My creative cup was filled to the brim over late September, early October when I attended the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI Open) in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and then travelled onto the UK to spend time with Noble UK and US teams.

It was a busy schedule, and while client work took a (slight) back seat, the awareness and celebration of creativity was inspiring, and it was great to meet the growing team for Noble UK's 5th birthday celebrations.

AGI Open in Auckland NZ, paula Scher on stage with Stefan Sagmeister

AGI Open - Sagmeister and Scher chew the fat

Part 1 – AGI Open, Auckland

The AGI Open was 2 days jam-packed with curated talks from over 30 Global Design Leaders. Each year members of the AGI gather in a different city around the globe to meet and participate in talks and events that extend knowledge and encourage students and designers, some of whom will go on to become members in the future.

The quality and scale was a big deal here, so I jumped at the chance to go. Over the course of two days attendees we heard from many of our heros such as Paula Scher, Brian Collins, Stefan Sagmeister, Kris Sowersby, Eddie Opara and Astrid Stavro.

Normally two days filled with talks leave you feeling tired, but this was just like being plugged into a global hotbed of ideas. Hearing the different stories of ups and downs of agency life, the amazing brands created, the love of life and provocative side projects, it just totally energised. If you get a chance to attend an AGI Open near you in the future, I fully recommend.

Part 2 – Noble Performs 5th Birthday

Where do I start! I'm really fortunate to be a Director and still very connected to the teams in the UK. It means regular (very early) board meetings, but it's great to help in any way I can the teams over there.

Noble Performs is a UK/US digital performance agency, with a Board from the mothership in the US Noble Studios, and also members of Mr B & Friends. As part of being a globally connected company there are regular events and board gatherings which if we can we try and attend.

Directors of Noble Performs

Directors of Noble Performs - can't be too serious 🙂

This time we were celebrating Noble's 5th birthday in the UK. The strength and capability of the company has gone ballistic in those 5 years, under Managing Partner Kate Sikora's stewardship and with the help of the leadership team of Andy Newman and Tom Price.

Along with various strategy and workshop events over the week, the highlights were the Be Better Bristol event and the Institute of Directors event in London celebrating the many fabulous Directors leading businesses across the UK. Kate Sikora took home a highly commended in the SME category for the Institute of Directors (IoD)  which is a fantastic achievement. I'm sure I speak for the Board of Noble Performs that we're proud to have her lead our company, and personally to have made the trip, it was perfect to share this proud moment with her husband Matt and Chairman, Peter Gandolfi.

Kate Sikora at the IOD awards event in London's Pall Mall, with Matt Sikora our Chairman Peter Gandolfi.

Kate Sikora at the IOD awards event in London's Pall Mall, with Matt Sikora our Chairman Peter Gandolfi.

Group of Mr B & Friends employees at a gathering

Of course any trip to the UK is not complete without this lot! Love these guys! Some of the Mr B & Friends crew, old and new. Thanks also to Mr B for putting me up over the course of my stay.

I guess going back to the title of this post, it could be seen as an indulgent exercise heading back to the UK for a such a short stint. But what we do is all about relationships, connections and partnerships. I hadn't met a lot of the new team at Noble and the recent merged Co Future Kings and by being there was lucky enough to connect with them and to win new projects with UK businesses. So, put yourself out there, continue learning and growing and reach out.

Hybrid, remote or back in the office, personal connections are still the best.