ross School of Business. He used to write love songs for a living. He's worked at Translation and Doner, he's run digital strategy for record labels (including for Beyoncé) and he's taught at NYU, General Assembly, and Miami Ad School. In this episode, we discuss the idea of a portfolio career and having multiple dreams of income. You can find Marcus here: For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out in soon
March 3, 2020
Strategy Fundamentals Plus Biggie Or Tupac? - Walk And Talk, Central Park
I took about 20 of your questions for a walk after pilates. Now my mind feels like my body. Thank you.
February 29, 2020
Strategy At Pace: 10 Ideas To Help You Work Faster - Nick Ellis, Paul Bailey
Nick Ellis is cofounder of Bristol agency Halo. Paul Bailey is Halo's strategy director. In this episode, we discuss what it takes to do strategy at pace because, well, that's how most strategy needs to happen these days. And we arrive at a list of 10 - let's call it 11 - ideas that will help you in your day job. You can find Nick here Paul here Halo here For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out in soon
February 27, 2020
Griffin Farley's Beautiful Minds Program At BBH in NYC - Haley Gordon, Strategist
Haley Gordon is a strategist at BBH in Los Angeles. Part of her attempts to work her way into a strategy role involved attending the BBH Beautiful Minds program, named in honor of a man a lot of us knew for his writing and generous teaching spirit, Griffin Farley. In this chat, we discuss Haley's attempts to get into strategy and her experience in this weekend-long, competitive bootcamp. You can find Haley here And Griffin Farley's Beautiful Minds program here: For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out in soon
February 26, 2020
Loud Mind, Quiet Voice - Sai He, Copywriter & Dong Draper
Sai He is a copywriter and runs the hilarious social media presence Dong Draper. He thinks he’s one of the most introverted people in the industry. I have a hunch a few listeners might contest this claim. Either way, Sai is prolific and still finding his feet in the industry. My question to him: What are you going to do after this industry? You can find Sai here Dong Draper on Twitter here Dong Draper on Instagram here You can find Mark here And details for The Strategy Megaclass here
February 25, 2020
Communications Planning Basics - Julian Cole, Strategy Consultant
Julian and I have just launched Season 2 of The Strategy Megaclass. It's called F**k Yeah Rainbow Cannons. And it's coming to NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle in March and April. It's a full day of strategy training covering words, briefs, ideas, and strategy frameworks. Details and tickets are here We thought we'd use the occasion to talk through some work by S'well, Burger King and ClassPass, as well as discuss strategy practice work that Harriet (@minimalstrat), Bram Draaijer (@DraaijerB), and Sanika Tilway (@tillwaytweets) have posted on Twitter to #ShowYourStrategy. Hannah Molly Baker's ClassPass case study Harriet - Selling fountain pens to office workers Dram - Selling wall paint to new house owners Sanika - Selling speed dating to introverts The Strategy Megaclass -> Julian Mark
February 24, 2020
Writing Copy, Writing A Book - Clare Barry, Writer
Clare Barry is a copywriter from Liverpool, England. She struck Internet gold with an article titled "Everyone’s a copywriter. Right?" in which she captured the frustrations of many of her peers. Now, she's back in the mines again. This time she's writing a book in public and on the road. It's called "Drink. Smoke. Swear." It's going to be like "Eat Pray Love" but Clare. You can find Clare here and here You can find her article "Everyone’s a copywriter. Right?" here: You can find Mark here: And new dates for The Strategy Megaclass here:
February 21, 2020
Creating A Thriving Creative Department - Justine Armour, CCO
Justine Armour started as the Chief Creative Officer of Grey New York this week. Big job, big city, big ambitions. In this episode, we discuss the journey from doing the work to helping others do the work. We touch on missteps along the way, as well as ideas that can help people doing creative work do better creative work.  You can find Justine here: You can find Mark here: New dates for The Strategy Megaclass are here:
February 19, 2020
Staging A Creative Comeback - Stephanie Matthews, Creative Equals
Stephanie Matthews is Partnerships Director at Creative Equals where she is currently launching the next series of their Creative Comeback Returners Programme. The programme is a two-week bootcamp for people who've worked in the advertising industry but have had a prolonged period away from it and now need a hand to get back in. It involves training as well as working on a real creative brief. Some participants may also get the opportunity to do a mini-internship.   Details about the Creative Comeback Returners Programme are here You can find Stephanie here You can find Creative Equals here And here's an article Stephanie wrote about the power of businesses with diverse employee populations which cites the McKinsey research she mentions in the interview:  For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 8,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out in soon
February 17, 2020
In Love With Independence - Claire Joly, Strategist
Claire is a strategist in Paris. We met at an impromptu strategy get-together in Paris a couple of weeks. It was organized by M&C Saatchi Head of Planning Gregory Duquesne. Having been fortunate enough to hang out with and enjoy long conversations with strategists around the world, I've realized these are some of my favorite conversations and that many of the non-strategy topics we discuss are echoing across borders and continents. This is also why I want to do a better job of sharing these non-strategy topics.  So, today, almost live and unedited, Claire discusses feminism, romance, singledom, and what it means to be and feel independent in one of the most romantic cultures and cities in the world. You can find Claire here: I'm here:
February 15, 2020
The Power Of Outsider Thinking - Tamer Kattan, Comedian and Strategist
Tamer Kattan is a stand-up comedian who's plied his strategy trade at 72andSunny, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and Deutsch.  He was born in Egypt, moved to the USA when he was 8, and then he had to work out how to adapt to an unhappy father and to unpredictable and sometimes violent environments as he grew up. Unfortunate for Tamer but lucky for us–because now he makes jokes about it all. P.S. Tamer is in NYC for the next few months doing shows. I caught him last night at the West Side Comedy Club. Go out and support one of your strategy kin flexing in new and incredible ways.  And shoutouts to Heather LeFevre and Julian Cole for putting me onto Tamer and his work. You can find Tamer and his shows here: For more strategy talk: Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 9,000 strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out in soon
February 13, 2020
Dear Advertising Student - Heather LeFevre, Global Strategist & Author
Heather LeFevre is back. Last time, we discussed applying strategy to life. This time, we discuss 10 things we hope advertising students can contemplate as they embark on their careers.  You can find Heather here - and make sure you check out her book “Brain Surfing.”  For more strategy talk:  Newsletter: Instagram: Twitter: Facebook - join 8,000+ strategists: The deskbook “Strategy Is Your Words” is out in April 2020
February 6, 2020