Catherine Harris

TBWA\Auckland Managing Director

Catherine Harris is a returning Kiwi, having spent the last 15 years working in the UK and Australia for agencies including Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi and Havas. During seven years at TBWA\London, she ran the Nissan business across Europe. Harris has diverse category experience across banking, retail, automotive, alcohol and tech. In 2015, under her leadership, the ‘Penny the Pirate’ campaign for OPSM was ranked as the No. 1 campaign for Effectiveness in the World by the Effies and also won a Cannes Innovation Lion.

Read our Q&A with Catherine and discover why she is thrilled to be a part of YiA 2017.

Q: Why did you want get involved with YiA this year?

A: I recently returned to New Zealand and truly believe in the power of New Zealanders to positively impact the world. I think our youth has never been more engaged, more forward thinking or had so many resources at their disposal to have this positive impact.  Nothing is more inspiring than seeing young talent explore what’s next for us all.

Q: What’s your favourite innovation of all time?

A: The smart phone – compared to how I grew up, what this can allow us to do anywhere in the world is game changing

Q: What’s the piece of work you are most proud of?

A: Eye issues are some of the most under diagnosed conditions in children and can cause a range of behavioural and learning problems.  We found children disliked visiting their optometrist, while parents were not engaging in the importance of eye health. Children’s eye tests had not been disrupted for over 150 years so we re-looked at this old fashioned view of optometry.  We created a children’s book and an app that helped Mums pre screen their children’s vision through a fun interactive story that utilised the latest eye screening techniques – and we made a real difference to family eye health across Australia.

Q: What’s the most expensive innovation you have ever splashed out on?

A: I splash out the most on art – but when it comes to innovation, I am a sucker for new electronics: laptops, wearables and multiple smart phones are always on the list. My hand held Dyson is also a minor obsession for me… In fact all cleaning innovations are on the list.

Q: What’s your one piece of advice to our entrants?

A: The fact you’ve entered yourself in this competition puts you streets ahead of most people already, so never lose the passion and commitment that got you this far. But the best advice I ever got and I live by today – is to stay curious and be a life long learner in all things.