by Christian James, MPA Chair and MD of The IF Agency Christian James

“For millions of working parents, this time of year is normally a bit of a relief as the kids return to school and life falls back into a more stable routine.

But this isn’t any year and relief is hardly what parents (or anyone else) are feeling right now.

Hundreds of our members are still on furlough and many offices remain mothballed as business leaders battle to draw up new working practices that will keep their teams safe and motivated for the coming months.

Like most out there, my business has been hit hard by reduced, delayed or cancelled budgets but as part of the MPA, I’ve been fortunate enough to get a broader, more optimistic perspective than I’d have had if I’d been facing things alone. It’s definitely not all doom and gloom and some of the initiatives agencies are launching are truly inspiring.

Whether your focus is on back to school, back to work … or both … going back ‘better’ is something we should all be aspiring to and certainly something that Manchester City Council and the GM Mayor are banging the drum for. And why not? Why shouldn’t we take every opportunity we can to get back into the swing of things with a positive, progressive bounce?

On Monday 14th September the MPA are taking its Big Debate series online. With Andy Burnham setting the scene, business leaders and MPA members will discuss how our sector is looking to come back with a WoW, rather than a whimper. Team engagement, flexible working hours, openness and inclusivity will I am sure be at the heart of the discussion. But I am also looking forward to hearing some more radical, inventive approaches that our agency community are looking to deploy. If you hurry, you may just sneak yourself one of the last (free) tickets available.

Going back the same isn’t an option and why would anyone want that anyway? History will judge us not by what happened but what we did about it. We are the most creative industry sector, living in the city of re-invention itself. It’s time to build back better and give ourselves and Manchester the bright, happy and best future we all deserve.”


The MPA is proud to be collaborating with Roland Dransfield and OBI; all of whom are looking at ways to best highlight what our City has to offer and ways to make everyone feel safe and welcome as they return to the work place.

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