An ELSEr story

Jacqui Pennington – Client Partner

How would you describe your career path to arriving at ELSE?

I started off as a scientist (in genetics) and wanted to work in preventing cancer. After finding it very male-orientated (and focused on prevention instead of curing) I tried out working in a microbiology lab… and I hated it! It was so isolating and boring. I realised I need to be around people. So I took a year out and came to London and fell into Marketing – and never looked back. After starting off in places like HaperCollins Publishers and The Times, I never quite felt like I found my place – until I walked into a digital agency. I was offered a job as an account executive on the spot – and I accepted it on the spot. I’ve worked in digital agencies ever since. 

I love the variety, the opportunity to work on some incredible brands and be surrounded by people who are exceptional. I would describe my role as enabling brilliant people to do their thing for brilliant brands and clients. I’ve been fortunate enough to work at some of the top agencies in London – from AKQA to Digitas (formally LBi). 

Can you share with us any of your failures? And what you learned from them?

So many! But I think what’s most important is what you learn from them. I’ve learned that it’s ok to get it wrong and make mistakes, everyone does and we’re all human at the end of the day. The important thing is to hold your hands up to it, own it, solve it (and identify how to avoid it happening again), and then move on. You learn so much from failures, but I think it’s also important not to dwell on it. Draw a line under it and move on. 

What does success look like to you?

Knowing you did the very best you could. 

Why did you want to work at ELSE?

I’ve worked as a cog in the big networks and while I’ve worked with some amazing people and for amazing brands, there are a lot of layers within the networks and I was frequently not sure what everyone else was doing. I met with Warren and Dave, who are both brilliant, and jumped at the opportunity to work in a small tight, but brilliant team. 

What skills have you found vital to your job?

The most important skill is to listen – really listen and hear. And also to not shy away from the difficult conversations. There are more opportunities to grow in the uncomfortable areas. 

Do you have a passion or interest you want to tell us about?

During lockdown, I took up beekeeping as my 80 year old neighbour had 2 bee hives and needed someone to look after them. At the time it was just something to do, but it has become something of a passion. The way bees organise themselves is fascinating. I’ve never been much into ‘insects’ (especially as I am a total arachnophobe!) but since my step into beekeeping, I’ve started learning more about insects in general – they are incredible (if at times brutal!).

What do you offer clients that’s a bit different?

I’m not interested in sell sell sell. I genuinely care about doing the best work we can for our clients and ensuring our relationships are as strong as they could be. 

Who inspires you?

I am really inspired by people who are able to look at a situation in a different way and from lots of different viewpoints. I once read that Obama had an incredible ability to do that. I am also inspired by the quieter people in the room – they are often the ones with the most interesting insights. 


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