The AMBITIOUS team with Christmas hats in front of a Christmas tree

Festive thanks from AMBITIOUS

December is a wonderful time reflect on the moments and people who have made our working year special. We’ve been fortunate to work with exceptional clients, colleagues, associates, journalists, and suppliers who have contributed to our success.

In the spirit of the holiday season, the AMBITIOUS team have been expressing their gratitude for those who have helped shape their professional lives in 2023.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve celebrated over 70 individuals and companies in our business communities. Here’s a roundup of all of the thanks shared by our team in their own words:

Helen, Client Services Director

I wanted to kick off Festive Thanks by giving my colleague Simon a shout-out.

Simon fixes stuff.

In fact, Simon fixes, mends and problem-solves across the agency whether it’s for clients or for us as a team.

A problem with technology? Simon mends it. A document disappeared into thin air? Simon finds it. Looking for a better way to get a job done? You’ve guessed it, he’s there. Simon has even been known to fix furniture, taps, locks, hinges……and fridges.

He is the caretaker of all things. But he’s more than that. He is someone in the team who always manages to find a way. Never underestimate the role of the problem solver in your business. It’s a huge talent and not everyone has it.

So, thank you, Simon. You help us get stuff done. And so much more.

Keep on fixing.

Will, PR Consultant

Following my first full year in the industry and as part of the AMBITIOUS family, I wanted to say thank you to my first ever clients… BGF, Xledger, Acorn Property Group, and Neighbourly.

All of our clients here are fantastic, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with this fab bunch closely throughout 2023. Fun, friendly, open to ideas, they’ve got it all.

But what I love the most about working with them is their dedication to our region. Whether that’s growing local businesses, nurturing sport in the South West or supporting our local communities, these businesses help to make a difference in my hometown, and I’m proud to play a part in what they do.

Here’s to 2024!

Joe, Strategy Lead

I’ve chosen three people to shout out (which is cheating) but they are all very deserving

My colleague Dani Andres, who has brought a spark of creativity to the agency and is an all-round great person to work with.

Chris McDowell from BrisTechTonic, who has been helping me beat the SEO drum at AMBITIOUS and is a wealth of knowledge for all things search.

Our branding guru Nick Pryke, who has brought some fresh thinking and new ideas to both me and the agency as a whole.

Izzy, Content Manager

December is a fitting time to reflect on those who have lent a hand over the last 12 months. So with that in mind, I want to give a festive thanks to a few individuals who’ve gone above and beyond for me this year…

Starting with Lis and Sarah, for the incredible opportunity you gave me this past summer by granting me a summer-long sabbatical for my personal pursuits. I hope you know what an impact this had not just professionally, but personally as well, so thanks!

Also a special shout out to my colleague Helen for offering me a record number of lifts this year. Our commute home is a real bright spot in my week. Plus you’ve saved me a bundle on train tickets!

Greg, Associate Director

With the season of goodwill in mind, I wanted to give festive thanks to Censuswide who have helped us to do some really amazing work over the course of 2023.

Special mention to James Green who has gone out of his way on numerous occasions to smash tight deadlines, go above and beyond and generally exceed expectations.

Sandra, Finance Director

Every morning I take the opportunity to get up ahead of the household to have a quiet coffee and prep for the day ahead. This is the perfect time for me to consider my festive thanks shout out to those who have made my working year special. Well, that’s an easy one, it has to be my lovely colleague Joanne Wilson who works tirelessly to create an office environment that makes me look forward to coming to work.

My gratitude also goes to Jamie, Jo and the team at Pinstripe Accountants who have offered a steady guiding hand when needed.

There goes my alarm clock, time to get the household up.

Lis, Director

I’m in the fortunate position of having a few years under my PR belt, so my collective of colleagues, clients, and partners who’ve had a major impact on my profession is 25 + years long!

I’m very lucky to work with a team of amazing colleagues at AMBITIOUS every day including my desk buddy & business partner Sarah. Every member of our A team contributes to its success & I’m VERY excited about our pre-Christmas party gathering next week & the Christmas party.

You can’t do this job alone and sometimes support comes from outside the agency. So, I want to shout out to four individuals who I’ve known for many years & whose professional generosity, & friendship is always appreciated…

Liz Gadd – who I met as a candidate when I moved to Bristol, I then became her agency client & she is now a great friend. Very much appreciate your industry insight, sound counsel and guaranteed giggles.

Jason Neale – you’re a man of many talents & funny tales but your experience of agency operations and ongoing support is incredibly valuable. Forever grateful.

Gemma McGrattan – from strategising on the corner after school drop off to sage business advice over the years, your positive outlook is infectious. I’ll have what you’re having!

Jamie Breese – I thought I was well connected until I met you. Always thinking of others, personally & professionally. Thank you.

Sarah, Director

There are a number of people in my LinkedIn feed who don’t even know how much of a ‘ B2B influencer’ they are to me – I might like their posts or comment on their content but also wanted to take the opportunity to do a shout out and recognise that their knowledge sharing is really supportive.

For inspiring me with the content around the future of PR: Stephen Waddington.

For inspiring me with b2b marketing content: David van Schaick.

For supporting us with great tidbits and intel around agency financials/ownership: Dan Archer, Simon Collard, Richard Brett, John Bradbury, Tim Cameron-Kitchen, Gellan Watt, Spencer Gallagher.

For finding ways to articulate the reality of working in PR right now: Parry Headrick.

We have a skills-based culture and a commitment to professional development so all the AMBITIOUS team deserve a shout-out for continuously moving us on but in particular Katy Barney and Eleanor Robinson for their commitment to ‘influencing’ internally and building our ESG knowledge in 2023.

Final thanks to my fabulous business partner, Lis Anderson FCIPR for having a very clear vision for our internal culture and really bringing that to fruition this year- the proof for that is 3.5 years with no staff attrition!

Dani, Associate Director

I’m taking this opportunity to express gratitude for some of the stellar people who have helped shape my professional life this year:

Liam Britnell, our cool, calm and collected culture champion who consistently manages to shine his optimistic light on every situation and keep us smiling.

Caroline Harris, even after all these years she still has a seat on my shoulder in ‘spirit’ even when we haven’t spoken in months. A never-ending force of inspiration.

Jodie Smith for being a brilliant client to work with, bringing the fun to 2023 and giving us creative freedom (within reason!) to devise an employer brand comms strategy that will hopefully lead to a killer year of EVP gold for Parkdean.

For Paul Box for being a great friend and the most talented photographer I have ever known! The one who I’d trust with any brief & manages to bring banter to even the darkest and longest of days!

Rob, Media Relations Specialist

During my days in the Alzheimer’s Society media team, I was told by celeb team superstar Jane Cotton that I’d always be a journalist at heart which for me was the ultimate back-handed compliment.

Thankfully, when I applied to join AMBITIOUS, the company Lis and Sarah had similar instincts and that meant I got to work with lots of great journalists across the media in a newly-created role of media relations specialist.

I’d like to say a huge thanks for all their support here in the South West of England and also all the best for 2024 to Abigail Turner, Andrew Arthur, Michael Ribbeck, Chris Ward, Peter Davison, Robert Buckland, Nicky Godding, Oli Ballard, Graham Ruddick, James Piercy, Sion Barry, BristolWorld’s Mark Taylor, Alex Ross, Andrew L. and last but not least Antony Thompson for all his fantastic photography.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of the likes of Albert Goodman, BGF, Campbell West Ltd, Paramount and PlayMoreGolf who are all great clients, but we couldn’t have got them the media coverage they deserve without our friends in the media.

Maria, Marketing Director

After nearly four years at Girlguiding I decided it was time for a change and to fully embrace my hometown of Bristol, jumping back into agency life in a new role as Marketing Director at AMBITIOUS.

So firstly, massive thanks to Lis and Sarah for giving me this brilliant opportunity, three weeks in and I’m loving every minute, getting to know the agency, clients and my brilliant colleagues. Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and helping me to settle in.

I also wanted to shout out my previous boss and excellent drinking/dance partner Laura M. for being a brilliant support during my last year at Girlguiding and always being so calm and collected. And Amanda Azeez for giving me the opportunity to try something new, moving in-house and taking the reins of marketing at such an iconic organisation – I learnt so much.

Bring on 2024, but first time for feet up, bubbles and a mince pie or three!

Zoe, PR Consultant

I wanted to give a shout-out to my colleague Liam Britnell, AMBITIOUS’s People and Culture Lead.

Liam is responsible for essentially being a champion of the agency’s culture, and he does it so well.

From ensuring everyone has a say in shaping initiatives, workplace benefits and internal training, to organising social events, he really does make sure that the environment we all come to work in each day is positive and productive and all importantly, FUN!

So, thank you Liam! We appreciate you!

May, Digital Marketing Assistant

This year, we’ve really stepped up our TikTok game as an agency and what started as a bit of fun became a valuable tool for our employer brand and social presence. Over 275k views later (and counting), our little dream team has achieved great things.

Isobel, thank you for being my partner in content crime. Fitting the latest trends into agency life isn’t always easy and getting the team to be in videos is even harder, but we’ve done a great job if I do say so myself…

Will, you went above and beyond to step into Izzy’s shoes over the summer. Thank you for listening to my ridiculous ideas and even more so for filming them with me. The mini mic is always there if you ever want it back.

Lis and Sarah, thank you for your absolute trust even when things might make zero sense. It has been a true highlight of my year and wouldn’t have been possible without your faith in us.

Eleanor, PR Executive (Sustainability Communications)

I want to thank the whole team for helping me feel so welcome in my first few months at AMBITIOUS, but I also want to send specific thanks to…

Katy Barney – for being a supportive, encouraging manager and an inspirational fount of knowledge for all things ESG.

Zoë Bagnall and Ernestine Allen – Our coffee walks and career advice conversations have been invaluable.

Joseph Wright – For showing me the ropes with many PR and client services tasks and trusting me as a collaborator in a new client web copy project.

Helen Embleton and Liam Britnell for looking out for the team and making sure nothing, or no one, falls through the cracks.

Katy, ESG and Sustainability Lead

I’m using this opportunity to thank some of the people who post on here (most of whom I haven’t met) but whose knowledge around sustainability, purposeful communications and finding hope amongst the climate doom influences and informs me for work, study and life in general…

Heather Davies and Gavin Fernie-Jones for inspiring posts and bringing the outdoors and the mountains to LinkedIn.

Emma Burlow for wise climate and circular economy insights and excellent carbon literacy training!

Ian McKee for hugely useful and digestible energy news.

Jonathan Wise and the Purpose Disruptors for their industry-leading work around advertising and marketing’s future.

Livvy Drake for brilliant info on sustainable behaviour change in the workplace and beyond.

Huge thanks too to the AMB team, in particular my ESG team partner-in-crime Eleanor Robinson.

Chloe, Senior PR Consultant

It’s been a big year for me, both professionally and personally. Moving home from the other side of the planet brings lots of questions. One of the biggest is, “where am I going to work?” So I have to start off with a huge thanks to Lis Anderson and Sarah Woodhouse for answering that question by offering me the chance to join the A-Team. I’m so grateful that they did.

My second thanks goes to my good friend and three-time colleague Liam Britnell. Liam has had lots of thanks from the team this year for being an all-round great guy. His positive energy is infectious. Plus he let Lis and Sarah know that I was an okay guy too, and worth hiring. So huge thanks Liam!

Third thanks goes to our office manager Joanne Wilson who has made me feel so welcome from day one. She looks after us all so well, and keeps us all in check. Plus she laughs at my jokes.

Final combined thanks to the rest of the team, notably Helen Embleton, Greg Halse, Zoë Bagnall and Ernestine Allen who I’ve worked with the most over the past three months. I’m delighted to be working alongside such warm and clever people.

Simon, Marketing Operations Manager

I first moved to South West, what now feels like an eternity ago. My entire life in one Seat Ibiza. It was a total fluke that I ended up in this city, and I’m not ashamed to admit, it didn’t start well.

The first few months were pretty rough, I struggled to adapt. It was hard and for a moment it looked like I might have had to scurry back up North.

But then, call it chance, call it my phoning Liz Gadd every day for 4 weeks, I met someone who’d turn out to be pretty important for me.

The first time I met Dani Andres was a brief first interview in BS3. I talked way too much (I still do). She asked me to do a few days with the team, to see how I’d fit.

She didn’t bat an eyelid when, on day one, I told a small child to leave the room we were pre-recording a Radio Bristol interview in (he was banging a Xylophone in the corner and I’d do it again tomorrow if I had to).

She didn’t bat an eyelid when she told me to ‘go and get some social’ at a Catfish and the Bottlemen Gig… so I got on the stage and worked the crowd into a mad frenzy and two young girls had to go to St John’s Ambulance (maybe in another life I’d be a touring hype man).

I didn’t bat an eyelid when she had me lay real topsoil and grass at every bus stop in Clifton Village. It took me months to get the soil out of my car. Dani and I have shared many a long weekend and many a long car journey. I learned a lot from her during that time.

Particularly how to do the ‘Dani Special’.

Then, as with all things, change comes and Dani moved on. I grew and changed and developed myself. Then, some years later I found myself in a new setting at AMBITIOUS.

Then, one day, guess who walks through the door…

Having Dani around isn’t just a good thing for the team at large, she’s one of the most creative, talented, and insightful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Dani’s on my wavelength, or rather I’m on Dani’s.

We think in similar ways. We take the same approaches to the same challenges. This probably has something to do with her being so formative for me, rather than me being nearly as insightful or creative as she is.

But we’re a good duo. Always have been and always will be.

But the big thing for me (and we’re talking B.I.G.) because festive thanks doesn’t quite cover the scale of this.

10 years after I packed my life into a Seat Ibiza and after it nearly all went a bit wrong. I’ve got a house, a mortgage and a very happy life in the South West.

Now, I get to look up from my desk and see the person who gave me that chance and is, without a shadow of a doubt, the reason why I’m even here.

Ernestine, PR Consultant

I would like to kick off by saying thank you to Lis Anderson and Sarah Woodhouse, the ‘Boss Ladies’ of the A-Team. They give us a work environment where we can thrive as communications professionals and as humans. Thank you so much.

Special thanks to our Office Manager, Joanne Wilson, for doing so much for us. You are loved.

Thank you to our clients for working with us collaboratively. We do so enjoy delivering the best results for you! Your success is what drives us.

Finally, big thanks to all my colleagues, for being the creative, professional, helpful, funny beings that you are. We do have such a laugh!

Liam, People and Culture Lead

First, I want to say a massive thank you to Tracy Whiting Iqbal for her continued support and guidance this year. Tracy is very much an unsung hero and an extended member of the AMBITIOUS team.

She is a business coach and mentor who I know hasn’t just had a massive impact on me and my development since joining the agency nearly three years ago but has helped every member of the team. She helped me massively as I navigated my way into becoming People & Culture Lead, a position I love, but was also completely new to.

She gave me advice, guidance, resources, and real-life examples of other roles which formed a base for what ended up being my job description! Thank you, Tracy!

I then want to give out a massive thanks not just to my colleague and mate, Simon Boddy, but also to all the incredible team at Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Simon and I have been lucky enough to work with the team at this amazing organisation since we both joined and have been entrusted to tell and spread the stories of the remarkable children, families, fundraisers, and staff connected to this charity.

So, thank you to Chloe Smith, Chloe Smith, Anna Hitchcock, Stephanie Benson, Sarah McBride, Helen Haskell, and the rest of the team, here’s to another year of working with you all!

…and then of course, to the A-Team! You are all so bloody good at what you do, and I love working with you all!


A big thank you to everyone who has made 2023 so special for AMBITIOUS, we can’t wait for what 2024 will bring.