Ad Chat - Dena Walker

We're kicking off our first Ad Chat of October with Dena Walker, Digital Strategist at Irish International in Dublin, Ireland. Follow her on Twitter at @curlydena or keep up with her at her blog at

And now, on with the questions...

What's your favorite funny story about yourself?
As a young Account Exec, I once had to dress up as a giant sperm & run, with er, purpose, at Tamara Ingram, the then CEO of McCann-Erickson UK.

What piece of art (movie, book, music, painting, etc) has influenced you most? How or why?
During a spell of self-doubt I came across a story about Michelangelo who, sometime during the last few years of his life, wrote "Ancora Imparo" in the margins of one of his sketches. It means, "Yet I am learning". That spoke volumes to me then. I realised it was OK to still be learning; we all are. I loved it so much I have it tattooed on my forearm as a reminder to go easy on myself sometimes.

Who was your favorite mentor and why?
Mark Congiusta ( - He saw enough in me to give me a break. He strikes the perfect balance of teacher, friend, boss and general giver of inspiration. He took a punt on me and I'll forever be indebted to him for that.

What's one thing that excites you about the future of advertising?
That the rule book has been torn up. The future of advertising isn't just about advertising anymore. It's fragmented and complicated and therefore rife with opportunities to do something really special.

If you could meet with anyone in history (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Stephen Fry - We'd drink hot Vimto, drive around in his cab, watch an Oscar Wilde play & then he'd introduce me to his mate Hugh Laurie, who would fulfill my 13 year old self's dream of getting a massive snog from Wooster. Then we'd all re-enact the Hey Jude song from "A bit of Fry & Laurie". I think the "why?" speaks for itself, no?

What’s your favorite website/blog, and why?
Lately, I have to admit that Percolate ( has become a brilliant source of news. For inspiration and thought provoking content, at the moment I am really enjoying Brain Pickings (

What's your trick to break out of a creative block?
Usually it starts with profuse amounts of swearing and tea drinking. Get away from whatever you're trying to do and do something that requires no brainpower for a while - often for me, it's a walk with headphones in & music turned up loud.

Who is your advertising hero and why?
I'm fickle, so they tend to change regularly. Two that I think are consistently brilliant are Faris Yakob and Gareth Kay. I'd give anything to get to pick their brains over a pint or two of Guinness.

Tell us one of the things on your bucket list.
I'd love to work in Asia at some point. So much innovation is coming from Asia at the moment and I'd love to be a part of that. And have easy access to obscene amounts of xiaolongbao.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
The destination rarely looks like you thought it would, when you started the journey. And it's probably much, much better for it. Stay flexible, keep learning, embrace change and you won't go far wrong.

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Jill Spradley Associate Creative Director at 160over90
Brian Bronaugh President at Mullen, Pittsburgh, PA
Bo Hellberg, Swedish ECD in France, at Brave and Billington Cartmell, Paris
Jane Goldman Creative Director/Copywriter & Strategist, Boston, MA
Jonah Otieno - Executive Creative Director 5ive Ltd, Nairobi
Anne-Cécile Tauleigne ECD at JWT Paris
Esther Clerehan, Headhunter, Sydney, Australia
Ad chat: Manuel Bordé Creative copy at BBDO Dubai
Rance Randle Art Director at TBWA\Chiat\Day\LA
Åsk 'Dabitch' Wäppling the force behind Adland
Dave Trott creative mischief chief
Arnie DiGeorge Executive Creative Director of RR Partners
Andy Kinsella Innovation Director at Glue Isobar
Koert Bakker Director of Strategy at Victor & Spoils
Evan Brown, Sr. Copywriter at TBWA\Chiat\Day
Dena Walker, Digital Strategist at Irish International in Dublin, Ireland
Bernie Watt, copywriter at Make, in Sydney, Australia
Ron Smrczek, Executive Creative Director of TAXI Europe
Vincent Vella, Creative Director - Grey Paris, Euro RSCG and Publicis.
Gideon Amichay, Creative Chairman of Shalmor Avnon Amichay Y&R Tel Aviv
Richard Tseng, Freelance Copywriter at CP+B
Claudiu Florea, Managing Partner - Wunderkid, Romania
Snorre Martinsen creative at Saatchi & Saatchi Oslo
Laura Jordan Bambach, Executive Creative Director LBi
Simon White Creative Lead from Rapp, London
Richard Gorodecky Executive Creative Director at Amsterdam Worldwide
Ray Page Creative Director at Tribal DDB
Adam Pierno of Off Madison Ave.
Edward Boches of Mullen
Dirk Singer of Rabbit, UK
Gareth Kay of Goodby, Silverstein and Partners
Tim Brunelle of Hello Viking
Rob Schwartz of TBWA\Chiat\Day
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