It’s difficult trying to talk to Nick Curtis about his achievements.
For a start, he’s not one for self promotion - which makes it difficult when you’re trying to discuss how far he’s come in such a short space of time.
It simply doesn’t matter to Nick that he went from being the very first employee at Maze Media to a partner in just two years. That’s because for him it remains a journey that is only just beginning - personally and more importantly collectively.
It’s all about the team and where it’s headed as far as the 30-year-old is concerned. And that’s hardly a surprise given it’s a vision that is matched by the company’s three other partners who have gone on to add Studio20a, To The End and Hut 42 to their expanding business portfolio.
"We’ve come a long way since 2009 but we’ve still got a long way to go," said the Lincoln University graduate.
“There was a quote from Richard Branson that’s always stuck with me: ‘Always surround yourself with people that are better than you’. As partners we’re not afraid of doing that. We always look to hire people that are better and can bring something that we can’t bring.
"If we carry on doing what we have been doing - employing the right type of talented people with the right personalities, the companies will continue to grow and improve in the way they have done.
“To me it was important to build the right sort of team in 20a. We (the partners) are involved with other businesses as well so our focus isn’t always 100pc on the Studio so it’s very important that the people we’ve got in the agency, and our other businesses, share the same vision and passion that we do so they can help take it forward whether we’re there or not.”
After graduating, Nick arrived at Maze in 2009 as a marketing executive. With an eye for design he set about ensuring the company’s creative work could be completed in house.
That drive and sharp business sense saw him offered a route into management level despite only being in his mid-20s.
Seven years on from that 2011 step, Nick now finds himself spending much of his working week within the confines of 20a as a director.
“These days I’m not designing as much as I’d like to on a personal level,” added the creative type who “was always drawing something or making up plans for a boat or house as a child while everyone was out playing football".
“But I am part of the team that’s producing better stuff than I could ever wish to do on my own. And that’s what it’s all about for me.
“There isn’t a vision to make 20a a massive team. We want to keep it small, dynamic and remain an effective unit that can win great projects. We feel we can achieve that with the type of people that we have here.
"We work and get on well together which is important when such a large part of our job involves creative meetings. Everyone works hard for each other and we encourage that. But we also encourage people to make sure they leave their work in the Studio.
"Home life and happiness is massive and when the balance is right it can help produce better results at work. We’ve never seen anyone as a number. They’re a person. It’s the way the four partners like to live life and the way we want to be treated by others so we treat people the same way.”
Name: Nick Curtis
Higher education: Lincoln University (BA Hons in journalism)
'Career' history: Maze Media (2009 - current)
Joined company in: August 2009 as a marketing executive
Current position: Partner and Studio20a founder and creative director
Biggest achievement: I'll let you know when it happens
Career aspirations: I want people to add to their achievements. I want people to excel in their careers. I want to see 20a work for bigger brands and win awards. I think I'd feel a lot of pride when I saw one of the team standing on a stage collecting an award.
Throwback Thursday - Transactor
Also coming soon
Meet the team - Nancy Barnard