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“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

– George A. Moore, The Brook Kerith

I’ll keep this relatively short.

My last day at Calder Bateman was in the summer of 2015. My first day back was March 1 of this year. Here’s why I left, and, more importantly, why I came back.

I love advertising agencies. They’re alive. They move in coordination with all their different departments to solve complex challenges. They expand and contract, and attract some of the brightest minds you will ever meet.

Within them, copywriters and art directors often team up in partnerships. When the right partnerships happen, the work that follows is amazing. So when my art director went on maternity leave, I took it as an opportunity to set out and learn more about these living breathing beasts we call ad agencies.

I came. I saw. I jonquered. I got to work with some amazingly talented people. And I learned just how deep the well of talent in our town is. I expanded my knowledge base, and got a clearer understanding of what I want from my career.

My experiences in the vast expanse of Edmonton advertising provided me the opportunity to grow as a copywriter, creative director and leader within the agency setting. And it was the positive, progressive changes happening at CB that began to beckon me back.

Reinvigorated leadership

The partners at this agency are in a league of their own. And no, I’m not talking about Gina Davis and Tom Hanks (I may be dating myself with that reference). Frank Calder and Margaret Bateman are some of the kindest, most insightful people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. They’re generous with their time and wisdom, and they inspire confidence in their teams and clients alike. Their selection of Catrin Owen as CB CEO was such a smart and calculated move. To people on the outside, including myself, one couldn’t help but wonder what exciting things would happen next. Then the agency went on to release the globally embraced Pride Tape and the CLIO Award winning HIV Tonight campaign. Okay, so good things.

In my bio on this website, I start off by saying that I believe in the power of strategic creativity for good. That’s not advertising bio pageantry—it’s deeply important to me. And no other agency in the city has shown a commitment to this better than Calder Bateman.

Chemistry is key


When I was here last, my art director partner was Nicola Pringle. She’s now the creative director at the shop. Another bold leadership move that I’m a huge fan of. During my first kick at the CB can, we created some of the best work of my career. Nicola and I have an undeniable creative chemistry that can’t be replicated. We know how to push the other to be better. We know that great ideas can start as jokes. We know how important it is to immerse ourselves in our crafts. We’re good friends, and we know all those things together isn’t that common.

I came back for culture and creativity. I came back for leadership and friendship. I came back because I believe in every person on this talented team and the good we can accomplish together. I came back because there’s no place like home.

I quit. Now I’m back. Let’s get to work.

About the author

Jon Manning
Jon believes in using strategic creativity for good. He’s seen its power at work, and he’s been the one to make it work on numerous occasions. A family man at heart, Jon brings a collaborative spirit to every project he’s on, helping to create the type of environment that allows for everyone—clients and coworkers alike—to produce simple, profound solutions to complex challenges.

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