Home-growing the business leaders of tomorrow


One of our ambitious team leaders has just completed a Business Leader course at the IPA.

We like the IPA because like us, they are also champions of Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The IPA is widely recognised as the world’s most influential professional body for practitioners in advertising and marketing communications. They set the benchmarks, supporting growth within agencies and the industry as a whole. They’re helping us grow the business leaders of tomorrow and Colm, our Art Direction Team Leader, is going to be one of them.

Here’s what he has to say:

Colm! Tell all.

This course was all about team leadership and management. The morning focused on learning to lead yourself and others, how to identify who you are as a person and how you’re going to best lead others with the type of personality you have. Then, in the afternoon, we heard from different speakers from various advertising agencies, all giving their view on leadership and the skills you need. So, it was really interesting!

Best takeaway from the whole day?

Everything the speakers said after lunch. It was just great hearing from people who have gone out there and done it for themselves. Their titbits were invaluable, and really inspiring. There were only about 20 of us, so it felt quite intimate. It was great getting that closeness with people who’ve achieved so much and have so much wisdom to offer.

What are you going to be doing differently as a result of the training?

Everything! It’s definitely helping me at work. It’s all still in my head so I’m using and sharing all the tips with my team. Those takeaways are helping me better organise and plan my time, and I find myself thinking ‘oh, I can delegate this to a member of my team and make better use of my time’. It was a Business Leader course but the skills and everything they taught is going to be useful in all areas of life really, because it’s about focusing your strengths and efforts.

Was it a helpful course for a creative, specifically?

Yeah, definitely. It’s helping me focus my creativity, which is really important. At school and in creative courses, no one teaches you how to lead people; you just fall into things and start doing it ‘your’ way, often with no tips or guidance.  This IPA course taught me how to manage people properly, channel my time and energy in the most productive way, and the importance of delegating, so it was definitely a great course to do and massively helpful. It’s a confidence-booster too. That’s one of the best things about working here; getting the chance to do things like that.

So working at Wordbird has changed you, with training and opportunities like this course?

Definitely. I started off not really knowing anything about the industry but with Sarah’s hands-on training and just the way we work here, I’ve progressed rapidly in those three years.

Why do you think that is?

Once you’ve demonstrated your abilities through the training, you get the chance to really prove yourself with big pieces of work and more responsibility than I think you’d typically get elsewhere at my level. Recently, for example, we went to pitch for a client. Sitting in that presentation and seeing lots of my ideas come up was really gratifying; I loved that. It’s awesome that I got the chance to do it. It was a big presentation and the product of a lot of hard work, but it’s totally worth it when you feel like you’re really contributing to company successes. It makes you feel proud.

So it keeps you on your toes, and challenges you?

Exactly. Every day. Plus, every day is different. It’s my favourite thing about the company actually. I talk to my mates and they moan about their jobs and having to do the same thing day in and day out, and I suppose it’s very rare to get what I have, a really exciting atmosphere to come in to every day with new challenges and opportunities. And we’re getting even more clients now, so it’s getting really exciting and even more varied.

Exciting stuff, Colm! Thanks for sharing. Look forward to seeing what you come up with next.