What I've Learnt: Gary Jenkins, Managing Director, No Brainer
Gary Jenkins launched No Brainer - the Warrington-based PR and content agency - nearly seven years ago, alongside business partner Lee Cullen.
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The agency, which offers services encompassing paid and earned media, now boasts a growing team of marketing professionals working with clients including Sale Sharks HomeServe and Cash Converters. In 2021, No Brainer was listed at number 26 in the Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies.
Jenkins himself has a broad range of experience spanning nearly 20 years, having been a journalist and corporate communications strategist holding at companies like Bank of America and Merseytravel.
We found out the lessons Gary has learnt in his life and work.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
My first coffee of the day - it's just out of habit rather than necessity!
What's been your luckiest break?
I had two lucky career breaks, as I went for two jobs I wasn't really qualified for and managed to get them both, thankfully! I was very grateful that some very important people in my work life took a chance on me both those times.
The other was meeting Lee, my now business partner, when he was just starting out in his career. Sometimes you just have a sense someone will be important to you when you meet them.
What's your best failure?
I constantly fail! I don't think failure should be considered as a negative thing, as I've learnt something new pretty much every time from those failures. If we want to continue to push boundaries, take risks and challenge ourselves then I think that comes with the territory, and that's OK.
What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?
Always being absolutely focused on finding the right people to work with us has reaped incredible rewards for us as a business. I'd say spending and investing time finding amazing people - those working with us now and those who have been part of our journey - has been the biggest factor in our success to date.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
'Traction' by Gino Wickman. I read it just before COVID, and it's been instrumental for us since. Or if you're a parent, 'The Gruffalo'.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
From a work perspective: When that moment comes to either take a professional risk and go for it or take the safe option, then just take the risk. You won't look back.
From a personal perspective: That girl with the beautiful brown eyes in Majestyk nightclub in Leeds is 'the one'.
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
My business partner, Lee. We're like yin and yang as people, but it seems to work! We started No Brainer from nothing, based in my house, built our business from scratch without any investment, and have been through many ups and downs together.
There's a lot of other people who I could list here that have played incredibly important parts in my working life, and I make sure I stay in touch with - and support - every single one of them.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
When I was a journalist, a former Deputy Prime Minister once called me a "t**t".
How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?
I think it's helped us all realise that our work is part of our life - we've seen into people's homes, seen their families, pets, and we've experienced ups and downs together.
I think it's strengthened bonds between people (team and clients), but also taught us what's important, and balance and appreciating each other's lives are two of those things.
What does success look like to you?
I'm old enough now to have learnt what's important and, for me, success is all about contentment. I want to work for a business and with people, partners and clients that make me happy, so work is intertwined with life in a way that makes it enjoyable every day - or most days!