Sam Stark oversees 160over90’s entertainment marketing and experiential businesses while leading the public relations, social media, and creator marketing teams. She oversees over 400 specialists in her role as part of the cultural-marketing agency’s senior leadership team. Throughout her 24-year career, she’s specialised in leading integrated communication campaigns that earn attention. The skills she’s developed in strategy, creativity, and earned and social engagement allow her to tell her clients’ stories across multiple channels. In 2021, Sam was named one of Ragan's ‘Top Women in Communications’ in the Leader category and over her career has been fortunate to win multiple awards on behalf of her clients: PRSA Silver and Bronze Anvils a Golden Bell Public Relations Award from the Hospitality, Sales and Marketing International Association and others. Samantha is an active board member of three internal organisations – the Women of Endeavor, We the Change, and the Endeavor DEI Working Group – all of whom are championing gender and racial equity and inclusion across the organisation.
Culture Eats Everything for Lunch
Samantha Stark - EVP, 160over90
The beauty of being back in person for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the real conversations no one posts on LinkedIn, which will happen late into the night over a glass of rosé. Everything organisers have outlined within the program will be topics of conversation – brands embracing web3 and other emerging technologies, raising underrepresented voices, and the return of creativity, to name a few. What’s a bit less comfortable to address will be the talent drain across the industry that makes excellence in creativity and agility more challenging.
The existential reckoning that led to the ‘Great Resignation’ has equalled less agency talent overall, some completely pivoted to follow a personal passion, while others followed the money and lifestyle to places like in-house tech jobs. With Internet giants like Amazon and TikTok debuting at the Festival this year, we can expect this trend to continue.
This shift in talent equals the need to double down on creating an agency culture where creativity, relationships, agility, and professional development can flourish. It’s not just about being in a place that does great work and wins awards anymore – expectations are completely different. How can you create an office setting that’s more like a social gathering, so people want to be there? How can you connect your people to each other, so they don’t want to leave and are free to be themselves? How can you help them find true fulfilment at work?
These shifts alongside other disruptions – such as the rising challenges around earning attention, talent as creative director, the need for real-time content, and general global uncertainty – all come back to how we innovate our agency culture and model to unlock the best in our people and attract new talent. This evolution is key to success in all circumstances.