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IHAF Leadership Summit


Note: This is an AI-generated transcript and may have transcription errors. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Robert Berkeley  0:03  

Hello, and welcome once again to inside jobs, the podcast for creative leaders who run in house agencies. Now, this episode does come with a bit of a difference as it was recorded at the IHAF leadership summit in Atlanta, Georgia, organised by IHAF. I had the opportunity to sit in on some fantastic and fascinating talks. But before we come on and listen to the speakers, I thought I would quickly have a word with Emily Foster. Emily Foster is IHAF own leader. Emily, what can people expect today here in Atlanta?


Emily Foster  0:35 

We have four great in house agencies speaking about their organisational models, their operating practices, and really what makes them vital contributors to the businesses that they're supporting each and every day.


Robert Berkeley  0:47

Right. And there's going to be some quite interesting stories from some winning teams as well.


Emily Foster 0:50  

Yes, we have our reigning in how students of the Year Award winner here. Obviously, we're at the Delta Flight Museum, that winner was Delta Airlines last year. So they are kicking us off this morning. And then we have many other brands speaking throughout the day, before we wrap up with a really fun tour of the museum, which I'm excited about.


Robert Berkeley  1:09  

Yeah, I'm looking forward to that as well. So it's a really interesting time, isn't it? This is post COVID. But all about readjustment back into a new world. Yeah.


Emily Foster  1:16  

Yeah. And I think for these events, we're seeing that folks are so excited to be in person again. They're so happy to have FaceTime with their peers and meet new people and continue to connect with the in house community that is so special within IHAF.


Robert Berkeley  1:30  

So should we go and listen to the first session, and I'll catch up with some of the speakers later on.


Emily Foster  1:34  

Yes, let's kick it off.


Robert Berkeley  1:37  

Now, this amazing event was hosted by Delta Airlines at their incredible Flight Museum built into the hangars alongside Atlanta's main airport. I spoke to Catherine Simmons, their general manager, who had actually just given the opening talk for for the in house agency at Delta Airlines. Can you describe a little bit what what's around us?


Catherine Simmons  1:55 

I can I think you've honestly start taking it for granted when you work at Delta, I have been at Delta for nine years, so being around planes just becomes commonplace, but pretty much when you look around to your left to your right in front of you. On top of you are lots of aeroplanes, benches, vintage aeroplanes, which is really amazing. And then even outside in our parking lot, we have a Variant 747 airplane. So there's a lot to look out at the  Delta Flight Museum.


Robert Berkeley  2:22  

None of these are in service though. Are they these these twin props and biplanes?


Catherine Simmons  2:26 

No, not anymore, but they are really fun to imagine what it would have been like to fly on them.


Robert Berkeley  2:32  

Flying with truly romantic then. So let's talk about the romance of winning the in house agency award. How good was that for the team?


Catherine Simmons  2:38  

Oh, my gosh, it was amazing. So I talked a little bit about this in my presentation. But really the past two years have been so transformative for Windows. See, we've grown so much we have so many new folks on the team that are truly bought into what we're doing. So to see that recognised by an external partner was amazing.


Robert Berkeley  2:57  

Well, you, you did the first presentation today, right with your team. But there were some really strong messages that came through on that. And the one that really shone through was that you are very fast growing. And yet you've instilled a very strong culture. And I would love to know how you did both of those things. At the same time.


Catherine Simmons  3:15  

Really the way that we approach scaling the team, to your point so quickly, and with so many people was making sure that it was a phased approach so that we weren't just hiring everyone at once we looked at what are the roles that we have to have now, which is a hard thing to answer, right? Because the answer to that is we need all of them right now. But we had to as a leadership team really come together and put our minds and say, Okay, what are the roles that we have to hire right now in this moment? And then what are some roles that are fast follows, and then longer term, what that could look like? So we really built it into a phased approach where we hired 55 A shot new people in the past year and a half. So it has definitely been fast and furious. But I think again, making sure that we were super clear and that we were scaling with clarity on what are these people's roles, where do they fit on the bus? How are they going to, you know, what are they going to do for delta and window seats was instrumental so that we made sure we were again, hiring with clarity and bringing on these new folks and making sure that they don't just feel scattered with an onboarding process because we were so new. So that was a little bit about kind of how we scaled so quickly, but again, with some control behind it. In terms of our culture. I know I talked about this, but one of the biggest things that I think we've done is these committees. So we're a hybrid environment at delta. So it was really important for us to make sure that teams knew each other, that they weren't just passing each other in the hallways and not understanding that we're all within window seat now that we're an organisation of almost 70. So we have these committees, their awards committee, fun committee, inspiration, learning and development, and welcome, their volunteer based and they're led by employees within window seats, which is also a really cool leadership opportunity for people on our team where they, you know, work with people that aren't necessarily on their direct team. And it's almost like employee led for employees with a bunch of cool initiatives, just to make sure, again, that we're fostering a culture of collaboration and celebration and inspiration, especially on the creative side.


Robert Berkeley  5:25  

So when when, when you were talking about the committee's earlier on, and you said how do we, you know, another thing we do to cement the culture is we we have committees and my blood run cold of the very idea, but but the way you've presented it, and the way you've approached it.


Catherine Simmons  5:38  

Honestly, Maya Dukes, our Managing Director, I mean, she has been so pivotal and coming in and saying, you know, how do we thoughtfully build this team? What does it look like? Certainly, she's been on the team for two years. I think she just celebrated her two year anniversary. So definitely, she had that experience and exposure to building and house agencies to come in and say, Okay, how do we successfully do it, in terms of actual implementation, it's kind of just based on employees for employees. I mean, I happen to lead the committee's, but, you know, that's, it's something that I holistically lead them, but then we have people within delta that you don't have to be a manager, you don't have to be an official manager that you can absolutely just join a committee lead a committee, it's a great opportunity to get that exposure to leading people and working as a team and just making sure that we're always offering up, again, just more exposure for the team.


Robert Berkeley 6:32  

Next, I speak to Bill Fox, Head of Brand From Empower. And he'd stood up to tell us about how having worked for 30 years in both traditional in in house agencies, he tackled a new entrepreneurial financial services brand. So you are a challenger brand in a very busy space. That is a challenge for you, Bill. 


Bill Fox  6:55  

Oh, absolutely yes, as I've mentioned to folks here, we've been in existence from 2014. And we compete against some fine, storied firms. So for us to get noticed to the marketplace, we absolutely need to position ourselves as a challenger brand, a challenger in the industry. 


Robert Berkeley  7:12  

Well, you seem to have the subtitle transformation on steroids, as I recall. Why Why were you saying that? What did that mean?


Bill Fox  7:18  

Well, as I'd mentioned, there's been a lot of acquisition that was going on with our organisation, we were formed from a merger of different organisations. And that's how we became Empower retirement at first, and now we're recently trans, we transferred into the name and power to represent what we are, which is a wealth management firm. And particularly that was really put into place through the acquisition of Personal Capital, which was a very well established, personal investing firm. So now we were just going down this road, we were no longer just retirement, we were and we never really were just retirement. But now we just were making a stake in the ground that we were going to be a retail organisation as well, too. And with the mergers and acquisitions of other fine firms in the mix, they're their retirement businesses at places like Prudential and MassMutual. And such, there was a lot of change that we needed to do morphing and incorporating these different organisations into Empower. Yeah, lots of transformation, lots of learning, lots of goodness, lots of refinement, in order for us to have our brand as well as our messaging strategy in the marketplace.


Robert Berkeley  8:33 

But you really demonstrated why in house agencies are so strong. You told a story about a secret project. 


Bill Fox  8:41  

Oh, yeah. I mean, we had that. Well, certainly not secret any longer. But it was a secret at the time when we were going into the marketplace with Empower field. So there was just a handful of folks who knew about this at first. And it, of course, was going to become a marquee branding project for the in house agency to manage that. And it was a marquee project for empower. We were getting out in the marketplace mean branding in a storied stadium such as mile high and having it become Empower fields. We didn't take the project. Yet we took it very seriously our responsibility that It was associated with that in terms of respecting the history of what that that stadium represented. And then who we were as a brand as part of that whole. 


Robert Berkeley  9:30  

Right? But you were very agile. That was my point, right?


Bill Fox  9:33  

Oh, yeah, that was something done. I mean, literally pull pulling together the all the branding elements of that was done in literally in days, and then selling that in and then moving it and getting it all done. But yeah, that was it was fast and furious and awesome.


Robert Berkeley  9:48 

Well, yeah. To me, that almost defines what you can do with an in house agency you would find very difficult to do with an external partner. And you also came up with the quote of the day so far, which was, you know, if you're working in the brand, you said, you know, where the skeletons are. But you also know where the crevices are to get things done. And I thought that that's so right.


Bill Fox  10:09  

Yeah, no, it's true. You knew you knew what you knew were the issues and problems, and you knew of the landmines and certain things, but then you also know, okay, how do you know, how do you get things done around? How do you move within it all, so that you can get done what you need to get done on the time, and is efficiently. And with the quality that is expected from from the team, there's,


Robert Berkeley  10:32  

you finished off by talking about working with external agencies, and there's there's an understanding there that external agencies can bring things that you can't have from from within, right. 


Bill Fox  10:41  

oh, absolutely And our agency partners, but a wonderful team member, and they really are that they're a team member. And we're in this together. And we find that we value the relationship we respect you 


Robert Berkeley 10:54

You manage the relationship.


Bill Fox 10:56

We do, we do manage that. And it's an important responsibility of art. So we don't take lightly. And it is with working with a brand like that, you it's, it is a relationship, and you need to nurture that relationship along. On us very direct conversations, which they can have with us as well, too. It's not one sided, it's both sided. And in terms of what we need to do, and you've got to trust each other to bring the best to the party, because in the end, we all are contributing to what is going to be the future of our organisation and the future organisation is embodied in the brand that we create.


Robert Berkeley  11:34  

The great thing about these IHAF events is the importance given not just to the speakers and what they have to say, but also getting the chance for attendees to actually meet each other and discuss, discuss the points they've been listening to very often but of course, sharing notes about the teams that they run themselves. And all of the talks gave food for discussion over the actual and I have to say rather excellent food served during the lunch break following that we reconvened to hear from Coca Cola as Creative Studios, Creative Director, Kirstin Dorsch. Now Kirstin, and I had a mutual friend already Jarrett King, who I'd previously interviewed on inside jobs.


Kirstin Dorsch  12:10  

Yes, yeah. So Jarrett actually recruited me to come in house, a Coca Cola was freelancing at the time. And when I took it over from her, we were really in a state of dismay, if you will, you know, we had been completely brought down from 30 to 5 and trying to figure out what we were and change from alakea From cost, change from chargeback to allocation model narrowed to one department of the company, we we kind of had to find our north again. And so what I spoke about today was our learnings and finding that North and that North meant setting a foundation for what our culture is, for what we expect of each other no matter what size we are.


Robert Berkeley 12:46  

The thing that really, really struck me is that you more than anyone talked about culture as if, if you can get the culture, right, the work is going to follow.


Kirstin Dorsch  12:56  

Yes, yes, I think that's true. I think when you have the right culture, you have people that are invested and will go any direction with you, right? And so as you're laying out the work, if they believe in you, and they trust you, they believe in us, and they trust us. And that's more important than believing in me. You can set that direction and people will go because they they're there for the how also the what, you know, the what is the work? The how is the people and they stay for both? 


Robert Berkeley  13:24  

Well, I'm the why? 


Kirstin Dorsch  13:25  

Well, the why is because we love it. Right. And culture gives culture enables the why.


Robert Berkeley  13:33  

Now a large part of what you were referencing was how to keep the team engaged and continually creative. And you you had some quite interesting ideas about that. Do you? Do you want to get through those?


Kirstin Dorsch  13:42  

Sure. So yeah, I think it's really important, I think, especially with in house agencies, when you you can be very churn and burn, right? There's, there's too much work a lot of times and so you can empty your gas tank pretty easily. And so you want to keep refilling it as you're emptying it, so you're never totally empty, similar to how you'd want a bottomless mimosas, you never want to see the bottom of it right. And so some of the things that we do, you know, I kind of put it in three buckets, we find inspiration and creativity through the work that we do. So that could be exploring passion projects, new things, trying out things that may not work for this project, but might work for that. And then we also we find creativity and passion for ourselves through inspiration. Some are completely bonkers, right at a museum going axe throwing together finding interesting things out about each other. You know Somebody talked about a scavenger hunt today, we actually did one of those two, I was on a call. And we're like for an icebreaker up, pick something up off your desk and tell us about it. We learned more about people in those 30 seconds than we had in three months. And I think creativity is everywhere. And we all do it because it drives us and it fuels us. And so the more you can pull it out of everywhere, the more it gets infused into what you do, 


Robert Berkeley  14:54  

Creativity is intelligence having fun.


Kirstin Dorsch  14:56 

That was Albert Einstein said,


Robert Berkeley  15:00  

Go to the top of the class. Yes, it was. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And what you what you talked about, quite clearly from the pictures you showed, and the things you were talking about was people having fun.


Kirstin Dorsch  15:10  

People have fun. And actually the one thing so I didn't have any notes for my presentation. And the one thing I did forget, was the reason I did my presentation on this was I got a call from somebody at Coke. One day, a colleague who put on my calendar, she put would like to pick your brain for a few minutes, which we all know what that means, right? I want you to do free work, and I want you to do it yesterday. But when we got on the call, she goes Kiersten, your team just has fun and gets a lot done. She was minus so serious. I didn't realise there's teams out there that really don't, I know there were bad cultures, but didn't know there was like this middle ground of just like not really fun kind of boring, not serious. And so as we started talking about it, I realised because we had laid the foundation, it felt really natural to us.


Robert Berkeley  15:52  

And it has to come from the top. I know I have a client in London, and he has created this environment, he works is a division of a multinational. And if he's listening, he'll know who he is. And he creates huge amount of huge amount of investment in the space, the physical nature of the space, the activities, the way he treats staff, the way they work completely separate from the rest of the company. And it gives him problems as a manager with the other managers who look around, look around the corridor and they go, how come he can do this? Well, if it comes from him, that's how he can do it. It doesn't come from them.


Kirstin Dorsch  16:22  

Bingo. And I think too, you know, there's an easy scapegoat and saying, We don't have budget, we don't have time, you have time for what you make time for culture doesn't need budget and helps, but it doesn't need it. 


Robert Berkeley  16:35  

You also said culture doesn't need size which i think it's particularly interesting for listeners of inside jokes, because you work for quite a big in house agency, you've got quite a lot of people there. And they might be thinking, well, you can create a culture when you got a lot of people around because you can create a buzz and you've got kind of you know, momentum that you can you can carry forward. But you said you started with very small group and that you wanted you consciously thought about culture?


Kirstin Dorsch 16:58   

Oh, yeah, my biggest fear when we expanded was losing the culture to tell you the truth. And I think because I was afraid of that. And because I knew it was going to take intentionality as we grew. Because I think as you grow, you can lose it. Because there, especially if you're hiring, if you're busy, you're hiring diversity. There's people in different camps all the time. And so if you don't be intentional about creating those cross sections of interests and fueling them, you can lose it. And when you lose it, it's really hard to get back. And so we were almost blessed that we did start at small. And then we were small, because it allowed us to scale. And now I got to see how we do it internationally.


Robert Berkeley  17:35  

Well, that's gonna be an interesting challenge. There was a there was something that I found quite touching as well, you. You You're quite candid about sometimes the struggle of this intentionality of maintaining the culture when you are busy. Can you say a little bit about what you said about that?


Kirstin Dorsch  17:51  

Absolutely. You know, I think, again, leading with authenticity, you got to be honest about what's hard, you know, if you just Oh, yeah, just go do it. Like, it's hard. And so the analogy that I made is, you know, that you when you make plans, and you're excited about the plans when you make them, and then it comes to that night, and you're like, oh, I don't want to go. But you know, it's important to maintaining that relationship to keep those plans. That's culture. Yeah. Right. And when I look at my to do list, and I have, okay, I need to roadmap, our strategy for q3. And I also need to plan a happy hour. Listen, it sounds like one would weigh in the other. But ultimately, if I keep putting off planning that happy hour or that event, for all of the business stuff, eventually it's going to add up and I'm going to lose people and we're not going to be going in the same direction.


Robert Berkeley  18:40  

And from creating the ideal in house agency culture, Jay Williams, the Executive Creative Director at hothouse, which is the in house agency for CVS Health followed Kirsten to tell us how he gets to know his staff and managers, an effective team that works in 23 different states.
you gave a fascinating talk. You told a very interesting story about when you started exactly when you started and you had a different take on on getting to know your staff. Do you remember that?


Jay Williams 19:09 

Yes, I began, I started at CVS three years ago, which as we all remember, was absolutely in the teeth of the pandemic. And so I started and it was almost a year and a half before I actually met any of my co workers in person. And I said to people today they said it was a weird experience because when you start a new job, all the things that you would normally know how tall is everybody? What kind of shoes are they were what is this? What is that? You don't know any of that because you haven't seen them? But you know all these other things about their personal lives that you otherwise would never know that, you know, one of the guys that works with me his son has a trumpet lesson on Tuesdays at 3:30. So we can have a meeting then. And somebody else is having their kitchen repainted. And since can't do that, I said, So like all the normal things you would know, I knew nothing. I knew all the other intimate details of everyone's life. It was a very strange experience.


Robert Berkeley  20:03 

Absolutely. But, but it also must have been quite difficult to because you're inserting yourself between the team and the upper management, right? You in order to be effective, you need to get to know everyone, how did you go about doing that?


Jay Williams   20:16  

You know, it was, again, I think some of it was interesting, because because we were invited into each other's homes for like hours a day. And so even though you weren't together, they were asked, but you know, you had an insight into people's lives, and you sort of you got a little more personal connection than you might have otherwise, because of the situation. But we also, you know, we tried to do a lot of things to keep people connected, we had sort of happy hours on Friday. And we, you know, we did some team building exercises with, you know, virtual scavenger hunts, and all kinds of the coffee talks a couple of times a week. And then we had a creative summit that we invited everybody to. And so we were trying as much as we could to build that culture to build those connections, under the circumstances that we were all living in.


Robert Berkeley  21:03  

And he still very much working from home, or is, is there much more time together.


Jay Williams   21:08  

We’re we're hybrid now, the way it was two days a week, maybe three. And but some of that depends on if you're close to a CVS Health Hub office, and there aren't that many of them. But we so we get people together, we're trying to get people together, maybe once a quarter, maybe a little longer, at least the leadership teams to try and forge those connections. But in terms of everybody going back into the office, we are because we hired so many people during the pandemic. We are now so far flung, we were in 23 different states. So there's a limit to how much actual physical connection you can make. But we you know, we work at it all the time.


Robert Berkeley  21:47  

So one of the things you talked about was, I suppose, in effect, raising the game. You you, you applied, you inherited a good team, but a good team of racehorses. But they were still someone in the stables.


Jay Williams   22:00  

There were, yeah, I mean, we, you know, when you're changing the nature of what you want a group to do, that group exists to do something already, you know, that. So, you know, the skill sets of the people and the ambitions of the people, we're all you know, we're all there. Now, we were changing the game. So we were asking some people to do some things a little differently than they had done, maybe raising the bar, raising the expectations on the kind of work that we did. And, you know, that takes time. And it takes, you know, giving people examples of what you mean, you're trying to support them and position them so that they can achieve these kind of things. So it takes time, but you gotta give clear direction and say, you know, this is where we're headed.


Robert Berkeley  22:40  

And the work that you showed was first class, right? I mean, any agency would be proud of doing that.


Jay Williams   22:48  

Yeah, everything I showed today was all done by people inside at CVS Health inside Hort house.


Robert Berkeley  22:53  

So there's a lot of video tell us about the NOC?


Jay Williams   22:56  

Yes, we did. So a lot of what I showed today was some of it was big level production that we you know, that we have our own production department. That's great. Ben Raines and his team do just an amazing job in terms of video and audio production, but we do an awful lot of stuff in social media and owned and paid social and digital experiences and what not. And a lot of it has, a lot of it is video, because that's those are the, that's what goes on in those channels. And we got to a point where we had people who were, we had designers who were creating video for our social media, and they were just going in their basement and shooting it with a phone and whatever. And sometimes that's still the better thing to do. And it gives it an authenticity, whatever, but we but we suddenly realised that we're doing so much of this we need to be have a facility somehow that we can do a little more professional job of this. And so we built this thing called the new look at the headquarters in Rhode Island. And it's a you know, it's a it's a studio space, it's set space. That's blank walls, like any sort of production studio, we can check it out, want it to be home, you want it to be a store, you want it to be some different space. And so we we shoot things there all the time. Now we have, you know, assets that we're using in different, you know, digital experiences.


Robert Berkeley  24:10  

As a cost benefit, but also makes it more agile, I guess, as well.


Jay Williams   24:14  

Oh, absolutely. Definitely the cost benefit, but it also it, it allows it allows us to be nimble, still maintain the kind of quality that we're looking for. So


Robert Berkeley  24:24  

having done that, you talked a lot about working with external agencies. And you had a really interesting approach to onboarding those, you know, this. It seemed to me this is something that you you felt was important. You had to in a lot of in house agencies wouldn't want to live with this, but you're living with it, but you're embracing it in a really interesting way.


Jay Williams   24:42  

Yeah. Brett Gerstenblatt, who is our fearless leader at Hart House. He came up with this idea of, you know, different in house group to deal with an external group that we have a process that we called round zero, where the external group comes in advance of a presentation, they gonna  have to the marketing group, they come to us, and we have a meeting Brett and myself with the external group, and they share the work that they're going to present. And we talk about it, we have no ability to kill anything that you know, that's not the purpose of the meeting.


Robert Berkeley  25:18  

And you make that clear to them. 


Jay Williams   25:20

From the absolutely from the beginning, you know, nothing's going to be killed, we don't have that jurisdiction. But what we can do is what we say is like to make sure that all the housekeeping details are taken care of, is everything you're showing within guidelines is everything you were showing, confirm to, you know, the the campaign that we're all working on, or whatever, all kinds of things that can derail a presentation, to marketing in the early stages. So we view it as you know, the to the as we like to say, the purpose of round zero is to make round one as successful as can possibly be. And so that's what we do we give our advice, we give them some guidance, they can they can, frankly, take it or leave it. But


Robert Berkeley  26:02  

Did they generally take it?


Jay Williams   26:04  

They generally now they take it? Because, you know, I mean? I never things that they push back on as well, they should that this is their work. And this is their concept. And but there have been times when we you know, they decided that they wanted to do it a certain way, and we go and then the market and people push back on it. And it's sort of like, well, you know, but But yeah, it's become a valuable tool. I think for everybody, I think I think it makes the initial marketing presentation much more successful, which then makes all the subsequent presentation more successful, which makes it more efficient cuts down on time, and on and on and on. So it's a it's a tool that we that we lean on pretty heavily.


Robert Berkeley  26:42  

And you clearly as an in house agency, you're there for the brand, you're not there for the in house agency, you're there for the brand. And it seems to me that your ex agency, you know what, you know, what the world in which these people inhabit and what drives them? Sounds like you can get the best for CVS from the agencies by working this way. Once you built that trust and rapport.


Jay Williams   27:01 

Yes, exactly. Yeah. And I think that, you know, I think it's taken a little time to sort of understand that, you know, what the purpose of it is, what the intent is the you know, the intent isn't to become some sort of some sort of a bottleneck, you know, in the day, it's weird. We're just there to help and, and, you know, what, look at what the way that marketing and the world works these days. They're in house in their external. And there's a role for each of those kinds of places at every company. And like you say, the brand is, which are all trying to promote the brand and make the company successful. So we need to find ways to work together in as productive way as we possibly can.


Robert Berkeley  27:36  

So Emily, that was quite a day you organised at the Delta Flight Museum here in Atlanta. 


Emily Foster  27:42  

Yeah, I think attendees had a fabulous time, both with the speakers and sessions networking, and as you said, in this very cool space hosted by Delta Airlines and the opportunity to see some different models and learn about a little aviation history.


Robert Berkeley  28:55  

Yeah, we go that guy did. That was very cool. But we also heard from four amazing speakers, they each had their own perspective. But did you find any themes coming out of it?


Emily Foster  28:04  

I do think there were some common themes across what we heard today. I think culture came up a lot and the importance of culture for in house agencies to keep employees engaged. That's something that came up as a thread many times. And I think the other piece that came up a lot was agency relationships, how our in house agency is partnering with external agencies, who's owning that relationship, and how are they truly collaborating? That's something we heard from many of our speakers today. You could tell there was an interest from our attendees as well, on that topic.


Robert Berkeley  28:31  

Yeah, nothing stands still. Right. So you know, maybe five years ago, we were talking about bringing everything in house and all creativity in house. But the reality is that that's kind of come back a bit. And there is something to be contributed by external agencies, right.


Emily Foster  28:42  

For sure. And I think that question came up in one of our final sessions of the day, and the pendulum swings both ways. So we'll see it ebb and flow through the years in terms of who's going in House who's partnered with external agencies and kind of how is there a seat at the table for everyone?


Robert Berkeley  28:56  

Right. And for me, actually, one of the standout moments with Jay at the end talking about this, this zero, what did he call it? Round Zero, round zero? Yeah, yeah, round zero before round one, in a way to use the expertise of the in house agency to really get the best from the external so that they're, they're pointed in the right direction. And I can give you the very best shot when when talking to the marketers, did you did you have any particular takeaway moments from from today? Any any highlights?


Emily Foster  29:26  

Yeah, I think what was really interesting, again, across all of the sessions today is that we honed in on organisational models and operating practices in each session very intentionally, because that's what we hear from our members. That's what they want to understand when they come to these events. Those are the takeaways they're looking for. How are you organised and how are you operating? And what can I learn about the things that you've set up at your in house agency that are working very well? that I can maybe borrow for my own team. So I think that was something that we heard throughout the day. And again, it was intentional. And our speakers did a great job kind of sharing that level of detail with our attendees.


Robert Berkeley  29:58  

Yeah. And they were in fairness, they were from large agencies as well, large in house agencies, big groups of people generally. But a lot of what they say can apply to small teams to small, you know 5, 7,10, 10 person’s team as well, right. A lot of these principles, one of the one of the speakers talked about, you know, culture starts with a very, very small group, for example.


Emily Foster  30:17 

Yeah, I think that was a great point that Kirstin made in her presentation is that things like culture are always important. And even at a time when she had such a small team, it wasn't that, oh, let's wait until we're bigger. Let's wait until we have the budget. Let's wait until we get to some point on, you know, a roadmap that we've that we've intended to get to, let's start building those things very intentionally now. And that will set us up for success in the future.


Robert Berkeley  30:40  

Right. So it was a great day, everyone seemed to enjoy it. And it's winding up now with a few cocktails. But what's in store for IHAF members next.


Emily Foster  30:46  

Well, our next series is that we're on the road in June for our in house agency roundtables. We're in seven cities across the US and in Canada. We're very excited about those as we're back in person for the first time, for obvious reasons, and many years. And it gives our members and local areas the opportunity to really spend time in person together and get to know their local, IHAF members and really discuss and debate various topics of interests, which I think our members really appreciate the opportunity to come to the table with things that are really relevant to their in house agency today, what they're struggling with, what are their successes, and talk amongst a trusted group of peers about those things.


Robert Berkeley  31:21  

We can't stop there, because there's an awards conference coming up in November. So tell us a little bit about that. And is it too late to apply for the awards?


Emily Foster  31:30  

It is not. We are in the throes of award season at IHAF So our in house creativity awards are open for entries through mid July for our extended deadline period. And in house agency of the year Nominations are open through the end of August. So folks have ample time to get those submissions in let the IHAF team know if you have any questions. And from there, we'll start looking ahead to November, we'll be back in Boston for our annual conference and award show.


Robert Berkeley  31:52  

So you know, some people asked me about the in house agency of the year, it's an extremely prestigious title. And last year, it was taken by delta and we're here today. But they have a big team and there's a feeling or people ask me, you know whether whether it's always the case that it has to be a big agency that's going to win in house agency of the year doesn't have to be a big agency, and what are you looking for generally, what what is it that that you're looking for in those successful applicants?


Emily Foster  32:16  

Yeah, we encourage teams of all shapes and sizes, if you will to enter, it's really not about the even the creative work you're doing, what capabilities you have, or what your team sizes, in those agency of the year is really about what is the impact of the business that you're delivering. So whether that's across client relationships, you know, cost savings comes up a lot, culture, all of those things are important. And we as myself on the judging panel, and as all of our judges each year, they're looking to see who has a well rounded story and who's really become a vital contributor to that business that they're working with.


Robert Berkeley  32:49 

Right, which is, which is obviously the aim of every in house agency leader. What has been a fantastic event here. The roundtables are coming. The conference and awards are happening. And by the way, your team deserves to be entered into the awards, right? I mean, you owe it to the team to enter into the wars. It's so important, and it's such a lift for them. It's not just in house agents of the year that all these categories, go on the website and apply and see what's there. Right.


Emily Foster  33:12  

Yeah, our awards is such a great programme to recognise what your team has done. Obviously, you hear morale come up a lot when you think of award entries. But it's also taking time to pause and reflect on the work that you did last year, whether that was your creative work or things as it relates to team performance, and take the time to submit and you know, it doesn't have to be a lot of work a couple of pieces. And we see teams again of all shapes and sizes who enter one thing or 10 things walk away with crystal trophies in November. And it's a really fun opportunity for them to celebrate their team's accomplishments.


Robert Berkeley  33:43  

And not just in the US, UK, in house agencies and anywhere else in the world are also open to apply. Right. Emily, thank you so much.


Emily Foster  33:50  

Thank you for being here. Robert. Thanks for hosting today's episode of the podcast. I hope folks got a chance to hear a little bit from each of our speakers and learn what our attendees learned today.


Robert Berkeley  34:00  

Well, yes, exactly. It's been a great day. So dear listener, thanks once again, for downloading this fun one off, one off episode of Inside Jobs. Now, if you enjoyed what you heard today, then as I said at the beginning, do please tell your friends and colleagues but also put in a good word for us, and why not give a review. Now from our statistics, we can see that most of you appear to be using Apple podcasts. And if you are, let me just quickly tell you how to leave a review. You need to open the podcast app on your phone or your iPad or your Mac. Search for the podcast. And then you scroll down to the ratings and reviews section. You can give us as many stars as you like five are always appreciated and will result in a personal letter from me actually, no they won't but still I'd appreciate it. And then if you feel so moved do do write a few words. All of this helps attract more listeners and helps to create a more excitement around inside jobs. If you're new to inside jobs then first of all, you need to subscribe of course, but you can head over to where you can unearth more than 40 other interviews with creative leaders and and learn and in fact, I think we now have transcripts of those as well so you can actually share those with your with your colleagues as and when necessary. So I hope you enjoyed this one and I look forward to speaking to you at the next episode.