Following this week’s announcement that Anne Boothroyd has been promoted to Executive Creative Director after two years with Indie agency YoungShand, StopPress chatted to Anne about her career journey to date, the impact of 2020 on her creative team, and what excites her most about 2021
How did you get into advertising?
My sister worked at Mojo back in the day (she’s 13 years older than me), and it seemed exciting. It was a choice between either advertising or becoming a vet but, since my maths leaves a lot to be desired, here I am.
The decision was confirmed when I discovered my deep disdain for hand cutting type during my Visual Communication Degree at Massey University. I realised I was much more interested in big ideas and problem-solving than lying on my floor at 2am painstakingly cutting out letterforms.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
I would say two challenges have shaped my career and, in some ways, lead me to my role at YoungShand.
The first is that as the daughter of a no-nonsense Yorkshireman, I tend to call a spade a spade, which can be tricky as a female in advertising. Thankfully, I was fortunate to work with Brent Smart early in my career who very colourfully pointed out to me that he paid me to have an opinion and I was no use to him if I didn’t. That conversation, and his and Richard Maddock’s faith in me in the early years of my career, gave me the confidence to stay true to myself.
The second was becoming a Mum to my now beautiful six-year-old boy. When I began in advertising, I believed that there was no way I could continue in the industry once I became a Mum – the balance would be impossible. Thankfully a lot has changed (but a lot hasn’t too), which means I’ve been able to carve out a path where I can invest both in my career and in my son.
Both of these things have shaped how I have approached my career and how I approach the work every day. I think they have made me a better creative and leader.
Biggest career highlight?
There are a lot of pieces of work from throughout my career that I love and am incredibly proud of. My biggest highlight though, has been the people. The ones I have had the privilege to work with and learn from, and the ones that I get to hopefully impart a bit of knowledge to now.
What’s the difference working in a local indie versus one of the big multinational agencies?
The most significant difference is the reliance we have on each other to make the work brilliant. Large projects will touch every part of the agency and everyone will play some role in bringing the work to life. That was the thing that struck me most when I started at YoungShand in 2018 – the incredible passion, hustle and knowledge that the team brings to each project.
2020’s been a tough year. How has it affected your creative team?
It has impacted us all more than I think we realised it would. It has highlighted the need to keep the lines of communication open, and there have been times where some members of the team have needed to step back and take a moment. On the flip side though, I think we’ve become even closer as a team. It was incredible to see how they adapted to working from home, as well as their continued passion and accountability for the work. We kicked off the level four lockdown by creating a social campaign for Hellers, which meant creating a bespoke piece of content every day for several weeks – all done from our lounges and bedrooms.
Looking at 2021, what are you excited about?
Getting stuck in. We have had two incredible years of growth and transformation across our creative output and delivery, and I’m excited to see what we will deliver in 2021 for our clients.