What would I modify: Jo Arden, Publicis • Poke

As part of the CR series, which examines what changes creatives would make to their industry after this forced period of lockdown and reflection, we speak to Jo Arden, the newly appointed Chief Strategy Officer of Publicis • Poke

Getting your job started is inevitably nerve-wracking, but putting your teeth in a new role and building relationships with new colleagues is another challenge. This was Jo Arden's responsibility when she joined Publicis • Poke as Chief Strategy Officer earlier this year.

Arden's fascination with strategy and human behavior began during her Masters in Marketing at the University of Huddersfield. She worked at agencies such as Iris and 23red before joining MullenLowe London in 2017 where she worked on campaigns for Bupa, the British Heart Foundation and the NHS, among others.

Arden's appointment as Poke's Public Strategy Officer • Poke came before the lockdown began, but she didn't officially join the agency until June. As she fits into her new role, CR talks to her about onboarding during a pandemic, the future of flexible working, and why the industry needs to support each other as much as possible in these turbulent times.

Above: British Heart Foundation Boy campaign courtesy of MullenLowe London. Above: Jo Arden

WFH blocked I found lockdown really, really difficult. My biggest challenge was how long it all takes. I miss getting into a room, talking about ideas, literally having the work in my hands, shaping and tinkering as part of a team. I think we're all slowly finding ways to work together differently, but I lack the pace and energy of an agency, that kinetic feeling when people are busy together. Getting to know people also takes more time. Lockdown made me appreciate how many relationships are built when I share a brew, go out to lunch together, and know a person's body language when they're overwhelmed. It's hard to replicate at Zoom – I'm really excited to finally get to know my team!