26 is all about you. We want everyone to feel they can have a say and influence the shape of 26 to come. We’re just here to help it happen. The eight of us who originally conceived 26 are still very much on board. We’ve since been joined by several other directors, who’ve brought their own strengths and style to the table, helping us maintain our momentum and enthusiasm. This is who we are.
I’m a musician (from way back) that works across business, education and the arts. I bring all those worlds together in my two businesses. The first helps teams transform their performance through a clarity of purpose and a more creative spirit. The second is Eyes Wide Opened, helping people understand their unique combination of skills, personality, passion, ambition and energy.
What’s your day job?
MD at Quietroom.
What’s the point of you?
Why did you join 26?
Great projects. Great talks. Great people.
What do you do on the management board?
Help run events and projects. Drink coffee and eat biscuits.
What are you reading?
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
Tell me a secret.
I’m a writer, editor and author. I write novels about lightning, books about brands, ghostwritten marketing books that I can’t talk about and poetry. A former journalist, I now write and run workshops for clients like Sainsbury’s, Unilever, Diageo, BP and DHL. I’m the editor of The Marketing Society and as the editor of 26, she is responsible for our monthly newsletter.
Elise’s communications agency word-design offers a rare mix of brand strategy, design and writing services. She teaches creative writing at UAL and Arvon, and is External Examiner for Falmouth University’s Professional Writing MA. Honoured as an Edinburgh International Film Festival Trailblazer, Elise is script-consultant and producer of award-winning indie Britfilm SAXON. Her internationally published books include non-fiction and three novels.
Fiona is a freelance writer who started off as a journalist, writing features for The Guardian and columns for The Times and Esquire magazine. She now spends most of her working life writing print and digital content. She enjoys writing for musical clients (like the Paris Opera House) and charities (including Save the Children) and musical charities (Help Musicians). She’s also very happy to be paid for writing about shopping (blogs for Broadgate shopping centre).
Fiona joined 26 in 2003 and has been involved in a number of 26 projects, including 26 Treasures at the V&A, the National Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Childhood. In her spare time, she plays the harp.
For more details, please see www.wordspring.co.uk
Heather is founder and director at Enough Said. Since the turn of the century, she’s been helping businesses use words to make a difference – to their people, their customers, their bottom line. She’s a writer, trainer and consultant on tone of voice/brand language/verbal identity. (How ironic that we wordy types can’t decide what to call it.) She lives happily by the sea in Brighton.
John Simmons is a founder director of 26, an independent consultant on brands and language, and the author of many books on writing for business including 26 Ways of Looking at a Blackberry. He runs the Dark Angels programme on creative writing for business with Stuart Delves and Jamie Jauncey (with whom he wrote Room 121). His latest book Leaves is a novel published in 2015
Margaret is a brand marketer with a particular focus on the way businesses communicate with employees. By integrating a brand’s core purpose with employee objectives and igniting ceased ownership, brands can influence and engage an internal audience, building a strong employee bond with the business, its goals and the go-to-market strategy. She has extensive experience with a diverse selection of brands and sectors with a proven track record for creating strategic approaches that deliver effective messages and associations.
Martin is one of the founders of ‘The Storytellers’ and works with leading companies in the UK, Europe and North America, helping them shape and share their business stories. He’d previously worked in Australia, North and South America and the Far East, latterly as Far East Director of Marks and Spencer. Returning home, he guided M&S’s marketing function and external communication, through a critical period. Martin is an honorary member of the Marketing Group of Great Britain and Chairman of 26.
I am a founder of Acacia Avenue, a research and strategy consultancy. Prior to that, my career had been in bookselling, culminating as Marketing Director at Waterstones, I’ve been a member of 26 since it started, and on the board since 2004. I always say that I write for a life, not a living, and 26 fulfils that part of me perfectly.
Neil Baker is a freelance writer, communications consultant and workshop facilitator. He helps people to tell their stories, share ideas and make connections – something he’s been doing for over 20 years. Neil has contributed to many 26 projects – including 26 Treasures of Childhood, with the V&A Museum of Childhood, and 26 Characters, with the Story Museum in Oxford. His short fiction is widely published and he has read or performed his work to audiences on stage, on the street and at festivals. He is a member of Lapidus, an organization that promotes the practice of writing for wellbeing and the benefits it brings.
Sue Evans is a freelance writer and researcher, and an oral history fan. She is interested in design and its influence on the world around us, and has a degree in the theory and practice of art and design. Her work covers commentary, insights, discussion papers, and design standards and guidelines for creative agencies and their clients. She is based in London and has also lived in Hong Kong. Sue recently helped run 26 Pairs of Eyes, an exhibition in collaboration with 26 and the Foundling Museum. Twitter: @sueevans2.
Well I’m a broadcaster by background and worked for the BBC for longer than I care to remember. I left when they wanted to move me to Salford (nothing against the North, honest – I’ve spent a lot of my time in lovely cold damp climes but it just didn’t fit in family-wise at the time). Now I do freelance journalism, education writing and communications work (though I’m not sure about the c-word as a specialism – I reckon all of life is about communicating). I’ve also helped to set up an education charity, National Numeracy, and although I still love words more than numbers, I like to think I’m doing something to break down prejudices between two cultures.