MAY 15, 2023

Ten Questions with Sheryl Thomson, Creative Director at Union Direct


Sheryl Thomson, Creative Director at Union Direct in Scotland and Worldwide Partners Next Gen Council member, has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the industry working above, below, and all the way through the line. Growing brands both locally and nationally, she thrives on solving problems and developing robust strategies. With a clear head under pressure and a rallying spirit, Sheryl creates an environment that allows ideas and people to grow. And aside from that, as a bubbly Yorkshire lass, you will normally hear her laugh before you even see her! 

We asked Sheryl ten questions to learn more about her background, what excites her about the advertising industry, and what independence means to her.  

WPI >> Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

Sheryl >> I grew up in a small seaside town on the east coast of England. And I now live in a remote area in the Scottish Highlands.

WPI >> How did you end up in the advertising industry?

Sheryl >> I always looked up to my dad who was a designer. I used to love seeing the work he had created  and wanted to follow in his footsteps. I left school and did a HND in art and design in which I got to try out advertising and I flipping loved it. So I went on to study it further, before moving to Edinburgh and demanding a meeting with my first, and best, Creative Director Dave Mullen.

WPI >> What excites you about the advertising industry? What pisses you off?

Sheryl >> What excites me:  Sounds cliche but it's that every day is different. I also love seeing the effect your work has on people. When you see the results and it’s made a difference it's brilliant. What pisses me off? Bad briefs. Shit in, shit out! 

WPI >> What was your first job and what did it teach you?

Sheryl >> My first job was selling fruit and veg in a market stall. It taught me that wet bananas stink and mental arithmetic was not a strong point of mine. But I can pull a crowd by shouting 4 for a £1 on Braeburns. My first job in Advertising, however, was like everything falling into place. I had found my people. I learnt coffee would be my friend for all the late nights. And that seeing a child carrying a lunchbox that I had designed as part of a campaign, would make all those late nights worth it.

WPI >> What is a book, movie, TV show or podcast that you find inspiring?

Sheryl >> I think all genders in, or joining, the world of advertising should read  Brandsplanning: Why Marketing is (Still) Sexist and How to Fix It by Jane Cunningham and Philippa Roberts. It's bloody brilliant and bloody scary at the same time. 

WPI >> What is one of the favorite projects you have worked on at your agency?

Sheryl >> I would have to say Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. Being able to help contribute to making a difference for something so important is amazing. 

WPI >> How has Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally?

Sheryl >> Gosh, it's been a complete change. Now I don't have to commute to the office every day. I have moved out to the sticks to be surrounded by chickens, ducks, and goats. It’s made a massive difference to my work/life balance and stress levels. It’s good to have a mix of time with folk in the office and good ol' country air. 

WPI >> What is the biggest takeaway you have learned since being elected to the WPI Next Gen Council?

Sheryl >> How inspiring it can be to be surrounded by amazingly talented people from all corners of the globe. 

WPI >> What does independence mean to you?

Sheryl >> It's buying your own diamonds, it's buying your own rings. Question, tell me how you feel about it? 

WPI >> What would you be doing if you weren’t in advertising? 

Sheryl >> Raising more goats. 100%.

This article is an installment in a series where Worldwide Partners speaks with members of our Next Gen Council. Check back for more interviews with our council members.

Written By:
Angie Pascale