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A quick word with … Marie Bowes of DNA

DNA’s new engagement director Marie Bowes is fascinated by people. 

marie bowes dna engagement directorWith over 13 years in senior roles across advertising, digital and brand, most recently a stint at Designworks, Bowes’ job is to lead DNA’s engagement and project management team and work with them to continuously evolve their design thinking approach and improve the effectiveness of their client work.

I start the day with… a coffee and handful of almonds

And end it with… a glass of wine and a handful of chocolate 

And in between, I … consume as much sparkling water possible in preparation for my end of day indulgences

The part of my job that most excites me is… I love people – they (we!) fascinate me. So working in a business that is people-centred – solving real problems by using a design thinking methodology – makes perfect sense to me. To be truly innovative and customer-centric we have to look at different ways of problem solving. What’s the quote from Albert Einstein? Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

My first creative memory is…  7 years old – creating a ‘duck’ (yes quack) from applying paint to card, folding it in half – then unfolding. Never did manage to replicate my one-off brilliance. Should have taken this early learning.

My first rung on the ladder professionally was… Recognising early on in advertising that I was never going to be ‘The Great Art Director’ I thought I was capable of. It turned out I was pretty average – so reinvented myself to align with my strengths.

My advice for youngsters who’d like to have this job one day… General life principles, prior to choosing any job/industry:

Be inquisitive. Listen. Collaborate. Don’t make assumptions. Get out there and explore. Really interrogate before drawing conclusion.

My leadership style is… Supportive, apparently nurturing. However the flip side to me is a low tolerance for imperfection. At least perfection is subjective…Right?!

My favourite brand/creative work in NZ at the moment is… I’m loving the food stores/stalls and cafes popping up in the most unexpected locations – my favourite rave at the moment is Mexican Specialities. I love the un-designed, authentic style. My favourite ‘creative’ items at home are my champagne cases set up as shelves.

If Engagement Director is my Clark Kent day job, my Superman night gig is… I tolerate my four boys (one of which is my husband) playing electric guitar. This requires the patience of a superhero…..supported by a lot of Tanqueray. Does this count?


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