<< Back to the news list

One of the benefits of The Union’s longstanding membership of Worldwide Partners, our network of more than 70 agencies in 43 countries, is the opportunity for staff to experience working in other agencies and in other countries – to ‘talent exchange’ within the network. In the past staff have travelled as far away as Helsinki and Connecticut, and recently one of our copywriters spent time in San Francisco, California.

Christine Stamanti, a copywriter in Union Direct, recently went to Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) in San Francisco, a highly creative leading independent US ad agency, for a month-long talent exchange.

Christine is now back in the UK, and she explained why she was interested in the exchange: “I liked the idea of experiencing what it’s like to work within a different culture, and at a different type of agency. Learning happens when we step out of our comfort zones, so I wanted to give myself this challenge, to try something completely different. I looked at the work BSSP do and I thought there was so much inspiration and fresh thinking I would take from this. Beyond work, this sounded like a really intriguing “sliding doors” type of life experience. You get a proper glimpse into what it’s like to live and work in a new city, new country, new culture, with the comfort of knowing you’ll always come back home.”

Christine from Union Direct in San Francisco

Christine Stamanti enjoyed her time in San Francisco.

Gus Chalmers, Managing Director at Union Direct, commented: “When we were planning our overall business approach to 2018 one key theme was how we could make Union Direct an even better place to work. From a selfish, commercial perspective, how could we retain our top talent and how could we begin to build a reputation as a great employer so we attract great people who want to work here? One initiative we thought would help us achieve this was to tap into the WPI network by giving one star team member the opportunity to spend a month working at leading edge agency in a different market; an opportunity for them not just to feel rewarded but an opportunity too for them to learn new ways of working that they could bring back to Union Direct and to inspire us all.”

Patrick Kiss, President of BSSP, said: “As a member of Worldwide Partners, it made perfect sense for BSSP to participate. We’ve worked with wonderful partners around the world and have gotten a ton from the network. This is a natural extension of being a good partner – actually having someone from overseas in our office to get a feel for how we work.”

Christine enjoyed the experience, and has returned to Edinburgh with a new perspective: “Work life was quite similar to The Union – with the only difference that I had enough time to really focus on one project at the time, without being pulled in different directions, or getting caught up with rounds of amends on ongoing jobs, as you would at home. It was lovely to get that breathing space to make the most of working on some great briefs. I worked alongside a few other creative teams on each brief, so most days were a mix of sitting down to write or think, and then getting together with the other teams to brainstorm, or ‘jam’. ‘Jam’ is my new favourite adopted Americanism!”