Verity JohnstonVisible Start Graduate

The woman who lives for adventure is itching to get back into agency life. If anyone’s going to go out and get what she wants, it’s Verity Johnston.

Verity Johnston is not a woman who leaves life to chance. Highly motivated and extremely ambitious, she seeks out opportunities and grabs them by the horns – Verity is a woman who forges her own path. With a zest for life and unshakable sense of adventure, there’s nothing she will not embrace.

Studying Social Psychology with a view to a career in law, at the end of Verity’s first year at university she took a summer job – an advertising agency was after a kitchen porter. But BSB Dorland saw her potential beyond the canteen and placed her to start off in the post room: a stationary-lined gateway into the industry. Verity learned enough to be hooked. And hooked enough to take a year off to work in it full time. 32 years later, Verity’s still yet to return to her university.

That summer job opened the door to other agencies. A role in the Finance department was a baptism of fire; paying the bills at a company with a pretty terrible cash flow. But Verity was up for the challenge. And embracing it as she always does, she became an expert at negotiating extended payment terms. Verity is a woman who knows her accounts.

When the creditor abuse became tiresome, she changed agency again – sticking to the finance she knew, but switching from paying to billing, where there was a lot to learn. Throwing herself into better understanding the clients’ various needs and getting to grips with everything from profitability to cash flow, when the Financial Controller spotted Verity’s ability to grasp the detail, she saw a destiny that resided in another department. And as her mentor, when she moved, Verity followed. One of the founding members of creative independent St Luke’s London, her talents were soon snapped up by the planners. Verity was now a JAP.

But planning was no match for matters of the heart, and after losing hers to San Francisco, with two brilliant years to her name, Verity, her life partner and two-year-old daughter took the plunge and moved to the US. Returning a year later with a whole heap of memories.

As a partner, mother and Planner, her career spanned both integrated and brand agencies, with jobs at Iris, McCann London and Claydon Heeley. Verity embraced it all. Some things never change.

Until they do. And when a serious accident caused damage to her spine, she took a part-time online shopper position instead of joining a gym. Then when COVID and lockdown hit she became one of our valued key workers. When everything changed, Verity never did. Verity is an embracer of life.

Still a keen traveller, she loves to explore new countries; soaking up their culture, breathing in their atmosphere, sampling their food and drink. You’ll also find her at a music festival or live gig – as you’d probably guess, Verity’s taste is eclectic: wide, vibrant and varied.

After 10 years of being freelance, the woman who lives for adventure is itching to get back into agency life. There’s something special about being able to get deep with clients, about the agency camaraderie, about the opportunities for personal growth that you just don’t get as a consultant. And if anyone’s going to go out and get what she wants, it’s Verity Johnston. What a woman.

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Tina BettisonRuth Brown