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TRA boosts leadership team with two senior hires

Following a period of sustained new business growth, research and insights agency, TRA, has appointed Irena Bakker as its new Head of People and Capability, and Stephen Churchman as Head of Design, boosting its senior leadership team to further propel growth. 

Both roles have responsibilities across TRA Business Group, which includes TRA’s Australian and New Zealand offices, social media insights and listening tool Zavy, and SME brand health platform, Tracksuit.

TRA’s Managing Director Andrew Lewis welcomed Bakker and Churchman as important additions to the business, reflecting the agency’s award-winning commitment to people, culture and client-focused innovation.

Lewis says: “People are at the core of what we do here at TRA. With our new offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and the growth of Zavy and Tracksuit, it’s imperative that we have a people leader with an unwavering commitment to developing our already impressive talent base.

“Our promise to employees is an environment where they will enjoy the best training, thinking and collaborators, work on fascinating client problems, and be able to influence the direction and thinking of our business. I am confident that in Irena we have found a dynamic leader who can leverage her extensive experience to ensure TRA delivers on this promise and continues to attract, retain and develop the best talent across ANZ.”

Bakker joins from global marcomms behemoth WPP plc where she was most recently Head of HR & Talent NZ for WPP AUNZ, responsible for developing and implementing HR and talent strategies, best practice recruitment processes and change management skills. Previously, Bakker held the role of Group Talent Director for WPP’s media agency division, GroupM.

On her new role Bakker says: “TRA Business Group is on an ambitious growth trajectory, powered by their multi-disciplinary team and businesses across Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s rare to find an organisation so committed to its people. As an HR professional, I couldn’t be happier to join TRA’s amazing leadership team and support the company’s growth plans. It’s an exciting time to join TRA and I look forward to working with such an inspiring group of people.”

Joining Bakker is Churchman, stepping into the role of Head of Design for TRA Business Group.

Churchman brings a heady combination of global and ANZ experience to the role, having most recently held a role asHead of Creative at Les Mills US and prior to that holding design roles at Saatchi & Saatchi NZ and DDB NZ.

On Churchman’s appointment, Lewis says: “Design is part of TRA’s DNA – it illuminates insight, and our award-winning design team is one of the best in the business. There is no more experienced designer capable of crafting brand identity and experiences through strategic insight than Stephen, and we’re delighted he has returned to his home turf and joined our team.

“Stephen has a special talent for creating compelling design and visuals to engage his audience and inspire action, and I look forward to seeing how he inspires TRA customers via motivating design and clever design thinking.”

Churchman says: “Landing a role with TRA feels like returning home, twice! I am excited about what the future holds and look forward to empowering the already amazing team we have here at TRA. I can’t wait to help TRA and its clients achieve their goals and measure success.”

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