This week I found out what 5 volunteers, with lots of passion could achieve in their spare time…

….the inaugural Marketing Academy Inspire event: The Art of Curiosity: why Marketing and Marketers matter!

We had 100 attendees, 15 speakers, 4 flamingos (essential for any event!) and most importantly raised enough money to hire an apprentice for The Marketing Academy Apprenticeship Programme.


After the event I reflected on what I’ve learnt over the past few months (so Marketing Academy I know!).

1. The impact of a diverse team. The 5 of us working on the event all have different experiences and skills which added so much value to our ideas and delivery. The one thing that did unite us all is our gender – so perhaps as Katie Vanneck-Smith said on the day ‘for women the time really is now’

2. Aim high and ask for help. I think you always achieve more if you set your sights high – of course you don’t reach everything but you get further as a result. Plus don’t be afraid to ask others for help – the worst that can happen is someone says no, and even if they do they will often say ‘no but have you considered this alternative?’ In my experience the more specific you are about how people can help the better your chance of success!

3. Fun. Putting on an event from scratch is very hard work – but when you’re doing something you’re passionate about, with people who share that same passion you can overcome any adversity that comes your way ( I would also advise contingency planning!) and I had so much fun!

If you missed the day or attended and want to share the event with your team you can see the brilliant Bro’s photos here: Marketing-Academy-Inspire-2014

Thanks to all the team (Niamh, Lois, Tracey, Virginie, Cam), our extra helpers on the day, our sponsors and our speakers. Everyone donated everything for free which was amazing as we could give even more money to the apprenticeship scheme. To quote a tweet from the day ‘we are all leaders, we all have the opportunity to rise to a leadership role’

Looking forward to #MAInspire2 now!

Sarah x

(Written by Sarah Ellis, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Society at Sainsbury’s and Co-Founder of AmazingIf)


The Scholarship – a 9 month, free, part time program for 30 of the UK’s fastest rising stars in Marketing, Advertising, Media and Communications.

The Fellowship – Equips CMOs and Marketing Directors with the tools, knowledge and insight to make the move onto Boards and into General Management / MD / CEO roles.

12 month full paid Marketing Apprenticeship for young adults who because of challenging backgrounds, lack qualifications or poor life choices are normally overlooked for this kind of work experience