Nicole Smith Christopher Plummer Stu Harrison Chris Rodley David Gross Emma Marshall Paul Newell Karen Jamal Suze Barnett Dan Markovina Susan Humphries Jeff Mackay Monica Markovina Neil Sutherland

Sooner or later most organisations reach a crossroads. Sometimes what you're facing is clearly a problem; sometimes it's a change of focus, or growth. Whatever the trigger, you find yourself in a situation where you need help working out what you should be communicating about your work and who you should be communicating with.

When clients come to Tin Shed we work out a marketing strategy that's driven by your needs. So we don't work like a traditional agency, but as a co-op. This has big advantages for our clients. It means we don't develop a marketing strategy that's really based on who's sitting idle in the office. Instead, we determine exactly what needs to be done for you and handpick the team of talented creatives who will do it for you. We identify whose talents will meet your needs, and then they get on with it. Find out more about the people in our co-op:

Nicole Smith

Director ~ Tin Shed

Nicole Smith has always liked to get her hands dirty. It's just as well. She came into the workforce at a time when people weren't overly interested in fresh-faced graduates armed with Communication degrees.

Nicole being Nicole, she took a job in a printing business. Definitely not the most glamorous portion of the sector, it still taught her plenty about marketing. While jobs in higher-profile parts of the marketing world soon followed, it's her stint at the printers that probably tells you most about the way she operates. Hard working, no-nonsense, Nicole's take on marketing is that it "has to do something."

By 1999, she had co-founded Trilogy Integrated Communication. Here she expanded her growing interest in strategic marketing for clients in the building, architecture and design industries. Her clients included the Green Building Council,Woods Bagot Architects and Kell & Rigby. It also saw her launch the influential Property Pulse survey with the Property Council of Australia.

Since forming Tin Shed in 2010 Nicole has continued to work closely with this sector, as well as the tourism and transport industries. She has strong, influential contacts in a range of business arenas and her clients get the benefit of this.

What distinguishes Tin Shed is that as sole director Nicole has even more scope to do business the way she likes to do it.

Chris Mayer-Plummer

Locations Director

Chris knows his way around a camera. He's spent years working on both sides of the things, so he has an intimate knowledge of Australia's advertising, television and film industries.

For the past decade Chris has put his knowledge to good use directing the operations of Australian Film Locations, which provides a wide range of location management and scouting services. Chris says that his work requires him to "have a director's eye."

As his clients can attest, Chris' skills extend beyond this. In addition to having a sensibility that allows him to identify the right locations for clients' projects, he has the know-how to manage an entire shoot and see that it's done on-time and on-budget. Still, he's not all good-sense.

His favourite jobs are the ones where "things have to blow up."

Stu Harrison

People whisperer

Stu's history includes years in the British Royal Marine Commandos as well as stints making videos for Duran Duran.

Throughout his life Stu has been deeply interested in people; he's interested in what makes them tick. In time, Stu's interest in people was concentrated around a single question: what makes someone a natural leader?

Stu's time as a Commando was very instructive on this point. As he recalls, "the Marines is an extreme environment. There are times where you simply have to do as you're told. But there are many other occasions where you realise you're in the presence of a great leader; someone who engages people's strengths; someone who has the capacity to make other people literally want to follow them into battle."

As Stu came to realise, those leaders don't wield authority - they wield influence. Unravelling how people acquire and utilise influence led to Stu's years of work as offering programs to people – and organisations – seeking to unlock their leadership skills.

For Stu, the satisfactions inherent in his work are easy to describe: "I use my program to elicit trust and respect. I get people to play to their strengths and to appeal to others' strengths; I get them to understand how to influence people, not to dominate them."

Christopher Rodley

Writer

Chris Rodley is a Sydney-based freelancer with more than 12 years' experience. A talented writer and editor, Chris has produced everything from web content, virals and interactive media. He also makes regular forays into TV and marketing, PR and reporting.

His CV packs a punch – he's worked for a wide variety of corporate and government clients and media outlets, including The Australian, Australian Hearing, the BBC, Colliers International, EnergyAustralia, Foxtel, Landcom, RailCorp, Thinc and the University of Sydney.

Chris has spent plenty of time thinking about what makes writing work. He says, "the right words are important. Good writing gets things done, makes us care and gives us new tools for thinking. It expresses real emotions. It makes complex things simple, doing its job and getting the hell out of the way.

"And when it's really amazing, writing does the opposite – what the Russian formalists called ostranenie or defamiliarisation – it takes commonplace things and makes them unusual and incredible."

David Gross

Website Design & Development

David Gross has a big appetite for new technology, commenting "I'm always interested in what it can do for my clients."

After 15 years in website design and development, David has the kind of expertise that allows him to advise clients on web best-practise and to manage web design projects from start to finish.

He says "I enjoy collaboration. I like working with clients throughout the building process. It means I can be sure they're not just happy with the way a site looks, but the way it functions. This is where my interest in new technology really comes into play. By working closely with clients I can see where something new ~ say iPhones, tablets or eReaders ~ will be useful to them."

He says, "initially I worked exclusively as a graphic designer, so I'm still big on ensuring the look of a site is right. But what I can do now with new technology is push boundaries and make sure I get the feel right."

Paul Newell

Flash animator/ Illustrator/ Broadcast designer

Paul Newell has always drawn. When Paul recalls his childhood in the Hunter Valley, he remembers that he always had a pencil in his hand. Paul never put down his pencil (though he picked up some other tools along the way). After moving to Sydney, Paul worked as an inbetweener at Walt Disney Television Animation in Sydney. He eventually trained as an animator, working on shows such as 'Darkwing Duck', 'Goof Troop' and 'Aladdin'.

After working on the two 'Aladdin' sequels, Paul started his own business and produced some spectacular animation, working on the much-loved (though for different reasons) 'Ren & Stimpy' and 'Sesame Street.' He's also been the creative source of many original concepts for the pay-TV channel Nickelodeon. In 2000 Paul helped create the look for Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat, as featured in Roy & HG's 'The Dream'. As Paul says, 'Fatso had the distinction of both being banned from the 2000 Olympic Games and having a statue erected to him at Olympic Stadium in Homebush."

Since then, Paul has worked in broadcast, print and the web, creating award-winning animations, storyboards and illustrations for many national and international companies, designing the puppets for Nick Jr's new TV show 'Didi & B', as well as animating the show's titles. In 2008 he and his family moved to Tasmania where, as Paul says, he "still draws a lot."

Karen Jamal

Communications Specialist

Karen Jamal has always loved words. Her childhood was spent reading Enid Blyton by torchlight, cataloguing her book collection and copying out phrases from Jabberwocky. But after a decade-long academic career, in which years were spent writing about the Brontës' consumptive prose and Dickens' secret longings for his sister-in-law, she came down from her ivory tower.

"I've always been interested in making ideas accessible, and I wanted to apply the writing skills I'd cultivated to help companies make their messages interesting and engaging", Karen says.

Karen now manages media campaigns and communications projects for a diverse range of clients in industries from healthcare and human resources through to construction and life coaching. Projects include ghost writing books and articles for magazines, crafting speeches, and working closely with the media to build her clients' profiles.

"I understand that a good piece of writing is worthless if it sits unread on your hard-drive.  Over ten years I've built relationships and honed the skills required to ensure the work I do for my clients achieves results."

Suze Barnett

Marketer/ Facilitator/ Speaker

That Suze Barnett can't be pinned down to a single job title tells you a lot about her. She's a genuine ideas person; someone who's eternally interested in new ways of thinking about things. Suze's ability to wrap her head around emerging concepts has really shaped her career. She devoted a decade to a single environmental cause – green building – and played an instrumental role in establishing the Green Building Council of Australia, as well as the World Green Building Council. Her time in this sector means she knows how to marry environmental sustainability with business objectives, and to do it successfully.

At its core, marketing (well, good marketing) is about connecting with people. Suze is one of those people who thrives on making meaningful connections. It's an over-used phrase, but Suze is 'a natural communicator'. With over 17 years in marketing and PR in the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, Suze's determination to help transform industries and organisations become more environmentally sustainable is as strong as ever. She says "I'm passionate about seeing this change happen, because I believe that organisations can make real strides environmentally and position themselves as market leaders as they do so."

Emma Marshall

Writer

Emma Marshall is something of a communications all-rounder, with a CV that spans copywriting, event management and work in the education and training sectors. While she studied Communications, it's hard to imagine her degree could have been more valuable than the experience she got in the first few years of her career. Emma started in PR when she was 16. It was her job to print, photocopy and post (yes, post) press releases out to journalists. While doing this kind of grunt work rarely feels particularly gratifying, it usually affords an understanding of your profession that can't be obtained any other way. This is true of Emma. She knows how to communicate; she knows how to get ideas out in to the world and make people connect with them.

Although Emma's professional ascent was a rapid one (she served as the National Marketing and Communications Manager for one of the most influential organisations in the construction sector), her move into freelance work has been gratifying. Emma says "what I've always loved about my work is the variety. Each client brings new challenges and experiences. I love learning new things and each client brings me something new to get my head around."

Dan Markovina

Art Director / Designer

"Graphic Design is simply visual problem-solving," says Dan Markovina, before adding, "using only the visual elements at your disposal, you have to communicate your clients' message in a succinct, clear way. If you get 'all your ducks in a row' it is very effective."

With a background in 'below the line' agencies, Dan's best work is done when there's a lot to say and not much to say it with. "When clients don't have the luxury of huge project budgets, it falls on the creative to come up with a concept that works hard and fast to communicate."

"It's 'seat-of-pants' creativity ~ coming up with something from nothing."

Dan entered Graphic Design at a time when the industry was transitioning "from cut-and-paste to computers", and it continues to inform the way he thinks about his work.

But it's helping people that really floats his creative boat. "I think of my work in terms of the relationship I build with each client. I like to work with people over the long-term. I get to know them well; I know what they need to achieve and I bring a designer's sensibility to communicating what they do, make or sell."

"Essentially, I get to help other people see my clients differently. It's a satisfying role to have."

Susan Humphries

Writer

Most writers are big readers. Susan Humphries is no exception. She spent years reading, ending up with a PhD in English that was completed in between the jobs she did as a freelance writer. She says "I'll happily read the copy on a cereal box if there's nothing else around. And you know what? You can find good copy on a box of cereal."

Speak to a writer for a while and invariably they'll say something along these lines. Whatever the context, they believe that writing can and should be good, and they're usually happy to oblige with a definition of good writing.

Susan believes "good writing can instruct, it can inform, it can inspire. Sometimes it can do all of these things at once. Whatever it's about, good writing makes it easy for a reader to get it. It takes effort to produce writing that's effortless to read. But that's the writer's job."

Jeff Mackay

Director / Photographer

Jeff Mackay emerged from his Communications degree with a major in Media Production and he subsequently studied photography. Still, he reckons that the "training that counted most was all at the school of hard knocks." This, he says, is because in the end his work is all about "delivering the right content for a client's job, whatever it is."

As far as Jeff is concerned, technology has made this aspect of his job easier. "These days I'd be hard pressed to simply describe myself as a director or a photographer, although of course I am both. But technology has blurred the boundaries between these fields so much that they've almost entirely converged. So I guess I could just as readily describe myself as a content creator."

Technological change has also made Jeff's work a lean, efficient affair. It's rare that he has to work with a large crew, and it's a long time since he's needed to see the inside of a post-production facility.

One thing that hasn't changed since Jeff started work is the role creativity plays in it. Jeff's work is still all about creativity and as Jeff says, "that's never going to change."

Monica Markovina

Creative Director

Monica Markovina has a background in illustration, graphic design and advertising. As an agency account executive, she was responsible for managing campaigns for heavy-hitting clients from inception to completion.

She gained a reputation as someone who could not only come up with the goods creatively, but also manage the practical aspects of a project, adhering to deadlines and reigning in budgets.

So it's something of a surprise to hear Monica describe her work.

She sees her role in conceptual terms. Her main responsibility to her clients, she says, "is to serve as the interpreter of their dream."

It makes sense really. As Monica observes, clients come to creatives when they are struggling to reach a certain market, or communicate with a particular audience.

As she notes, "clients come to us with a problem. Because we see things differently, we see a solution that ~ to us ~ is obvious, but for our clients, it's inspired."

"It's great to be in a business that trades in inspiration."

Neil Sutherland

Composer/Musician

Neil Sutherland didn't exactly begin his professional career at age five, but he has been making music since then. A classically trained pianist, Neil's also composed for – and performed in – bands that played across New Zealand. A publishing and recording deal with Polygram Records brought Neil to Australia when he was 21. What followed is a long and successful career composing music for film and TV.

Neil's music has played a major role in some the most popular shows to screen in Australia and overseas (we're talking everything from Mythbusters to Colour of War- the ANZACs) . Neil's ability to work across a wide range of styles has been a big factor in his success. Neil says, "I'm happy to work across a range of styles. What always remains constant is my commitment to quality. That never changes."

Other people agree, with Neil winning the Australian Guild of Screen Composers industry award in recognition of his standing as the Most Performed Composer in Australia. There's very little chance you haven't heard, and enjoyed, Neil's work.