Leeds Speakers

This event is taking place on Thursday 14th September 2023, at Open Innovations.

📢 Here are the current speakers we have for this event. We will also hear from you – the event is all about taking part.

“Why Purpose Shouldn’t Come at the Cost of Profit”

“Fundamentally we’re a full-service digital agency, but that balance of purpose and profit lives in our DNA,” says Alex Willcocks, founder of Engage Interactive.

Engage Interactive was the very first business in Leeds to achieve B Corp status in May 2020, and is actually one of only 20 or so businesses in the entirety of Yorkshire with the certification.

“It comes from when we started the business, and emulates my own values to a degree,” says Alex. “We were already doing a lot of what B Corp asks for anyway, so it felt like a natural fit.”

They’ve also found the B Corp badge has come with a lot of benefits, especially recruitment.

“We don’t shy away from using this as a marketing tool. It’s really good for attracting talent, and retaining it too. I think it’s quite important in this regard as the team resonates strongly with what we’re doing, and candidates apply to work with us citing B Corp as one of the main reasons they want to work with us.”

A big part of the agency’s purpose is the community pillar, using the team’s skills to make a difference to people’s lives through pro-bono work.

One example of this was an app for a local Leeds organisation.

“We invested £100k’s worth of billable time to build an app called Superstars, for young people whose options in life are quite limited. This app almost works as a digital and gamified Scouts or Beavers – they can unlock badges and earn credits, coming away with transferable life skills.”

However, despite their B Corp status and the work they do, when it comes to being a ‘good’ agency, Alex believes that all things purpose can only truly work hand-in-hand with profitability.

“We don’t shy away from profit at all,” says Alex. “We’re not purpose-led, but rather a profit-first business. You still need profit to be able to do all that other good stuff.”

 “My view is if you want to grow and make more money, and you can work with clients who want to spend money with you, because they believe in what you stand for, then you can get bigger and make a profit. And then you can amplify your positive impact.”

Join Alex at the Good Agencies Roadshow as he explains more about his agency’s path to B Corp status, and why purpose shouldn’t come at the cost of profit.

How Transparency Can Win You Talent That Lasts

Employee satisfaction is the key to maintaining a balanced ecosystem in your agency. 

A happy team does wonders for productivity – something Zoë Ogden knows all too well. That’s why her agency, Impression, has won ‘Best Place to Work’ two years in a row.

“The main thing we won for is probably our commitment to full transparency at all times. Active listening is also important, and trying to implement things where we can – and then being honest about where we can’t,” says Zoë, the agency’s people director.

“But the transparent salary bands were a big reason why I was so interested in joining the company. Despite no HR guidance, they were already starting to think in this way. So, I just took that and ran with it.”

So how does Impression’s transparent pay scale work?

  • Each salary range is well documented for everyone to see. 
  • Within each job level, there are three ‘sub-levels’. 
  • Each sub-level has a competency description attached to it and a respective salary increase.
  • For someone to be promoted, evidence must be submitted based on the competency description of the job level they are moving to.

“It’s clearly documented all the way up to our senior level, which is really important for people’s career development,” Zoë says.

“Because it’s so structured and evidence-based, when it comes to promotions, there are no other external factors at play other than that person’s merit and what that person has actually achieved – regardless of background, race, sexuality, or gender.”

This system is also shared with potential candidates during the recruitment process to maintain full transparency, and to nurture a diverse and welcoming culture too.

“We’ve had candidates join us and take a slight pay cut on the basis that we’re so upfront and fair. It’s really appealing for people who have come from toxic environments, or usually only get an annual review.”

Zoë will be diving into more of the measures that make Impression a great place to work at the Good Agencies Roadshow, from meaningful benefits like the four-and-a-half-day work week, to total transparency throughout the business.

“Why Our Good Intentions with Wellbeing May Be Falling Short”

“If the most valuable assets we have are our people and their brains, why aren’t we doing more to support them and help them thrive?” asks Andy Wright, CEO of Streamtime and founder of non-profit organisation, Never Not Creative.

After a 20+ year career working in the industry, Andy now spends a lot of his time helping people and businesses to be happier and healthier, tackling some of the gaps that have been left unaddressed over the years.

Andy cautions: “When the work is elevated to the peak of importance, it can leave injustice, unfairness and illness in its wake.”

Over the last couple of years, Andy has been blurring the lines between his two roles to achieve a greater impact. Streamtime’s goal of creating happier, healthier creative businesses has certainly been influenced by the experiences that Never Not Creative has provided.

“Our Happiness Coach is a feature we’re piloting in the product. Your final To Do of the week asks you how your week was, so we can track your happiness over time. We worked very closely with Curtin University and the Future Of Work Institute to align the data we collect with their SMART work framework. Now we’re experimenting with gentle nudges on health and happiness if scores are dropping or vice versa,” says Andy.

At the Good Agencies Roadshow, Andy will share and discuss how we can create mentally healthier cultures that can help teams thrive, work excel and agencies prosper.