Friday 29 July, 2016

To celebrate Weber Shandwick’s 15th anniversary, I was one of the lucky 15 selected to join the company-wide 15×15 World Traveller programme, offering the opportunity to experience the work and culture of a Weber Shandwick office in the destination of my choosing.

I cashed in my winning ticket, trading one windy city for another. Goodbye Glasgow, hello Chicago!

Known across our network as the home of Weber Shandwick’s powerhouse consumer team, and led by the brilliant Susan Howe, WSChi is ten times the size of our three offices in Scotland combined! Housed in the John Hancock Centre – a Downtown landmark –  I was blown away by the Windy City.

Sarah Ward

Outside the Chicago office

First things first. To make my case for being one of the chosen fifteen, I had to make my application.

Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and my favourite West End haunts featured in my application video, as I wanted to share the city where I live with our network, especially since they were sharing theirs. My colleagues in Chicago prepared the perfect response. With an expertly designed schedule (kudos to Brigit the world’s most organised women, Lauren and Rana) I was able to truly immerse myself in Chicagoan culture.

I got the chance to speak to colleagues whose work I’m inspired by – including the brilliant All Things Hair team – and learn about the diverse work we do across our network.  They even indulged my special ‘cultural’ requests, try a Soul Cycle Class (a mad spin class that hasn’t made its way to Scotland yet) and eat Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!


Sarah Ward

My first experience of Chicago Deep Dish pizza!

The 15×15 World Traveller programme has been one of my favourite travel experiences; who wouldn’t love the opportunity to experience the city through the eyes of the natives? They know where the Cupcake ATM is!

It has also been one of my favourite professional experiences at Weber Shandwick. I’ve learned a lot about scalability. Our Scottish offices may be smaller in size, but we can still deliver world class campaigns for clients, by utilising our network of expertise and our passion for storytelling.

Meeting the other 15×15 World Travellers at our leadership conference in Toronto was a great way to finish our trip. However, our experience did not finish there. We shared our learnings and made brilliant new connections and friendships that we have brought back to our home offices.

I appreciate even more the incredibility talented people we have the privilege of calling our colleagues at Weber Shandwick, and I look forward future opportunities with them.