Business Growth Conference 2019

Business as unusual - why you have to change to grow

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Are you and your agency ready? Because the world is changing and the only way you can remain indispensable is to change too. Which is why this year’s IPA Business Growth conference is about re-thinking every aspect of the way you operate. If you want it to be business as usual, be prepared to do things that aren’t.

Business Growth Conference 2019

The IPA Business Conference is the key event of the year to hear from different perspectives about what is being done to achieve profitable and sustainable growth.

If you are an Agency Leader, Financial Director, COO, Commercial Director, New Business Director, Business Director or Client Services Director – and want to future-proof your business, then this is the event for you.


Conference Only:

IPA Members: £175 +VAT

Non-Members: £250 +VAT

Combined Ticket with the Future-Proofing Your Agency Workshop

IPA Members: £325 + VAT

Non-Members: £450 + VAT

Purchase combined tickets here

Join in the debate

Register your participation for the live online forum to discuss how the role of account handling has changed and where the true value lies. 

"We recognise that advertising, and the advertising industry, has recalibrated greatly, changing shape in recent years with no sign of abating. Which presents us with a clear choice – lament the changes and try to justify our existence, or reinvent ourselves to be as relevant and potent as ever. It’s this latter option, which informs this years conference. If we seek to learn and grow as practitioners we will grow our clients and if we grow our clients we will grow our businesses. That’s the principle.”
Marc Nohr, CEO, Fold7

Please see some of the highlights from past conferences.


8.30           Registration and Refreshments 

9.00           Welcome

                  Marc Nohr, CEO, Fold7 and CLG Chair                              

9.15           Key Note Presentation

                  Nigel Vaz, Global CEO, Publicis Sapient and IPA President

Keynote presentation from newly appointed IPA President. How can our industry become more commercially relevant to our clients to ensure their growth is our growth? 

9.35           Developing a Growth Mindset – An Outside Perspective

                  Brian Bacon, Chairman and Founder, Oxford Leadership

Brian’s experience at Oxford Leadership is to help companies accelerate sustainable business performance. Today he shares his perspective on developing a growth mind set, in particular the relationship between personal and corporate growth.

10.05          Driving Growth from a Client Perspective 

Marc Nohr, CEO, Fold7 in conversation with

Lisa Thomas, Chief Brand Officer, Virgin

What are the challenges that clients face to drive growth? What value can their agencies bring and how can we better work together to achieve win:win on both sides.

10.25          Driving Value for the Advertising Industry

Janet Markwick, Founder & CEO, Markwick Consulting and IPA Commercial Leadership Group and Sam Jordan, Executive Vice President, Manifesto Growth Architects

How can agencies deliver value to their clients and what are the commercial options available to them? How have other industries transitioned from selling ‘time’ to selling ‘products and services’. New learning gives agencies tangible tools and techniques to succeed in this space.

10.55          Coffee Break                    

11.25          The Three Client Trends That Will Change How Agencies Are Selected

                   Brent Hodgins, MD, Mirren Business Development

For more than a decade in their partnership with Harvard Business Review, Mirren has been working closely with clients to track exactly how they select their agency partners. Their latest research has been revealed, and more change is expected in the next 18 months than experienced over the last decade. Brent will unveil the three most significant trends ahead, including a look at management consulting firms, in-housing and marketing technology. 

12.05          Next Generation of Business Growth

Panel session hosted by Sara Tate, CEO, TBWA

Amelia Torode, Founder, The Fawnbrake Collective

David Abraham, CEO, Wonderhood Studios

Chris Clarke, Creative Partner, Group of Humans

How is our industry evolving? What new business models are the new communication companies adopting and how do they see the future of the industry?

12.45        Closing Remarks

                 Marc Nohr, CEO, Fold7 & CLG Chair

13.00        Lunch and Networking

2.30          Close

This agenda is subject to change.


David Abraham, CEO, Wonderhood Studios

David launched Wonderhood Studios in 2018 – a next generation creative company that combines programme making with creative agency skills.

He led Channel 4 as Chief Executive between 2010 and 2017. During that period the network underwent a major creative overhaul, grew annual revenues to c£1bn and pioneered a data strategy which attracted over 15m registered users. A focus on Channel 4’s unique remit was also accompanied by a record number of major industry awards. In 2014 David gave the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival on the importance of Public Service Broadcasting to British creativity. Previously, David was CEO at UKTV between 2007-2010 where he masterminded the launch of Dave; at Discovery Networks USA between 2005-2007 he led the revival of cable channel TLC as its President and GM; and before heading to the US, David led Discovery Networks UK as General Manager during a four-year period of rapid growth from 2001. In 1995, David was a founding partner of the influential independent advertising agency St Luke’s. He is also a Patron of the Royal Television Society and a BAFTA member.

Brian Bacon, Founder, Oxford Leadership

Brian Bacon has consulted the CEOs and Boards in more than 30 global business turnarounds. He has been a special advisor to the UN Secretary General, NATO and three Government Heads of State. He is a seasoned Executive Chairman and Independent Director and serves as executive coach & mentor to the some of todays highest profile CEO’s in USA, Europe & UK. He is the creator of one of the world’s most successful leadership development programs with over 800,000 alumni from more than 90 countries. He is a recognized authority on purpose-driven leadership, growth mind-set and the transformative role of business in society.

After an early career as a planner with FCB, McCann Ericsson & DDB in Sydney, Chicago and New York, he founded the Oxford Leadership Group. This is today one of the worlds most influential leadership consultancies with 215 people and offices throughout Europe, USA and Latin America. For over 20 years Oxford Leadership has shaped the leadership culture of iconic multinational corporations including L’Oreal, Virgin Media, Volvo, Telefonica O2, Maersk Group, Electrolux, HSBC, BASF, Akzo Nobel, Sandvik, Unilever, Ericsson, McDonald's, GE, Shell, BP, and NXP Semiconductors.

Brian is a former President of the World Business Academy in Washington; a visiting scholar at the International Institute of Labour Studies in Geneva; and a member of the EU international think tank on Social Cohesion. A Member of the Global Leadership Council of Michel Nobel Harriet Fulbright Institute of Business Technology Management in the USA; He is an Australian citizen residing in Hawaii.

Chris Clarke, Creative Partner, Group of Humans

Chris was CCO of LBi, and latterly DigitasLBi for 10 years, until March 2018 when he set out on a journey to explore new models for growth in the communications and technology industry. As a founding partner of Group of Humans he has witnessed first hand the establishing of a new model, challenging the classic holing company structure with deep expertise on a global level. He has also, created the brand for leap9, a radical new "growth consultancy" helping start ups and scale ups grow through an enlightened approach to talent and talent management. In this time he has also created the brand for The Tall Wall, a coaching business aimed at female leaders in advertising, media, law and finance. Further adding to his growth credentials, Chris has branded Influence Business, a persuasion and influence course founded in the Caldini method which guarantees companies a 40% and above growth improvement, through a rigorous focus on developing business development and sales staff. Chris believes, for too long growth has come at the expense of people and the planet, but if you develop talent to create sustainable business you can grow companies, people, and society without sacrificing the world. He calls this 3 dimensional growth.

Brent Hodgins, Managing Director, Mirren Business Development

Brent Hodgins is the Managing Director at Mirren, a firm that specializes in organic growth and new business training for agencies in digital, PR, advertising, promotions, experiential and design.

Each year, more than 700 agencies now participate in Mirren’s annual conferences, training programs and webinars. Brent has trained CEOs and their senior management teams in every major region around the world. He is highly competitive as he pushes himself, his Mirren team, and his clients to accept nothing less than a commitment to growth.

His approach to converting business is down to a science – strategic and methodical – but often contrarian. In fact, he believes you have no choice but to break many rules of prospecting and competitive reviews, as the process is purposely designed by clients to commoditize agencies. He also believes that agencies need to stop bowing down to clients and command the respect they deserve. “As soon as you put the client up on a pedestal, it’s a downward spiral from there. If you bring a high level of expertise to the table, then take a stand and command the respect you deserve.”

Brent began his career in account management at Leo Burnett, where he worked on Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson and McDonald’s. Later at TBWA, he launched their digital group in New York, before moving into new business at Wieden + Kennedy. He regularly guest lectures at NYU Stern and Columbia business schools.

Sam Jordan, Executive Vice President, Manifesto Growth Architects

Sam runs the North American office of Manifesto Growth Architects, a strategic consultancy with offices in the UK and the US. He also leads its global media practice. His clients include major tv networks and publishers as well as technology and financial services brands.

Manifesto Growth Architects unlocks growth potential for its clients, by designing customer propositions that deliver better experiences for customers and value to the business. The consultancy figures out what your customers really value, what needs to change to meet their needs, and how to make it happen. 

Prior to joining Manifesto, Sam held senior management positions in agencies and brand consultancies in London and New York.

Janet Markwick, Founder & CEO, Markwick Consulting and IPA Commercial Leadership Group

It is rare to see left and right brain working at such an equally furious pace but with Janet, you get the both barrels. Janet’s creative empathy is easily matched by her commercial acumen, making her a great ally for both clients and agencies alike. She has the ability to see the bigger picture and yet still hones in on the finer details that are required to get things moving. She is a true change agent, fearless, full of energy, curious and ultimately focused on what matters…..increasing the value of what we do.

Janet sits on the IPA Commercial Leadership Group and brings a wealth of knowledge from both a client and agency perspective into how agencies can achieve commercial growth.

One of only a few senior executives to move from client to the agency arena just over a decade ago as CFO Grey London, becoming their Chief Commercial Officer across Grey EMEA. Janet was instrumental in driving nine successive years of commercial and creative growth.

Before Grey, Janet held senior financial, marketing and commercial roles at Coca-Cola and Sony, where she was Director of Marketing Communications Investment EMEA.

Janet has a true generosity of spirit that nourishes talent. She drives a powerful agenda to broaden commercial understanding across agency business, by empowering people to play bigger roles and introducing new ways to measure ROMI. In doing this, Janet has driven and enabled both the creativity and commercial performance of agency and client business to flourish and grow.

A member of the IPA Council, in 2016 Janet was awarded a Fellowship in recognition of services to the industry. She is Non-Executive Director and sits on the board of the Creative Industries Federation and is the IPA’s Honorary Treasurer.

Formerly Global EVP of Commercial Operations and Production at Y&R, Janet has most recently established her own consultancy business, working with leaders and their teams to build truly innovative, future ready commercial solutions, capabilities and operational structures that scale efficiencies aligned to what clients and agencies value.

Marc Nohr, CEO, Fold7

Marc Nohr is CEO of Fold7, one of the fastest growing advertising agencies in London. Fold7 has a global client base including Carlsberg, Diageo, ASICS, Amazon and Gumtree.

Marc studied at Oxford and London Universities, and later on at London Business School. He has worked in advertising for 25 years. In 2001 he co-founded the agency Kitcatt Nohr which went on to win 5 Agency of the Year titles and over 100 creative awards before being acquired by Publicis Groupe in 2011. At that point he became UK CEO of Digitas, into which his agency was absorbed.

Marc has played an active role in the wider advertising industry including a column on creative business for three years in the Financial Times, he was Chairman of one of the major advertising awards schemes for 5 years and has sat on the IPA Council for the last 7 years.  In 2018, Marc become the chairman of the IPA’s Commercial Leadership group. Marc is also chairman of JW3 - the London Jewish cultural centre which has a cinema, theatre, restaurant and 4000 visitors a week.

Sara Tate, CEO, TBWA

Sara joined TBWA as CEO in October 2017, as part of a new management line up. Under her tenure, the agency has acquired new clients such as adidas and Harvey Nichols and won IPA Gold and Grand Effie Effectiveness Awards. In 2018 TBWA was also voted Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year.

She's one of few agency leaders to have begun her career as a Strategist, working on world renowned brands such as British Airways and Baileys and winning APG awards for her thinking.

Having spent several years at AMV and BBH, Sara joined Mother as a Strategy Director in 2007, running Boots No.7 and the agency's global Coca-Cola business including Diet Coke, Powerade and Oasis.

After creating a 60 foot, Japanese, water-hating duck, and persuading several Olympians to appear in the nude, Sara decided a change was due.

She became Mother’s first Head of Brand and New Business in 2011, before becoming the first woman appointed to Mother’s board and the first Managing Director the agency had appointed in 2013.

Sara is a working mother of two spirited (read: unruly) children aged 2 and 4.

Lisa Thomas, Global Chief Brand Officer and MD, Virgin Enterprises Limited and WACL Vice-President, 2018-19

Lisa is Virgin’s Global Chief Brand Officer and Managing Director of Virgin Enterprises Limited. She joined the Virgin Group in February 2016 and is responsible for overseeing the brand across the world and managing the relationship with more than 60 Virgin businesses in over 35 countries.

She joined Virgin from M&C Saatchi Group where she served as UK CEO for 5 years, having joined the group originally in 2000 to start their direct marketing agency, LIDA. Prior to M&C Saatchi, Lisa was Executive Board Director at Craik Jones – and was the first ever Craik Jones Board Director from outside the founding partners. Lisa also previously worked at Wunderman Worldwide – where she spent 5 years gaining experience with a host of blue chip brands including British Airways, Kraft General Foods, Fruit of the Loom, American Express and BT – and before that at De La Rue as a business trainee, literally learning the art of making money and marketing in Europe and South America. Lisa graduated from Cambridge in French and Spanish.

Amelia Torode, Founder, The Fawnbrake Collective

Fascinated by brands, technology, culture and ideas, Amelia Torode is one of the UK’s best known strategic planners.

Campaign magazine describe her as a “trailblazer in the advertising industry, a brilliant strategic thinker and leader.”

She’s worked at agencies in the US and UK including Naked, OgilvyInteractive, VCCP and her most recent agency job was Chief Strategy Officer at TBWA\London.

After taking time out to care for her mother in the last stages of cancer, Amelia launched a consultancy with Sera Miller designed to be a new way for brands to work with independent and freelance talent.

The Fawnbrake Collective now has over 250 members and works with clients such as Google, Carlsberg, Somerset House as well as a large selection of charities and start ups.

It has been cited by publications such as the FT and Marketing Week as an example of organisation design innovation.

Amelia is a TEDx Talk-er, a Power Part Timer power list winner, “Planner of The Year”, a mum/wife of Arsenal and PSG obsessives, and a cold water swimmer.

Twitter keeps her informed, Instagram keeps her inspired.

Nigel Vaz, Global CEO, Publicis Sapient

Nigel is global CEO of Publicis Sapient and serves as Publicis Groupe’s Global Lead of Digital Business Transformation. He is responsible for driving forward the company’s vision of partnering with clients to ensure they are successful at reimagining and transforming their business for the digital age.

He has held a variety of leadership positions with Sapient prior to its acquisition by Publicis Groupe, where he now serves as a member of its Executive Committee, charged with identifying opportunities to help clients drive growth and efficiency and evolve the ways they work in a world where consumer behavior and technology are catalyzing social and commercial change at an unprecedented pace.

Nigel’s roots are in business strategy and technology, where he has consistently helped clients to build businesses and create sustainable value propositions for their brands by operating at the intersection of strategic thinking, creativity and technology. Prior to Sapient, he was a successful entrepreneur – co-founding a public company with interests in telecoms, consulting and connectivity solutions. He has also been a key advisor for a number of companies including AT&T/Cingular, McKinsey and Company, Orange, Siemens, Telkom SA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.

As part of Sapient’s executive leadership team, he drove the evolution of the European business and helped to build Sapient into one of the largest digital professional services companies in the UK from a start-up in the space of a decade, including its expansion beyond the UK to be a significant presence in Europe. He went on to lead the Sapient business in EMEA and APAC and its evolution to SapientNitro, as well as playing a key role in the successful integration of Razorfish to create SapientRazorfish within the Publicis Sapient digital business transformation hub.

In his current role leading a business with expertise spanning technology, data sciences, consulting and creative, Nigel acts as strategic advisor on complex transformation initiatives that accelerate the businesses of clients including Lloyds Banking Group, BNP Paribas, Carrefour, M&S and Unilever.

Nigel is President of the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) and a board director of The Marketing Society. He is an inductee of the BIMA Digital Hall of Fame (British Interactive Marketing Association).

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Last updated 12 November 2021