It's been a year, nearly to the day, since CWA evolved the brand.
It gave us the opportunity to re-visit what makes us great, what we need to do to be even better and examine the value we deliver to our client. Not just now, but well into the future.
What came out of that process was three culture pillars to give us a new-found sense of direction that is in keeping with the changing demands of our clients. The three values (Client first, Creative with substance and Collaboration, not ego) not only represent our view on work, but also our people.
"In the Spotlight" is a new feature designed to shine a light on individuals at CWA that not only live and breathe our values inside of the CWA walls, but also how they crossover into their passions.
Meet Leigh White, our HR and Office Manager. By day he ensures every colleague at CWA is essentially looked after – from general office duties but also maintaining office culture, supporting the management of our data accreditations and being our HR lead. But by night… Leigh wears a different hat. Think West End, think Andrew Lloyd Webber, think the Royal Academy of Music… he is a Theatre Playwriter, Director and Musician all into one creating showstopping performances.
As our first person to step into the spotlight, we wanted to discover more about his out-of-work endeavours and how they help him with his role here at CWA. Being around people was obviously a strong starting point with Leigh saying: “My role is all about people, people tick boxes in both areas of my role for me. Ensuring they’re happy, they turn up, everything is running as it should be for them, that’s my priority.”
“Theatre again is all about people and collaboration. I’ve always had an interest in the arts and needing my own creative outlet; theatre provides just that. My passion for theatre and doing this outside of work nourishes my need for creativity and it’s not just about being in a rehearsal room, music is the key thing for me. I’m very happy just sitting at the piano for a few hours too getting some practice in.”
His passion for theatre led to him recently directing a production of The Railway Children at The Little Theatre in Leicester and the production even scooped up an award for ‘Best Set’ at the local Sooty Awards earlier this month. He said: “I don’t do my hobby for the awards, that really isn’t what I’m in it for. I felt really weird when the awards got announced, it was lovely to be recognised, but it’s just not what I do it for. For over 10 years I worked as a Stage Manager in commercial theatre in the West End, but eventually, it really took the shine off it for me. Working on the same production for 8 shows a week became incredibly repetitive. There are only a certain number of times you can listen to the score of The Phantom of the Opera without going a little bit insane. Now I love dipping back in with it as my hobby.”
He explained: “The best thing about The Railway Children was working with the kids, especially Leicester City children that during the pandemic, were in endless lockdowns which stopped them having opportunities to perform. They hadn’t mixed, and they lacked some confidence. Being able to see them grow through the process was incredible. They learned to mix again, to build trust, and to work together. With The Railway Children, there is such a cross-generational cast to see these relationships build across the board, I really encouraged this. Which is what I do in my real job!”
“That’s the main thing for me… bringing people together! For me that was the biggest reward with The Railway Children, watching those kids leave the experience with life-long relationships formed and knowing, I did that. I helped create that. That was my real buzz and all the reward I needed.”
When looking at his role within CWA with his theatre hat on, we wanted to know how it connects to Leigh personally…
“Theatre helps me massively with my role at CWA, I need that creative output. Not that I don’t get that here as we’re an agency and I’m surrounded by creative people and creative projects everyday – and that is really good for the soul. Having the opportunity to channel my own creativity outside of work, helps me with my focus at work and gives a greater sense of perspective.”
He's not short of support here at CWA either, he explained: “I was really quiet about what I did outside of work. When I used to work in theatre, everyone was involved in art projects outside of work, so it was just so standard. When you have an interest or hobby that is a little bit different in an industry that is not arts-based, and people show genuine interest in what I do, it came as a bit of a shock as I’ve never experienced that before. I was excited for colleagues to come along to the show, mainly because I was proud of it, and it was great to have the support of the team here.”
So, what’s next for our talented Office Manager-turned-theatre impresario?
Leigh has just finished working on a production of George Orwell’s Animal Farm that was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to rave reviews as is currently in the casting stage for his upcoming production of John Godber’s comedy play “April in Paris” which will kick off next January again in Leicester.
No matter the show, there’s no doubt the whole CWA team will be there front row on the opening night.
Want to learn more or connect with Leigh on LinkedIn? Click here.
Want to learn more about the wider team? Click here.