Synergy Spotlight

This month we welcome Accenture’s Head of Sponsorship, Julie Alexander, to the Spotlight. Julie is responsible for Accenture’s innovative sponsorship and hospitality portfolio working with partners such as British Triathlon and the National Theatre.


1. Your career in 1 sentence?

A varied career with roles both in-house and agency side in multiple disciplines, specialising in sponsorship.

2. What is the highlight of your career to date?
Jumping on a plane to Tokyo to sell in an idea to Sony HQ around the FIFA World Cup – what a city, what an experience!

3. Describe yourself in 3 words
Open-minded - I like to try new things and see where the road takes me; determined - I don't give up easily; fun - it's all about balance for me.

4. What is the key to your success?
A good mix of personal and professional experiences but ultimately focusing on what I enjoy - it's much easier to be good at something you like doing.

5. Who inspired you and why?
My 101 year old grandpa - he grafted all his life to build a successful business from the ground up with total humility and determination.

6. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don't get too focused on what everyone else is doing, keep focus on you and your own personal development and goals.

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Learn from your mistakes - they'll help you more than your successes will!

Synergy Spotlight

Our next installment of Synergy Spotlight is here! We talk to Ruth Holdaway who leads the fantastic Women in Sport charity. Women in Sport are empowering women and girls through sport and transforming the sport sector; their vision is to create a society where gender equality exists in every sphere.

1. Your career in 1 paragraph?

Driving social change through great campaigns and communications. After some interesting internships with the likes of The World Health Organisation, the BBC (producing Newsnight) and in the U.S. Senate, I started out as an NHS manager, with operational, strategic planning and change management roles in hospitals, Health Authorities and latterly in a Cancer Network. I then moved to the voluntary sector where I found my home. I’ve had communications, campaigns, fundraising and service delivery leadership roles with Breakthrough Breast Cancer (now Breast Cancer Now), Prostate Cancer UK and Women’s Aid as well as doing some consultancy and voluntary work along the way, including being a Team Leader Games Maker at Wimbledon during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

2. What is the highlight of your career to date?

There are just too many to mention – I’ve been incredibly privileged! On a professional level I’m proud of things like having successfully lobbied for the 30% gender diversity target to be included in the Code for Sports Governance, rebranding WSFF as Women in Sport, increasing awareness of prostate cancer across the UK by 70%, and achieving a maximum two week wait for breast cancer patients enshrined in Government policy and delivered in all 5 of the hospitals I looked after. Personally, I’ve had some crazy moments of work madness: I sold raffle tickets for Breakthrough at the TV Quick Awards and danced with the cast of Coronation Street at the after show party, I’ve delivered presentations around the world, I did a day of radio interviews with Max Beesley’s Dad(!) I ran away from Joseph Fiennes when I was supposed to brief him on breast cancer complementary therapies because I was too shy to meet him, and I saw Andy Murray win the Gold medal at the London Olympics. Probably the biggest highlights in my current role have been cheering on England to win the Cricket World Cup at Lords this year, holding the Rugby World Cup with Clare Balding and Sarah Hunter in 2014, and meeting my hero, Judy Murray, which I’ve been lucky enough to now do several times.

3. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Focused, Energetic, and quite Grumpy first thing in the morning!

4. What is the key to your success?

What success?! I’ve worked hard, I’ve ‘leaned in’, I’ve made mistakes and learnt from them and I’ve been prepared to volunteer to take on more work than I can really manage in order to learn and to prove myself. Success is about hard graft and resilience I think – be positive, keep moving forward, put the time in and don’t give up.

5. Who inspired you and why?

My inspiration is my former boss at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Baroness Delyth Morgan. She’s AMAZING! She gave me my first role in a charity, for which I shall be forever grateful. She nurtured me and she’s one of the most effective leaders I have ever known. She has a blend of focus, toughness and kindness which I have found impossible to replicate but I continue to aspire to.

6. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t take things personally.

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

I think I’d just want to give myself more confidence – I’ve always struggled with this. And I’d definitely tell myself to eat healthy food and do more exercise!

Synergy Spotlight

As the Women’s Rugby World Cup kicks off today and the hype around the Red Roses ramp up, we’ve been talking to the RFU’s Director of Digital, Marketing and Communications – Joanna Manning-Cooper about her experience in the sports industry. Read August’s Spotlight is here.

1. Your career in a paragraph?

+20 years in front line communications and marketing roles in fmcg, media and sport

2. The highlight of your career to date?

Probably London 2012 – I was Head of Media and PR and it was a once in a lifetime project to be part of. But I’ve enjoyed all my roles.

3. Please describe yourself in 3 words.

Dreaming of sunshine

4. What is the key to your success?

You can’t achieve anything without hard work.

5. Who inspired you and why?

Marjorie Scardino (I was Director of Communications at the Financial Times when she ran Pearson). She was always brave, imaginative and decent.

6. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid of what’s on the other side of the mountain. Something my wonderful Mum said many a time, and , as always, she was right.

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Enjoy this special time before real life responsibilities kick in.

Synergy Spotlight

The 2017 ICC Women's World Cup, the oldest and most prestigious international women's cricket tournament, is back on home soil after 24 years and England have booked their place in the final at Lord’s on Sunday. They will be challenging for the trophy in front of a capacity crowd of more than 26,500, with the ICC having delivered on their bold commitment to achieve a sell-out.

At Synergy we recognise how important it is to not only hero the women on the pitch but also the women behind the scenes making it all happen.  So we are delighted that this month our spotlight is on Zarah Al-Kudcy, Head of Marketing for ICC Global Events.

1. Your career in 1 sentence/1 paragraph?

From communications in a sports agency (Fast Track), to communications and marketing at a governing body down under (Athletics Australia), to marketing in the world of broadcast (Sky Sports) to global event marketing (Rugby World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Women’s World Cup).

2. What is the highlight of your career to date?

Being part of the team that delivered the most successful Rugby World Cup in history. And now being part of the team that sold-out Lord’s for the ICC Women’s World Cup Final!

4. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Motivated. Motivator. Sport.

5. What is the key to your success?

I’m obsessed with sport! We never stop learning from different sports, different markets and different people.

6. Who inspired you and why?

I can’t pick one person, partly because I’m indecisive but also because so many people have inspired me over the years. From my Mum who always told me I could do anything (even when I told her I was going to make Wenger sign me!) to the colleagues I’ve had over the years who are now great friends. And of course, some of the sportsmen and women I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

7. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

At risk of being a cliché, I have always been a sucker for a marketing campaign and when I was younger I was really struck by Nike’s ‘Make It Happen’ – it’ stuck with me ever since.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be patient and worry less! Everything happens for a reason.

Synergy Spotlight

1. Your career in one paragraph?

I have coached since I was 16 in Australia. After retiring I wanted to give back to the sport that gave me such amazing opportunities so I got involved with the GB U19 Programme in 2012. In 2013 I took over as Head Coach and in 2016 moved to the Women's team. This year I will lead both programmes.

2. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Committed, innovative and involving

3. What is the key to your success?

Having a great team around me who compliment my strengths and support my weaknesses. Together we are creating a positive culture that we believe to be successful.

4. Who inspired you?

My mum; a ball of endless energy and still playing softball every week at 67 years of age.

5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

'Pick your battles to win the war'

6. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Spend less time worrying about what other people think of you as you will never make everyone happy.