The Generosity Journal: Ant Salmon

As part of our series with the One Percent Collective that’s dedicated to celebrating good work and inspiring a bit more generosity, Ant Salmon, managing director of Big Communications, doffs his cap to Andy McDowell and all the others who have done their own thing. 

I’m an avid viewer of Attitude, a documentary series that tells stories about people who live with disability. 

Earlier in the year Attitude started following the case of Andy McDowell, who, at the age of 43, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s [check out how the industry has banded together to help support him here].

Andy is a partner at the Department of Marketing (I’ll come back to that later). When I moved to New Zealand in 1998 he was something big in direct marketing.

I had a bit to do with Andy over the years, mainly via the Marketing Association. He was always the same: bright, enthusiastic, warm and entrepreneurial.

He had spells at Ogilvy and FCB but in most of the 16 years I’ve been here he’s done his own thing.

And that’s why today I want to pay my respects to the people that do their own thing. Because doing your own thing means producing your own new business, developing your own strategy and creative (or whatever it is you do), hiring (and paying) your own staff and running a business that makes a profit (which you have to do, for obvious reasons).

As Trevor Moodie and Andy McDowell are finding out, it also means having to cope when one of the partners gets Parkinson’s disease.

Those of us who do our own thing do it in different ways and for different reasons. Big started in 2003 and since then, for better or for worse, Joe Holden and I have done it our way. But I remain consistently inspired by others, whether it’s for their longevity, their ambition or just the sheer quality of their work. Daniel Barnes, Paul Catmur, the guys at Special, Republik and Shine, Sharon Henderson and Murray Reid at Federation, Ant Rainger, Ben Goodale, Trevor Moodie and many others have all been people I’ve drawn strength from, and some of them wouldn’t know me from Adam.

I don’t know Andy McDowell that well either, and haven’t seen him for years. But I do know he’d much rather he’d be in a business meeting that in the business of meeting the challenge of a terrible disease. To Andy, and all the others who run their own agencies, hats off.

If you have a few minutes to spare, watch Andy’s story hereAnd if you can spare an evening, come along and help raise some much-needed funds for Andy’s family.

  • The One Percent Collective is all about a lot of people giving a little to make it easier for its selected charities (and charities in general). It could be, for example, donating one percent of your total income, one percent of the door takings from an event or one percent commission on a month’s sales. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. It’s also looking for people to donate time, expertise and awareness to the cause, so check out some of the ways individuals, artists and businesses can help here. And if you want to sign up as a sponsor for its upcoming print publication, check out the proposal here
  • If you want to contribute to The Generosity Journal, or have any suggestions about others who might be keen, email us at [email protected] 

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