Sparking - Moving you forward

Do you want to show up more creatively for your clients and your colleagues, your family, and your friends?

Do you want to default to thinking about opportunity versus focusing just on problems?

Discovering Hope is full of proactive steps you can take right now, to achieve a more positive mindset or to help maintain the positivity you already have

Getting Positive reveals that more optimism is close at hand

Buy Books by Stuart Parkin at Amazon
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Sparkin Blog

SPARKIN is an executive recruitment agency with a difference. We care more about your optimum fit than about making a placement! We are focused on aiding and abetting your career progression and optimization. Our primary target audience is strategic planners of all persuasion. We work with allies in key centers in the United States and around the globe. Our experience is based around the importance of relationships and becoming an expert at building them and through them attaining personal and career goals.

Parkin Empathy Award Winner

Many congratulations to Quinn Husney, the newest Parkin ‘Empathy’ Award winner and the recipient of $1500 cash prize and three coaching sessions.
I spoke with Quinn and all the other students, a really thoughtful and dynamic group. Congratulations to all the students: Saad Al Abbassi, Mariona Iturrate, Luciana Gutsztat, Molly Brunett, Emma Stearns and Jennie Wang.
A big shout out to all the lecturers who I know from talking with the students, inspired and brought about newfound confidence:
Chris Kwak, RP Kumar, Mario Moiso, Christopher Owens, Yvette Quiazon, Kristen Knape, Tony Smith, Alejandro Oszjust and Imani Flowers.
At SPARKIN, we would like to see many more empaths in the world.
The ability to work seamlessly and effectively, starts with a determination to understand the perspective of others.
This ’empathetic’ gene is key for effective strategic problem solvers as it is for a functioning society!
This award was judged through input with both students and the lecturers, not the school.
A final thanks to Manolo Garcia, the fulcrum around which the boot camps happen.
#parkinempathyaward #MiamiAdSchool #inclusiveeducation #careeroptimisation #sparkinsearch #empathymatters
All 31 recipients:

The Great Agency Talent Crunch

The great agency talent crunch – It’s happening for two reasons:
1. Changed mindset of employees – As the attached article states, the events of the last 18 months have lead to ‘permanantly altered lifestyle changes.’ ie) In what I’ll call ‘the great awakening,’ many of us previously who had no time to contemplate our navels have had a chance to get life in to perspective and become clear about what we don’t want/what we can no longer tolerate, be it the commute or the lack of meritocracy, lack of diversity, or just the incessant meetings and pitching of new business.
2. Meaningful work/Positive use of time – Many of those that have left the agency world have left the business altogether but more have decided to freelance, they are waiting to see if the business will change/keeping their options open. They are waiting to see whether the agency world can become more sensitive to the needs of staff and their desire for personal growth and to have a positive daily experience versus being treated as expendible automatons in entities fixated on short term profit; They are hoping there will be more flexibility in working arrangements, more inclusive working environments, and hoping to find places that walk the talk of new business pitches, where the oft talked words, ‘our employees are our culture, are our business,’ are words that are lived and breathed. Time will tell.
#Talentcrunch #Awakening #Greaplacestowork

The number one reason strategists are leaving agencies

One key reason why employees are resigning in numbers is poor management, but what a difficult time to manage! And what truly exacerbates great managament is two agency dynamics that are putting strain on even the best leaders:
Agencies are financially too short term focused – Not just public owned agencies but many private ones too, that copy the public approach – there has not been enough reinvestment into the business. The employee experience has become way too transactional.
Agencies are pitching too much new business – Incessant new business pitching at agencies is a key reason why agencies lose so much business, which in turn needs to be replaced, versus focus on consistently bringing the best ideas to existing clients. This is bad for clients and overworked employees, whose jobs then become vulnerable. Constant uncertainty does not make for a great place to work and it makes it very difficult to make the investments that would help to
create an amazing place that individuals want to work in.
Many strategists, in the ‘great resignation,’ have through COVID 19, simply woken up with a clearer sense of what they will tolerate. And because of this, agencies have been hemorrhaging people.
Strategists deciding whether to work full time. Focus on two key things and you can have a decent experience:
Go to work for an agency that truly values what you do – Strategy
Go to an agency that has five quality people including a great: client, creative team, account lead and manager. If you have
those (whichever the agency) you can still have a good experience.
#strategyplanning #Careersuccess #Manager

Shepley Parkin Award / Kings College London

Congratulations to Nikki Kerderagi Small, the inaugural winner of the Shepley Parkin Award,

for second year medical students at Kings College Hospital London.

For the last several years we at SPARKIN have focused on promoting empathetic ability

in the media business but understanding the perspective of others is key for all areas of society,

one key example, medicine. To that end, we’re excited to announce a ten year commitment of

a thousand pounds per annum to promote the importance of empathy, by rewarding a medical

student that has proven themselves not simply to be bright but truly effective when it comes to

hearing/understanding others, so crucial for effective patient care. Read about the award and

recipient Nikki here.

The biggest Threat to Agencies and Your Jobs

Planners and strategists, “Agencies are scrambling to attract talent amid shortage.” The article summarizes that talent shortages exist because:
– Skills shortage – A lack of the right skills,
– Greater flexibility/virtual – ‘Talent’ wanting greater flexibility
– Burn out – employees wanting to get out of the business.
What the article doesn’t mention is the core reason for this talent shortage, a breakdown of the psychological contract,
a phrase coined decades past highlighting, ‘to maintain a positive employee-employer relationship employers pay particular attention to the ‘human side’ of a working relationship, rather than the purely commercial or transactional side.’
Yes, the problem for the business is short termism, which is why agencies increasingly use freelancers, treating people like commodities; Even when they are full time, (again due to short termism) there has been a chronic lack of willingness to train/invest in the next generation of strategists.
The good news – For any planner seeking their next career challenge, there are many great people in this business and some basic rules for identifying a great next career move for you, beyond that is, simply looking at the obvious names, this I’ll cover in my next newsletter.

Parkin Empathy Award Winner – Trevor Kroon

Congratulations to Trevor Kroon, ‘Derek Parkin Empathy Award’ recipient.
The ability to work seamlessly and effectively, starts with a determination and ability to effectively understand others. This learned ’empathetic’ ability is key for effective strategic problem solvers as it is for a functioning society!
It was a pleasure talking at length with all the students at the latest Miami Ad School Planning Bootcamp on Friday, and to announce the award winner.
I’m very much looking forward to working with Trevor, who will receive $1500 and three one-hour coaching sessions.
This award is judged by the students on the course as well as the instructors, not by the school or SPARKIN.

Congratulations to all of them for all their effort and notably Manolo Garcia for making the course seamlessly happen.
Around a Father’s Day weekend it was also a great personal gift to be able to present this award, in honor of my/mjjx&c’s father.
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Rekha Yadav

Creative Pressures and Positivity

Creativity typically requires a positive mindset and that is tough, particularly when you’re paid to be creative! “getting Positive’ aims to bring more positivity about.

Many congratulations to Mariana Crespo, the newest Parkin ‘Empathy’ Award winner and the 27th recipient of $1500 cash prize $500 of coaching sessions, the first just just completed!
Gandhi exhorted, ‘be the change in the world you want to see.’ At SPARKIN, we would like to see many more empaths in the world. The ability to work seamlessly and effectively, starts with a determination and ability to effectively understand others. This ’empathetic’ gene is key for effective strategic problem solvers as it is for an effective society! Boy could our world use many more people suspending their beliefs and genuinely trying to put themselves in the shoes of others!
The award is judged by the students on the course and the lecturers, not the school and not by me.
Congratulations to all the students: Brett Crockett, Jake Wagner, Amanda-Victoria Gonzalez, Rebeka Carson, Madison Stout, Stacy Aiello, and Olivia Chase and
congratulations also to all those adjunct professors/guest lecturers, who seek to give back/make a difference: Marta Insua, Juan Isaza, Dania Aguayo, Alejandro Oszust, Eric Pakurar, Yvette Quaizon, Luis Miranda, Luisa Liriano, Luis Camano, Christopher Owens, Kelsey Damon, Chris Millichap, Bruno Cunha, Fabio Seidl, RP Kumar, Jen Clarke, Chris Kwak, and Patrick White.
A big thanks as ever to Enrique (Henry) Ahumada, for making the NY Strategic Planning bootcamp happen.
#parkinempathyaward#MiamiAdSchool#inclusiveeducation #careeroptimisation #careers#sparkinsearch#empathymatters #diversitymatters #inclusion

Career Effectiveness = Mindset Change

There’s no such thing as a career any more. Not quite true but certainly, rapidly changing times require a changed mindset. Think (whether employee or not) that you’re managing your own business: Reputation/time/problem solving expertise.
#ownbusiness #careerchanges #mindsetmastery

Discovering Hope

Particularly in 2020, how often do you hear people talk about hope and being hopeful or not. We all want things to be better, to be normal again but while hope is key for all of us, being hopeful is far from a passive exercise.
Published December 9th, ‘Discovering Hope,’ is a small book, full of practical ideas and actions which we can all take both to rediscover and maintain a more hopeful outlook. Enjoy
(Available in the UK from Amazon, Waterstones and other leading retailers and the U.S from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, amongst others.)
#discoveringhopebook #proactive #takingaction