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Just add Sam

Pan Media founder and creative director Graeme Blake took a risk when hiring Sam Thompson. But it's one that's paid off, with the talented web designer developing an idea that could impact the way agencies throughout adland do business.

By Paloma Aelyon | September 28, 2016 | Sponsored content

Meet Sam Thompson.

Sam graduated from university in 2015 and quickly landed a job as a front-end developer and designer at Pan, a forward-thinking digital agency based in Hamilton. Since then, Sam has built more than 30 beautiful websites for Pan clients, and has been instrumental in the exciting birth of a new startup, Panther CMS.

While many agencies shy away from new grads like Sam, creative director Graeme Blake saw something that he couldn’t find in more seasoned designers.

“We often look to experts in the field when we want to grow as a business, but in doing so we miss out on fresh perspective and on the agility that comes with a young mind free of conventional thinking. Given the right tools and education, young women and men like Sam will drive this industry forward.”

Prior to using Panther, a new content management system designed for agencies, Sam had very little experience with web design. With a basic knowledge of coding, however, and a few weeks to learn the system, he quickly transformed from an inexperienced grad to a true agency asset.

“It’s really cool to see how quickly Sam has morphed into such an integral part of our team,” says Charlie Cooper, senior account manager for Pan with experience leading digital projects in Sydney and London agencies. “Our clients love that we design and build websites in-house. It makes my life a lot easier to know that I can trust the studio to do digital right.”

Having witnessed this empowerment of young talent, Panther, a startup founded by team members at Pan Media, is now guided by two main missions:

First is to help agencies around the world “do digital right,” which means building beautiful websites for clients seamlessly in-studio without having to rely on third parties.

Second is what truly gets the Panther team out of bed in the mornings, which is to ensure that young people with potential have the resources they need to employ their fresh, creative ideas, and to fill the growing number of jobs in the digital and tech sectors.

Not long after Panther decided to rally around that second mission, Blake attended a local meeting run by Cultivate IT, where he met Adam Walmsley, director of operations for Code Avengers. Passionate about coding as a means of propelling young generations towards their diverse dreams, Adam along with his brother, Dr Michael Walmsley, launched Code Avengers to bring a different style of education to the classroom. Code Avengers is now in over 10,000 schools around the world.

“Coding isn’t just for computer science nerds. Coding helps kids broaden the way they problem solve through troubleshooting and the constant need to think critically,” Adam explained enthusiastically. “Coming from a family of educators, it’s really important for us to help teachers find ways to engage with kids and to prepare them, in a practical sense, for today’s world. Technology is everywhere, so we’re excited to turn coding into a language we can all speak.”

Inspired by each other’s stories, the team at Panther is thrilled to be the first company in New Zealand to sponsor Code Avengers Corporate Alliance courses for local schools, and Code Avengers will be leading the way in pioneering Panther as a creative website building tool, particularly for those interested in pursuing careers with digital agencies.

With the marriage of creative spirits, technical minds and fresh perspective comes a new chapter of infinite possibility for those driven by digital. For young talent like Sam, with a basic knowledge of code, Panther is no longer software and Code Avengers is no longer a course. All together, what we have is the future of agency, of bringing dreams to life through digital and of fueling young leaders forward. It’s also a nod to a philosophy deeply embedded within the walls of agencies around the world. It’s a chance to do digital right.

  • This story was published as part of content partnership with Pan Media. 
  • Read more on Pan Media here

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