Haydn Townsend, Group CEO of the agency, approached Napier to further establish Wunderman Thompson as a formidable, creative brand and communications advertising agency that is focussed and driven to deliver novel business solutions for its clients.

Although a journalist by qualification, Napier says she recognised her calling to work in advertising more than 20 years ago. She adds, "I am living my dream. I’m excited about working for a global agency and look forward to being exposed to the thinking and the talented people who work within it."

"I truly believe Wunderman Thompson is the agency of the future. Fulfilling a national role and looking after multiple regional offices is the next step in my career. It makes my heart beat faster — in a good way," she says.

Napier’s career in advertising started in 2000 at TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Johannesburg. She managed blue-chip brands including MTN, Standard Bank, Pernod Ricard and Tiger Brands. Five years later, she, along with two partners, launched a boutique Johannesburg-based agency, Ireland/Davenport.

Over 11 years, the agency grew from the three founding partners to a staff complement of 130 people, servicing global and national brands including, among others, BMW, Investec, South African Tourism, National Geographic, Avis, Plascon and Vodacom.

By 2016, Napier was appointed marketing director of MR Price based in Durban, which afforded her an opportunity to gain experience on the client-side. However, she says that her deep passion for advertising and the opportunity to join an agency she had so long admired from afar saw her join The Hardy Boys as managing director in 2017.

Townsend adds, "She has a wealth of through-the-line experience in managing brands, both operationally and strategically, as well as in the management of integration of multidisciplined agencies and expertise. We’re thrilled to have her join our team."

Culture, Napier says, is the life-blood of an agency. She says that she is an advocate for fostering healthy internal agency cultures to encourage better performance and collaboration.

Apart from driving and fuelling the creative culture and narrative within Wunderman Thompson and its reputation in this regard, she adds that she is passionate about developing and nurturing talent in the industry, especially when it comes to up-and-coming female talent.

"I am deeply passionate about the development and upliftment of other women in the industry and try to provide them with the support they need to flourish in this field, which still tends to be male-dominated in South Africa," she concludes.

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