This year, Joint CCO of Grey London, Vicki Maguire set a challenge to the industry, not to enter the Creative Circle Awards – UNLESS you believe in championing the best of British work, to celebrate the chancers and diverse, different people, who aren’t just like you. To support the many and those who wouldn’t normally get the chance. Some of the industry’s greats are taking up the gauntlet. Chatting to Laura Gregory, CEO and Founder of Great Guns, the Creative Circle find out why she is entering this year and how she got into the industry by accident …
Q> Why are you entering the Creative Circle this year?
LG> Creative Circle was the first advertising committee I served on, followed by D&AD. Since that moment, I have always been a supporter of the fact they have an ongoing commitment to investing in and educating talented people through the entry fees they collect. Every available penny goes back into the business - which is a breath of fresh air when compared to the more commercial global awards. It speaks volumes that industry icons like Sir John Hegarty are staunch supporters. The tide of creative talent willing to help newcomers is second to none and I always have confidence that the awards themselves not only go to the very best work but are divided into relevant categories that echo the time in which we are working.
Q> Did you always want to be in advertising?
LG> No. I actually wanted to be an undertaker. I’ve always been fascinated by death and the dark side - I guess that’s why I like horror films!
Q> What were you interested in at school/uni?
LG> I was interested in anything to do with science and numbers, but I also loved theatre and following great chefs. Perhaps that is why I love the movie, 'La Grande Bouffe'.
Q> How did you get into this career?
LG> By complete accident! I met a producer in Julie’s Wine Bar in Notting Hill one summer. Fortunately for me, his receptionist was about to go sailing around the world and he needed somebody to cover on reception for a few months. It was the craziest time - I was sucked in to the production world and never looked back.
Q> Were there any challenges in becoming what you are today?
LG> Yes, I always thought I was crap! A lack of confidence can always prove a challenge. It took me until I was 40 to realise I am pretty damn good at my job!
Q> What would you love to tell young people about this business?
LG> Don’t ever stop making tea. Nothing is impossible.
Q> What do you think can be improved at higher education levels to increase diversity in our industry?
LG> In order to inspire a diverse pool of students, there should be more diverse role models and mentors who teach at a higher level and in secondary schools. Young people are often encouraged to think about their careers early, and choices made when 14, 15 and 16 can affect future prospects. We need these diverse mentors to give students a more rounded perspective on what they can achieve and offer this connection much earlier in the curriculum.