Senior Sponsorship Manager
Best pitch presenter you’ve ever seen:
Mike Florence (Gravity Road) knows how to captivate an audience – like great stand-up comics, he has the knack of making his delivery look both incredibly polished and charmingly off the cuff at the same time.
Best sports marketing campaign (that wasn’t yours):
Budweiser’s Future Official Sponsor of the NWSL – a brilliant example of how to lead by example, and reap the brand benefit in the process.
Best agency (that isn’t yours):
FUSE. Smart, never back away from challenging conversation, relentless in their pursuit of excellence, and know how to drink!
Best young industry talent:
In context, Jonathan Drakes (Head of Fuse APAC and picture below) has absolutely no right to be as smart, articulate, and industry-shaping as he is at 34. Robert Stevenson (WeAreFearless) is someone I expect big things from in years to come.
Best sporting event attended:
Scotland vs New Zealand, Murrayfield 2017. Electric atmosphere, a team channelling the strength of Doddie Weir’s pre-match pitch walk, and a last-gasp tap tackle on Stuart Hogg away from immortality.
Best sporting event on TV:
For the joy of packed stadia, the sight of Danish & Finnish fans uniting on the opening weekend, the romance of a group of young men who represent a modern, inclusive, emotionally intelligent vision of
Englishness and who dared to dream, Euro 2020 – when it finally arrived – has been a blast.
Best brand ambassador:
Maro Itoje, a hugely impressive man who changes the energy in every room he enters. For a country currently lacking leadership, it’s good to know we still produce great leaders.
Best film containing a scene depicting the sports business:
Jerry Maguire knew what he was talking about. The only thing that’s important in our industry is heart.
Best book recommendation:
Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain. A man knew how to squeeze every last drop out of life.
Best bar or pub:
The Black Lion in West Hampstead, or pop next door to Wolf Pack. Can’t go wrong.
il Portico, West Kensington. A genuine hidden gem. Italian food done properly.
Best industry event or conference:
There’s often so much packaging and not enough substance. For genuinely original thinking, any PHD thought piece talk – I listened to Malcolm Devoy and the teams at PHD & eatbigfish deliver Overthrow
II – no frills or excess, just a desire to shake us all up a bit.
Best box set:
Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
Best holiday resort:
A holiday needs mountains, water, and activity. The Cairngorms has it all – plus whisky.
Best influence on your career :
David Paul (Manning Gottlieb OMD). He’s hired me twice, and been a constant mentor and role model. I’ve never known someone more curious, restless and prepared to challenge convention.
Best dinner companions (min 4, max 6):
Raheem Sterling, Keith Wood, Rose Matafeo, Jay Rayner (plus he’ll hook us up), Dolly Alderton , Donald McRae.
Best job in the sports biz:
Roving pundits like Tom Fordyce and Alex Payne seem to have it nailed. Bit of podcasting here, a few awards dinner hosting gigs there. They do have the knack of making such a highly skilled job look wonderfully simple though.
Best professional regret:
Leaving sport – I came back fast. This industry is so special and massively over indexes on collaborative, driven, creative people. I had to leave to realise this.
Best skill you most covet:
Marcus Smith’s skillset would be great. Failing that, I’m envious of people who can do small talk well.
Best trait you admire in others:
Kindness - Say thank you. Appreciate unseen efforts. Hero others. Lend a hand. Be thoughtful. It shouldn’t be so hard.
Best overrated virtue:
Being nice. This isn’t the same as being kind. Nicety is the enemy of progress in meetings. Be frank, be decisive, then go have a beer together.
Take a leaf out of the British & Irish Lions mantra – leave the jersey in a better place than when you picked it up. If I can apply this to any segment of my career at each new crossroads, I’m happy.