Human on the Inside with Endure’s Jacinta Simms

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5 min read

We’re big believers in the power of human skills. But don’t just take our word for it – the evidence for excellence powered by human (‘soft’) skills are everywhere! In this engaging, ever-enlightening series, we speak with industry leaders, innovators, and game-changers to learn a little about their personal career journeys, and how human-led strategies, philosophies, and cultures are proving a force for good in their working worlds …

Welcome Jacinta, and thanks for stepping into the #SuccessIsHuman Spotlight! 

You’re the Founder of Endure – a brand experience consultancy you established to support brands (established and emerging) with events and activations. In 1 sentence (ok, we’ll give you 3), what does your role entail?

Making brands that last! I deliver clever solutions for growing brands to connect with people through branding, activations and events – blending strategy with tactics.

You founded Endure only 12 months ago, but prior to that, spent an incredibly ~17 years with Destination Group Companies – a full-service strategic marketing, creative and events agency. Starting as an Account Manager, you moved through the business in various roles including Studio Manager, Account Director and finally Director of BD & Marketing. How does all this work speak to your personal purpose and what drives you as an individual?

I’m a naturally driven person – I’ve always been competitive and constantly challenge myself – as you can see from my career climbing at Destination Group (and the fact I played competitive soccer until my two gorgeous girls came along) – challenging myself is my ultimate driver.

So after all this work travelling the world, dealing with leading brands, people and wonderful mentors – my obvious next challenge was doing it myself and doing it better.

Delivering projects with huge budgets is easy – it’s delivering work creatively with clever solutions that’s the real challenge, but as I’ve said, I do love a challenge.

Looking at my industry, I identified a big waste problem and a gap in the market – the agency world is very competitive fighting for margin. Setting up as a collective means my business runs effectively, is more conscious, and allows me to deliver solutions that are attainable for emerging businesses. I don’t have the overheads of staff, but can still access all the experts I need. My clients also get to work directly with me – the person behind the brand.

Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

Very closely – I remember seeing the first Event Management course ever, and got onto it straight away at Victoria University – it was a Bachelor of Commerce learning all the business fundamentals specialising in events and tourism. With a year of compulsory work placement – I called the Destination Group relentlessly, and the rest is history.

More recently I replenished my love for branding with RMIT during COVID to refresh my marketing skills, which has helped in shaping the direction of my business today.

If you could share one piece of career advice to your 21-year-old self it would be …

Always follow your instincts, work hard, believe, be kind and sometimes persistent.

Maximising the potential of individuals, communities, and businesses through the power of human skills is the reason Maxme exists. Can you tell us a little about the role and/or value of human skills in the work/workplaces you’re involved with right now?

Human skills are everything. Without the ability to really connect with the people you serve (your customers), business is nothing. Post-pandemic, we need to be kinder than ever before, as we all re-connect. Having worked in events, I’ve always valued the power of human connection, but now more than ever before the world has also seen this to be true.

Self Awareness sets the critical foundation for all Maxme learning experiences. With that said … what’s your strongest trait/personal superpower?

So true goes the old saying ‘you must love yourself before you can love others’ – I’ve often stood by this. I would say my ability to adapt – thinking of out of the box solutions, in different environments, working with a range of people.

And on the flip side, what’s one human/‘soft’ skill you’ve had to really work on improving over the course of your career?

Empathy – I’ve always been a very direct person so you’ll always know where you stand with me, but this often means my softer side doesn’t shine through. My closest connections know I’m a big softy, but it is sometimes hidden behind my professional approach.

If you could share one piece of career advice with tertiary graduates, or other individuals keen to venture into the world of events and branding, what would it be?

The best learnings are on your feet – get out there and start practising – volunteer or offer work experience. Take in as much as you can from the people around you – a wise mentor once told me to ‘never assume’ – the eye is in the detail, particularly when it comes to events.

You’ve been granted approval to add one University graduate to your team, but have 100 applicants, all with outstanding academic results. How do you find your perfect candidate – what are you looking for?

Candidates with similar values and a good attitude. You can teach any technical skills, but a good attitude is a trait you master alone. Is there something different they have done to grab our attention, that’s both creative and clever?

In the words of John Dewey, “education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” What’s next on your #learning agenda?

Learning from the master of brand Mark Ritson through one of his mini MBA programs.