Say hello to the Banana Kick team.
Originally from Leicester, Alex graduated with a First in Graphic & Communication Design from the University of Leeds in 2010. He loved Leeds so much he decided to stick around in the North.
He got a job with Bolser as an Art Director, the agency he did his internship with on his course, and began to learn his trade. Working on clients such as Nokia, Asda, Virgin, Sony, Call Credit and many more there was never a dull moment. Now at Banana Kick he is looking to grow as a designer.
In his spare time Alex is a bit of a sports nut. He plays American football at the weekends and even tried a bit of coaching for his old university team. He also loves basketball having played at university; and of course he loves following the mighty Arsenal – it’s been a tough few years for them but he keeps believing. Apart from sports there is nothing better than going out, festivals, raves or just a few games of FIFA with his pals.
Head of Creative
Hailing from the wetter side of the Pennines, Andy cut his teeth during a seven-year stint working for various agencies in and around Manchester. He eventually took the plunge and moved to sunny Yorkshire in 2004, and apart from the distance he now has to travel to home games (Man City) he’s never looked back.
During his time in Leeds, Andy’s honed his creative skills working for some of the city’s best known agencies and is proud to have eventually found himself in the senior creative role at Banana Kick.
Andy’s career has seen him working with some high profile brands including Great Universal Stores, Littlewoods, BUPA, Threshers, Punch Taverns and William Hill. He’s also worked with some great public sector clients such as The Department for Work and Pensions, Leeds City Council, Marketing Leeds, Welcome to Yorkshire and The Learning Skills Council. In his spare time Andy kicks back by watching football, playing golf, cooking hearty food and drinking nice wine.
April decided to jump into agency life straight out of university, where she achieved a Masters Degree in Business Management and a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design up at Northumbria University.
When she’s not in the office, you’re likely to find April out on the hockey pitches. Aside from that she enjoys travelling to different places around the world, and spending time with her friends and family.
Originally from Oxfordshire, Ashley made the move to Leeds to study Sports Business Management BAH in 2011. Upon finishing university he made a swift start to agency life, starting work at Banana Kick in May 2014, days after his last university hand in.
In his spare time Ashley enjoys keeping active, playing hockey and going to the gym. As well as playing sport, he enjoys watching it, and is a lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers FC fan. However, he does enjoy relaxing to some music and playing his guitar.
Ashley is looking forward to starting a long and hard-working career in marketing with Banana Kick.
Senior Account Manager
Barney spent 3 years at Northumbria University studying Creative Media and Internet Technologies, where he got his first glimpse of how hard work pays off, achieving First Class Honours.
After University he decided to pursue one of his childhood passions, Skiing, spending a winter season in the Swiss Alps, working and just enjoying life up a mountain. Working with people is one of his great loves as well as all things digital.
Having worked in a Michelin star restaurant, Barney tends to think his cooking skills rival most well known chefs, whether others agree or not is the question; it is this competitive nature that contributes to his love of sports in general and more specifically Formula 1 and football, being a keen Middlesbrough fan.
Bradley, who is originally from Darlington, refused to leave the North East and went to Durham University where he graduated with a BA in Sport Exercise and Physical Activity.
Bradley loves sport, and in his down time, he likes playing Rugby Union and training in the gym.
This is his first role after graduating this summer, and he looks forward to learning all there is to know about finance!
Senior Account Manager
Claire has worked in a number of agencies and has over 15 years experience with a focus on promotional & shopper marketing. In her last position she worked on the rather vibrant branding for the 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National.
Claire started out in sports marketing having worked for Capitalize Ltd in Southampton on the Tetley’s England Cricket sponsorship and then had a spell at the BBC and Yorkshire TV in the sports production team and her claim to fame is going to the sandwich shop with ‘The Saint’ Ian St John!!
Claire loves watching sport and is an avid Wigan Warriors fan, much to the disappointment of her Leeds colleagues!
It’s not all about sport as she is an amateur artist and has exhibited in a few galleries in the region.
Yorkshire born and bred Claire, grew up in Wakefield and graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a first class honours degree in Sport, Physical Activity and Health.
Claire has had a passion for Rugby League from a young age, starting out as a cheerleader for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and being part of the Touch Rugby team at the Rugby Football League. Claire has had her fair share of event experience ranging, from RL World Cup 2013 and Premier League Football to charity dinners and local galas.
In her spare time Claire loves playing netball, walking her dog and socialising with her friends, but by far her favourite past time is playing princesses with her niece Mae!
Cristel Smith Aguero
Having been brought up in Spain by a Mexican mother and British father, Cristel has a fascination for languages, communication and tacos which she explored through her degree in English Language and Spanish at Aston University and her study placement in Mexico.
After graduating in 2013, she worked in sales and marketing roles in Oxfordshire before moving up North and joining the Banana Kick team in November 2014. Outside of the office, you can find Cristel attempting to play all sports when possible; pretending to be a food critic by dining out as often as possible and traveling across the country (and globe!) visiting friends and family.
Ella is a professionally trained dancer and has performed on the West End in the hit musical ‘Wicked’.
After a healthy performing career Ella took to teaching. She has trained students from the age of 3yrs up to adults and has helped many students gain places in prestigious dance colleges.
After suffering an ankle injury Ella had the urge to start something new. After a year and a half of working out what that may be, she finds herself here at Banana Kick!
When she’s not behind the desk here, or in the dance studio Ella enjoys spending time with her family, friends and boyfriend. Going to gigs and concerts is one of her favourite things to do, seeing Stevie Wonder was a highlight! As well as going out for dinner, Ella also enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.
Ella is excited to be working in a brand new environment and is looking forward to starting her new career at Banana Kick!
Social Media Account Manager
Leeds lass Francesca spent four years studying Spanish and Public Relations at Leeds Metropolitan University which is where she developed a keen interest in digital and social media. Whilst at University, she spent a year living and working in Madrid and is now as you could say 'down with the lingo'.
After University, Francesca began her career as a PR intern, moving onto a digital marketing role focusing on clients in the electronic music industry before joining the Banana Kick team in September 2014.
She is a keen traveller and spends a lot of time holidaying in Spain and visiting family in Italy. Also an avid music fan, she loves going to festivals, travelling abroad for them on occasion. A summer baby, Francesca enjoys spending as much time as she can soaking up some Vitamin D so expect to see her on a beach somewhere during the summer months!
Originally from Leeds, Gary graduated from The University of Central Lancashire with a BA (HONS) in Graphic Design. After 3 years working at agencies in Leeds, Manchester and Huddersfield, Gary decided to spend a year travelling in Australia.
Gary returned and spent 4 years freelancing at numerous agencies around Yorkshire, working for clients such as Npower, First Direct, Bupa, BT, The British Council and Asda before settling down permanently with Banana Kick.
Spare time is spent supporting Leeds Utd (since birth!), reading, cooking and enjoying time with his partner and two children Eloise and Toby.
Having worked for a number of years client side at Coral and Bass, Gary moved to agency life to fulfill his passion for delivering innovative marketing ideas. At Poulters he created a highly successful sales promotion division with a national reputation before progressing to the role of MD.
In 2008 Gary became the Co Founder of Banana Kick a marketing agency specialising in sport, leisure and experiential campaigns. During the first 5 years the company has built a strong client base including Asda and Genting Casinos and now employs 35 people.
Outside of work, Gary is a lifetime supporter of Chelsea and was fortunate to be in the Nou Camp when Chelsea defied the odds and knocked out Barcelona and then attended the Champions League final beating Bayern in their own stadium - his two greatest sporting experiences along with seeing Kelly Holmes win gold in the Athens Olympics.
As a keen poker player his ambition is to one day take part on the world famous World Series of Poker in his favourite location Las Vegas.
Having lived in Leeds her whole life, Harriet wanted to stick to her roots when heading to University and recently finished her second year at the University of Leeds studying management and has joined us for a placement year.
In her spare time, Harriet enjoys Mexican food, a good gym session, a good boogie, and cuddles with her little white ball of fluff, Bella (her dog!).
Client Service Director
Jamie began his career in advertising almost 16 years ago in Manchester, moving to settle in Yorkshire at the start of the millennium. Jamie joined the Banana Kick team in December 2011 just 2 weeks after returning from travelling the world for 14 months – a gentle welcome home!
Working in agencies large and small on varied accounts including Shell Oils and Fox’s Biscuits, Jamie struggles to find a sector left uncovered. The same could be said for our very own Page 3 model, who stripped off for The Sun as part of a PR stunt for a previous agency.
Aside from travelling and modeling, Jamie is a keen rugby enthusiast and cook, claiming his dumplings ‘are to die for!’ Captaining Burley RUFC for an undefeated season, leading to a league victory in 2007 would have to be Jamie’s proudest sporting achievement to date, until sadly his 25 yearlong rugby union stint came to an end after a white water rafting accident and one reconstructed knee.
South African born Janice moved to Leeds joining Banana Kick on a freelance basis. Quickly proving an instant hit and invaluable member of the team, Janice soon became a permanent feature.
Working for large names such as Nestle South Africa, South African Breweries and the Aveng Group, Janice has a very impressive range of experience and expertise.
If she’s not helping her husband run his Sports Events Photography Business, Janice spends a lot of her free time watching her two sons play sport, in particular Cricket, Rugby and Water polo- her dedication even won her a trophy as ‘Cricketing Mom of the Year’ in 2007!
When the rare opportunity of the warm indoors arises, Janice is a talented embroiderer and used to make wedding dresses and evening wear. A good book, or film and a glass of wine are also top of the list!
Deciding to skip university, Jess went straight into agency life at Leeds based agency CreativeRace, and worked on accounts such as Asda, Coral the bookmakers, and Halfords before joining Banana Kick, building up a range of knowledge from POS, to digital marketing and a lot in between!
Outside of work, she is a big foodie and baking (and of course eating) is always on the agenda. Catching the travelling bug over the years, she hopes to visit many more destinations around the world in the next few years. Not only that, but after completing a couple of half marathons, the London Marathon is on the cards to complete in April 2017.
Senior Account Executive
A Leeds native, Joe graduated from the University of Liverpool with a 2:1 in History and Philosophy.
After completing his degree he moved to New Zealand for a year where he lived and worked in Wellington. Travelling back through Australia and Asia Joe gravitated back home, before jumping into agency life with Banana Kick.
In his spare time, Joe follows Leeds Rhinos, Leeds United, Yorkshire Cricket and enjoys playing the guitar.
Senior Account Manager
Katherine was born in Carlisle and after studying Business at Northumbria University, moved down to Leeds to pursue a career in Marketing. She’s spent 10 years managing many diverse accounts from Finance and Charity to Leisure such as RSPB, RSA, Cumbrian Cottages and Jet2. Her experience includes CRM strategy, DM, POS, print and digital and loves the daily variety of working in an agency.
In her spare time she is part of a Jazz Choir and loves playing tennis, having recently picked it up again from her childhood days. She’s also partial to a bit of travelling and visiting new places and is looking forward to the next adventure!
As a Sports Studies Graduate specialising in Sports Marketing, Luke has been through the youth academy and broken into the first team at Banana Kick!
Rising up through the agency working with a number of different clients, particularly The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Punch Pub Company and Wagg Foods, Luke has managed to gain experience in a wide variety of marketing disciplines.
As you would expect from a Sports Studies Graduate working in Sports and Leisure Marketing, Luke loves his sports. As a Leeds United fan, boxing enthusiast, cricket lover and occasional darts match attendee, he will take any opportunity to be part of a sporting crowd (preferably with a pint!)
Maggie joined Banana Kick in June 2014, fresh out of university having graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in Events Management. Originally from Cheshire Maggie had itchy feet and went off to explore the world! When the money ran out she reluctantly came back home. However all was not lost as she discovered life in Leeds! Her varied placement year included a summer 'dahn sarf' working for a corporate events company, a PR internship and even a stint working in as a chalet girl in the French Alps, where she was able to indulge in her love for cooking and skiing!
Joining the agency as an Account Executive has given Maggie an ideal opportunity to combine her interests in sport, brand and social media. She is very much looking forward to a fruitful career at Banana Kick!
Originally from down south in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Megan moved to Leeds for university, where she graduated from Leeds Beckett University with a 2.1 in Sports Business Management.
After enjoying life in God's Own Country, Megan decided to make Leeds her home and start her journey at Banana Kick!
In her spare time, Megan's competitive streak comes out on the hockey pitch, and she enjoys staying fit by going to the gym.
Nick’s a graduate in hospitality management and started his career with Allied Lyons working on their BAA account. Leaving the UK in the early nineties he worked in the leisure industry in both North America and Australia with a variety of operators.
On his return to his native Yorkshire he joined Whitakers Advertising. Two years later he took a position with Poulters where he stayed for 12 years, becoming a director of the business in 2004. In 2008 he left to set up Banana Kick, with Gary, combining his leisure and agency experience.
During his marketing career he’s worked with a broad range of well-known companies and brands including Manchester United, ITV, Punch Taverns, Morrisons and William Hill. He’s also advised clients across every imaginable market – from toys to public sector, travel to property, IT to FMCG.
Outside work Nick enjoys the simple things in life – the outdoors, camping, taking photographs, a bit of cooking and spending time with his family.
Senior Account Manager
Nick joined Banana Kick fresh from University having recently graduated after studying Sports Promotion and Marketing at the University Of Huddersfield.
He's already gained marketing experience across a variety of sectors. During his placement year he spent three months working for a soccer club in Boston, Massachusetts as a Marketing Assistant and coach before moving back to England to experience agency life for the first time.
Having represented his school at tennis, football, rugby and cricket, Nick fancied a change and turned his hand to Gaelic football when he started University – however his true passion lies with his beloved Mansfield Town Football Club, travelling home and away to watch the Stags.
Growing up on a farm at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales, Oli joined Banana Kick the week after graduating with a First in Sport Marketing from Leeds Beckett University.
When not pretending to be a farmer, Oli likes to keep active by playing sport, especially rugby, and watches any sport he can, including Leeds United; someone's got to support them!
Senior Account Manager
Oliver (or Ollie) graduated from the University of Huddersfield after studying Advertising & Marketing Comms, along with cutting his creative teeth working on the infamous, international L’Oreal Brandstorm competition. Since then, he has worked client side for an event technology company working with some of the biggest names in events, music and festivals throughout the UK and abroad until deciding it was time to get back to the creative world of an agency and the smiling faces at Banana Kick beckoned in early 2014!
When he’s not working, Ollie loves the outdoors and spends many a weekend roaming the countryside with his Westie, Harry. When he’s not out getting muddy boots, cooking and good food and drink are always high on the agenda as are playing and listening to lots of music!
Creative Services Manager
Phil has over a decade of experience in Creative Services and procurement having worked at a number of leading agencies, managing accounts such as Sony and Peacocks.
He’s a big Bradford City fan, a season ticket holder for several years. He was even a ball boy! Currently Manager of Junior Tykes U8s football team, Phil has an FA level 1 coaching badge and even entered into the betting for the England vacancy we’re told.
Married with two boys, aside from football Phil spends his time watching films, listening to music and the odd bit of cycling. He can also play the drums, but not all at the same time!
Born & bred in Leeds and where she cut her teeth in marketing, Rachel has come home after some time on the other side of the Pennines & in the Midlands. Having worked nationally & internationally for over 10 years, Rachel has a range of experience across a number of client sectors including retail, financial, fashion & pharmaceutical. Out of work Rachel loves running & yoga – nicely balanced by good food, wine and gin! With family in the UK, France & California, Rachel is a keen traveller and loves planning trips both at home and abroad.
From graduating with a degree in business, Richard has gone on to work at a number of high profile agencies, dipping his toes in nearly every marketing discipline there is to offer. With past account experience such as William Hill, ASDA and Spirit Pub Company, Richard has the big client know-how – but has a love for small brands, where ‘you can really make a difference’.
A founder member of Banana Kick, Richard has proudly seen the business grow from ‘one short of a five-a-side team’ to the current large and talented squad it has today – and unsurprisingly uses a lot of sports analogies in work!
Outside of the office, you’ll find him watching or talking about sport, cooking up a storm/mess in the kitchen or planning a new travel adventure.
Head of Sponsorship
Graduating with a degree in Geography, Rob eventually moved to London and worked for the media agency OMD UK. Rob is a driven and results orientated marketer with over 10 years experience across a broad cross section of industry sectors including FMGC, Automotive, Telecoms, Finance and Alcohol. Rob worked on various sponsorships whilst in London, including Aviva’s sponsorship of UK Athletics and Vodafone’s sponsorship of McLaren Formula 1.
Rob is passionate about all sport and most recently worked on the Rugby League World Cup 2013 as Commercial Manager for the most successful tournament to date having relocated from London up to Leeds. Rob looked after the commercial revenue streams and sponsor servicing for the tournament. Rob has also worked for the Rugby Football League as sponsorship manager looking after partners such as Gillette, the England Rugby League main team sponsor.
Outside of work, Rob is often found to be watching or playing sport and is a keen golfer. When not watching or playing sport Rob can be found in the kitchen or out socialising with friends.
Originally from Derry, Ireland, Ruairi made the move across the waves to Newcastle, where he graduated with a 2:1 in Marketing. A recent resident of Leeds, Ruairi joins us to kick off his career in the marketing world, getting stuck straight in to agency life.
Ruairi enjoys getting involved in lots of sports, with Thai Boxing at the top of the list. At weekends, you'll also find him watching plenty, and cheering on Liverpool.
Born and bred in West Yorkshire with a keen eye for art and design from a young age, Sam left Leeds college of art and design in 2008 with a Merit in ND Graphic Design.
Instead of University he went straight into full time employment and worked for a few design agencies as well as being a freelancer building skills in design for print, POS, large format design/print, corporate branding and digital design. Clients include Luminar Leisure, Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito, Garfunkels, Helena Leisure, KFC, Matalan, New Look and Wilkinson. He has also worked with Bradford Metropolitan District Council running a number of workshops teaching children graffiti art and taking on graffiti art commissions.
In his spare time he enjoys walking Duke, his Rhodesian Ridgeback cross, spending time with his girlfriend, working on his pride and joy that is his VW MK2 Golf GTi and relaxing in his home made bar with the lads listening to some music!
Hailing from the land of maple syrup and grizzly bears, Sara made the move up north from Somerset (childhood home) and then Birmingham (Uni) nearly 13 years ago.
With 12 years’ experience in full service brand and marketing communications, Sara has managed national and regional accounts within retail, hospitality, healthcare, finance, law and housebuilding. A strong strategic thinker with a love for great creative, she’s been responsible for projects ranging from high volume press, radio, outdoor and DM campaigns to packaging and POS design; new brand and product launches to brand repositioning.
A relaxing BBQ in the back garden is by far the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon (drink in hand and face to the sun). And for rainy, cold nights in it has to be a good TV box set and takeaway.
Scott started his career about 12 years ago when Gary and Nick took him under their wing at Poulters. A young lad with a thirst for knowledge, he absorbed everything he could about the design industry and eventually moved on to set up camp at two other agencies, JDA and Gratterpalm.
During that time, he’s had the pleasure of working on many busy and interesting accounts including Asda, DFS, Greggs, Umbro, Manchester United, Puma to name a few!
Outside of work Scott is a bit or an adrenaline junkie. Loves playing rugby, free climbing and when not putting his body through hell, You can find him using his legs to go as fast as possible on a road bike! Last year he cycled the coast to coast (Whitehaven to Sunderland) in 9 1/2 hours for the Teenage Cancer Trust. So I guess he puts it through hell on a bike too. He's always looking for the next big challenge, if you get any ideas, get in touch!
Senior Account Manager
A graduate of Criminology from the University of Liverpool, Scottish born Sian opted out of a life of crime for the brighter lights of marketing to join Banana Kick and she's never looked back.
A keen athlete both in and out of the water, Sian is qualified in her PADI Advanced Open Water certificate and has a track record of success in both running and high jump in her home county of Northumberland.
With a passion for travelling and festivals Sian is determined to cover the globe one day, having ticked off a fair few continents already. A lover of both sand and snow, when not on the beach you’ll find her on the piste or enjoying a spot of après ski!
Having graduated with a Media and Communications degree, Tace started her career in London, working as a marketing and sales intern for youth-travel company, BUNAC. The internship quickly turned into a full-time role, moving away from sales and capitalising on Tace’s love for communication.
More roles in the travel industry followed, before the wanderlust grew too strong and Tace set off on her own adventure, touring through Africa for 3 months then returning for the fifth time to work at an American summer camp in Maine, USA.
Back to her home base in Yorkshire, Tace made the move to agency side and joined the Banana Kick team, specialising in digital communications. Outside the office, Tace is a keen cinema and theatre-goer and loves exploring new places.
Tom holds a first class BA honors degree, a distinction at MSc in Accounting & Finance and professional accounting qualifications.
It seems a long time ago that Tom joined Banana Kick on a temporary basis to run a technical helpline. His skills proved invaluable and he became a permanent and established member of the team as Finance Manager. He loves his figures.
Outside of work, you are likely to find Tom training for charity runs and other worthwhile objectives.
Originally from Leicester, Tom graduated from Leeds Metropolitan with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and went on to pursue a career playing professional basketball with teams such as Leeds, Loughborough and Manchester.
During his last year in Manchester, Tom was awarded a scholarship to the University of Salford to study his Masters in Communication Design. After hanging up his boots, Tom moved back to Leeds, spending time freelancing before settling down permanently in the Banana Kick studio.
Spare time is spent watching football and supporting the mighty Leicester City(!), playing basketball, illustrating, and brushing up on his cooking skills.
Our fourth Tom and one of our resident giants!
Tom made his start in the industry nine years ago, skipping university and jumping in head first at The Black Hole and later moving on to Gratterpalm. Proud of his keen eye for detail and calmness under pressure, Tom has more than once been referred to as a swan, graceful on top and legs kicking ten to the dozen underneath.
Over the years Tom has worked on a wide and varied set accounts including Asda, Greggs, DFS, Homebase, RBS, Coral, Arla and Argos, working on POS, brochures, magazines, press, packaging, outdoor and corporate identity.
Outside of work he enjoys some weird and wonderful hobbies such as WWII reenactment/living history, airsoft and clay pigeon/target shooting as well as some more normal bits and pieces like photography and experimenting in the kitchen and the odd bit of gaming if time allows!