Attending boarding school at the age of eight served me well in making me fiercely independent and resilient. But more importantly, I learned that you can make a family wherever you find yourself. This has proven to be true again and again.
When I was sixteen, I spent ten days in a refugee camp and I promised myself that I would never underestimate the importance of compassion and humility. Over time, I’ve learned that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking about yourself less. Because self-belief is paramount to making a difference.
Following a trip to SXSW in 2012, I flew to New York. The morning I visited Ground Zero, I came across a little yellow flower on the perimeter of the fountain wall where all the name plaques appear in memory of those that lost their lives.
It had obviously just been placed there by a loved one and it struck me how fragile life is and how we are not guaranteed of anything beyond the day we’re facing. The same morning, I learned that my younger sister had passed away.
That was ten days before her 30th birthday. It made no sense then. And it makes no sense now. But what I did learn is this – you have to make your days count for something, and you can only do so if you choose to be present. So I try and give my full attention to the people in front of me.
This epiphany also served as a catalyst to make the most of my passion and belief that creativity is not only a force for growth but a tool to leave the world better than I found it.
It’s taken time – all good things do – but here I am. The founder of Coffee Cocoa Gunpowder. While I’ve been incredibly privileged to have worked in this business for over two decades, for the world’s biggest agencies including M&C Saatchi, DDB, Leo Burnett and awesome independents like Lavender and The Jupiter Drawing Room, I believe that this agency is going to be the place I do my best work yet.