I remember my first day at Advent. Not quite like it was yesterday but not far off.
It was Coventry City versus Manchester City at Highfield Road in the Premier League on New Year’s Day 2001. They drew. Marc Edworthy scored for Coventry.
My second day? Watching Coventry boxer Neil Simpson pick himself up off the canvass to win the Commonwealth light heavyweight title at the Skydome Arena in a thrilling fight.
Not a bad start to my working life.
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about the third day but those first few weeks, months and years were a brilliant grounding – my writing was honed (some may still question that), my soft skills were brought up to scratch and I soon got to grips with the fact that tie-slippage wasn’t allowed at Advent!
We were founded by Adam Dent and Mike Dale and we were completely rooted in the best journalist standards – working to deadlines and hitting them, making sure the story was not buried at the bottom of a press release and trying, at all costs, to avoid jargon.
We’ve kept those foundations but have, of course, had to move with and stay ahead of the times when it comes to social media, the changing face of the traditional media and new and differing requirements of clients.
Over the years, we’ve employed some fantastic people and it’s great to see the Advent alumni doing so well in a whole range of careers – from a producer at Sky Sports News through to comms roles in major organisations.
“Why don’t you look to move?” is the question you always get asked when others leave for pastures new (which is not the name of a law firm, as someone once commented in the office).
The truth is, I enjoy it. The clients vary. Some I’ve worked with for more than a decade which gives you chance to get to know the individuals as colleagues – even friends – while some are fresh and new and present a new challenge.
A new client is, in many ways, like a new job. We were asked, nearly two years ago, to raise the profile of Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and it’s been one of the most satisfying projects to work on in my time here and has gleaned local, regional and national profile for the city.
Equally, there’s just as much satisfaction in helping a long-standing clients find new and fresh ways to tell their story such as last year’s Go For Growth campaign with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
That, and working with a great group of people here at Advent as well as some fantastic media professionals across the region, is what continues to make me tick.
So I was proud and humbled when Adam asked if I’d like to be a director of Advent – a company he’s built virtually from scratch, hopefully with a small contribution from me. Here’s to the next 17 years and more memorable moments to come.
Pictured: Lee Corden