2017 Victorian AWARD School student Dominic Counahan took out the Semi-Permanent pop up prize, but despite this, he says his most treasured moment of AWARD School was simply ‘coming up with the ideas’. We chat to the humble creative in this alumni series.

TCC: What were you doing before you applied for AWARD school?

DC: I had already begun my advertising life before AWARD School, working at Clemenger BBDO as a suit and then as a strategist at Cummins&Partners and Ogilvy Melbourne. Prior to that there was a brief, largely unhappy, stint in law and a few gigs doing some writing.

TCC: What prompted you to apply to the course?

DC: AWARD is a highly regarded course in the industry. I loved being a planner but knew that having a stronger creative hat could only be a good thing. The best creatives are the ones that think strategically and the best planners are the ones that can relate to the creative teams.

TCC: What were your highlights during the course term?

DC: Winning Semi-Permanent in Sydney was super exciting but the best thing about AWARD School was probably just coming up with the ideas. That and those rare moments when the tutors liked your idea.

TCC: Tell us about your current role.

DC: I work as lead strategic thinker at Thinkerbell. Thinkerbell’s agency model means I’m involved in a lot of different work across the agency. Day-to-day I might be developing creative work, crafting brand identities and behaviour change strategies, working on new business pitches as well as helping build Thinkerbell’s strategic offering more broadly. It’s fun, fast, challenging work.

TCC: What are some of the AWARD School lessons that you carry with you each day?

DC: Be nice to creatives and respect what they do.
Don’t be afraid to assert your views.
Be empathetic
Trust your gut, just don’t blindly follow it
Read the brief more than once!

TCC: Are you still in touch with some of the other students / tutors / lecturers?

DC: Advertising is a small, incestuous industry.

TCC: Anything else you’d like to add about yourself?

Dominic is an avid believer in the stand up desk and 9-day fortnight.