Craig Headshot - permission given

Board Member Interview with Craig Borthwick

We are delighted to bring to you an interview from our new UAE board member, Craig Borthwick, Partner at LIGHTBLUE.


What’s your golden rule?

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and lead others in doing so, it’s an incredibly powerful strategy for continual growth. After all, change is the only constant. 

Who has been your biggest influence?

In a business capacity, my first agency leader in the UK was a real visionary innovator, something I realise a lot more now. I’d go so far as to say one of the founders of what nowadays, rolls off the tongue as ‘experiential’. At the time some genuinely thought he was nuts! I thank him for the introduction to a creative space that continually inspires me packed full of emotive storytelling that I still can’t believe is a ‘real’ job. ‘Don’t expect someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself’ was his golden rule. Simple, but inspiring. 


What is your most hated business expression?

Believe it or not, I was gifted pencils with a number of these engraved as a Secret Santa. What seemed a great gift, now actually serves as a constant reminder of how truly awful they are! One client I worked with a few years ago would continually ask to ‘peel the onion’. While it was a directive for taking a deeper dive into the details of a concept, it just caused unnecessary tears and confusion for everyone. 

Elsewhere ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ just doesn’t sit well with me. The truth is in a creative environment, if you believe in it, have the bravery to invent, or reinvent whatever you like. 

What’s the smartest business idea you’ve ever had?

Shifting the mindset of our Agency from a transactional business to a consultancy-led partner. What followed was the biggest year for the Agency across all metrics and an action-packed value proposition. 


Which leader do you admire most and why?

It’s difficult to single one out. Hastings, Branson, Sinek are just a few inspirations. But I’m Scottish and a Man Utd fan so it’s hard to look past Sir Alex Ferguson. To win once is something, but to always win across a period of 27 years is mind-blowing and no fluke. His principles in focus, instilling confidence, embracing competition, resilience and continually building for the future remain key cornerstones of great leadership today. Harvard signed him up to deliver training to global executives following his career in Manchester so it backs up his value in the wider business world. 

What keeps you up at night as a marketing leader?

Incredible marketing moves at the speed of culture, and we need to always be ahead to ensure we effectively engage our audiences. With that, being aware, engaged and continually learning is essential because what mattered yesterday, may not tomorrow. 


Why is being a member of the Society important for your career?

From early in my career, I’ve been a member of the Society in the UK and it’s always represented a pillar of brilliance in our industry. The Society in the UAE and wider region brings together the highest calibre of marketers to collaborate, inspire, inform, and support. Individually we are good, but collectively we are unstoppable. It’s completely unmatched globally. 


Tell us something that’s not on your CV

Arguably my most important role of all! I’m a dad to two young girls. Both brilliantly curious, creative, and incredibly caring they are shaping up to be leaders of tomorrow who also push me to be better and I learn everyday from. I’m determined to carve out a better and more equal world for them. That’s something I love.  


Published on 27 March 2024


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