On Wednesday evening we hosted our fifth and final Light a Fire event of 2014. Since its launch in January, the series has been a massive success - not to mention hugely enjoyable and rewarding - having welcomed over the months guests including Nick Massey, chief executive of Forever Manchester, Phil Jones, managing director of Brother UK, Kids Allowed founder Jennie Johnson and Rowena Burns of Manchester Science Parks, among others. To those that have been guests this year and those who have come along to any of the events: THANK YOU.
The original idea behind Light a Fire was to create a series of live events from which attendees could come away feeling inspired, having met new people, heard enlightening stories and gained new ideas. And whether it's been John Amaechi talking about personal development or Sara Jones sharing her experience of founding a disruptive startup, the interviews haven't disappointed.
This time around, the setting was the cosy Library room at the Great John Street Hotel – a former Victorian schoolhouse that's been stunningly converted in a modern townhouse style.
Guests were greeted with a glass of mulled wine and then got settled in the armchairs and sofas of the library - and if we do say so ourselves it was pretty much the ideal start to a crisp, mid-November evening.
Liane Grimshaw shares her experiences
Our guest for the evening was Liane Grimshaw – founder and MD of inbound marketing agency SupaReal, who boasts 20 years of experience in digital and marketing, including time spent as managing partner of Amaze plc. We're also proud to say that she's one of theEword's non-executive directors.
Once everyone had arrived, Liane sat down in front of the event's eponymous fire to be interviewed by our MD Dan Nolan, doing his best Parky impression with a dozen or so questions about Liane's life and career - and her thoughts on the subject of collaboration.
For the next 45 minutes or thereabouts, Liane shared several anecdotes and just as many pieces of sage advice – one of the most memorable being: "Don't do something you don't believe in."
Liane also explained how transparency and honesty – both internally and externally – ought to be a priority for all digital, creative and marketing agencies. Those factors, she said, combined with compatibility between personalities and business cultures, are what lead to the most effective collaborations.
Thoughts on Manchester's future
Dan interestingly brought up the idea of a "Tony Wilson bug" going around Manchester, citing the much-missed Factory man's tireless championing of the city, but asking Liane whether she thinks the city may have lost some ground globally and become a "world-leader in telling everyone else it is a world-leader".
Liane replied that she doesn't necessarily see it that way, and that Manchester certainly has the capacity to lead the digital sector in the future – again, stressing the importance of agency-wide honesty.
The line of questioning was spurred by Liane's recent trip to the Inbound 14 conference in Boston, as we wanted to understand how Manchester stacked up on the world stage. Happily, her view was that the city holds its own, however one area in which Liane feels the UK lags behind the USA generally is in making sure humanity is a central part of marketing. If agencies make people the focus of their activity, and are more open with each other in the process, greater gains are to be made.
Main image via @accessdigital on Twitter.