Guiding senior clients
Good leaders make their presence felt beyond the agency, and I could tell you stories about how I do that. But even better, I’ll let my colleague Shahid Quadri, owner of Shahid Quadri Design, give you his take:
“From 2013-2017 I ran a design agency that specialized in helping executives use the fundamentals of storytelling to make deeper connections when they presented. This was a different animal from the work Neil and I conventionally partnered on - advertising and interactive design. Yet I knew he would be able knock it out of the park despite those areas being outside his core competencies. He was integral to the company’s success. He didn’t disappoint.
Presentations require a deep, sustained collaboration with the client. Neil did much more than help come up with inspired concepts and write compelling copy - although he did a lot of that (exceptionally fast). He was also able to put the client at ease when often, in this highly collaborative journey, clients were way out of their comfort zone. He did this by employing a combination of humour and a lightning-fast strategic mind. He could distill and argue concepts in a way that made the client feel re-assured and confident. This is key as a presentation lives or dies on the delivery, and the client truly needs to own what we create for them.
Most of our presentation work was with management consultants who were pitching every conceivable industry and service. Neil was exceptional at grasping the big picture quickly; he has a breadth of experience in many industries and a solid understanding of business in general. So concepting with Neil at the 30,000 foot level was always fertile. But he was also at ease in the weeds. When needed, he could hold a nervous client’s hand and help her distill a slide filled top to bottom with 9pt text into a few words, a couple pithy lines, a diagram - whatever was best for the audience.
Neil puts the audience first and he knows they hate mediocrity as much as he does. He pushes back on weak ideas and pushes people, including me, to dig a little deeper in service of concepts that will have deep resonance with the audience. He's the best kind of colleague. He made me look good and my most important clients would ask for Neil by name. He’s always my first choice and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes yours.”