Stephanie Drakes

Stephanie Drakes, Managing Partner: Business & Relationships, Social & Local CIC
Following redundancy from a major advertising firm in 2011, Stephanie Drakes knew there was no future for her – 55 and female – in the advertising world.

She started to build a vision for the first social advertising business. Enter SoLo, the only communications company to be established as a Community Interest Company, investing 50% of profit into social projects, with people at its heart.

SoLo pushes the boundaries of equality and gender balance, disrupting the traditional and often harsh ‘bleed-to-succeed’ advertising agency model. A fully digital and remote working environment offers flexibility and work-life balance for individuals, irrespective of life circumstance, and its workforce embraces mums, carers and OAPs.

Not satisfied with changing the game on a micro level, Stephanie now seeks transformation across the industry through Brilliant Creative Minds, SoLo’s most powerful project yet. Launched this year and bringing together high-profile clients, agencies and procurement teams, the initiative has started the conversation about stress in the agency world. The vision is lasting behaviour change where staff wellbeing is paramount, and people can freely develop their creative capability in an enriching environment. Employees will feel confident in speaking up when stress becomes harmful, agency leaders will have resources to support them, and clients will trust that their suppliers are looking after their people.

Proving that Steph’s brave and dynamically different business model is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense, SoLo has generated profit year on year, and invested thousands of pounds in community projects.