Gillian Rightford takes the reins at ACA
Her priorities will be to implement the association’s approved growth strategy and to continue providing value for existing members
The Association for Communication & Advertising (ACA) has appointed Gillian Rightford, founder of communication and management consultancy Adtherapy, to the position of interim executive director following the departure of CEO Mathe Okaba in December 2023.
Rightford, who was an ACA board member for several years and has an extensive depth of industry experience, says her priorities in the position will be to implement the ACA’s approved growth strategy, which includes a member acquisition drive, and to continue providing value for existing members. She has also been tasked with finding a permanent CEO for the ACA.
“The focus of Adtherapy and my other business, The School of Thought, has always been to prove the value that creativity brings to business and to professionalise and build marketing and advertising capabilities. These are also some of the goals of the ACA,” says Rightford.
Given that finding and retaining talent is one of the biggest challenges facing the advertising industry, both locally and globally, it’s perhaps no surprise that she plans to grow the ACA’s internship programme and to partner with industry education bodies to build further capability and ensure that graduates are work ready.
Retaining talent is one of the biggest challenges facing the advertising industry, both locally and globally
“The industry needs to fill the gap between graduates looking to enter the industry and industry players looking for talent,” Rightford explains. “The industry has become increasingly more complex in recent years in terms of how it is integrated, siloed and structured. At the same time, the channels that agencies supply have also become more complex. The agency remuneration model is under pressure as agencies are asked to do more, faster and with fewer resources than ever before. In this environment, retaining talent is becoming more and more difficult.”
On a more positive note, Rightford adds that CEOs are starting to realise that creativity is a dollar multiplier. As they start to appreciate the value of creativity, they are pushing their chief marketing officers to produce more creative work. “This growing appreciation of creativity is likely to result in more opportunities for the industry,” says Rightford.
The big take-out: CEOs are starting the appreciate the value of creativity.
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