Meet the board

26 is all about you. We want everyone to feel they can have a say and influence the shape of 26 to come. We’re just here to help it happen. The eight of us who originally conceived 26 are still very much on board. We’ve since been joined by several other directors, who’ve brought their own strengths and style to the table, helping us maintain our momentum and enthusiasm. This is who we are.

Alastair Creamer

Founder and co-Director of Creamer & Sundt, I use the power and impact of the arts to address business challenges around culture, communication and leadership. I also run a not-for-profit enterprise, Eyes Wide Opened, which helps people discover their direction in life and the steps they need to take to achieve that.

Andy Hayes

What’s your day job?
MD at Quietroom.

What’s the point of you?

Why did you join 26?
Great projects. Great talks. Great people.

What do you do on the management board?
Help run events and projects. Drink coffee and eat biscuits.

What are you reading?
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Tell me a secret.

Becca Magnus

Becca is an award-winning independent brand strategist and writer, working with forward-thinking design agencies and startups. She loves to play with language, finding new ways to create worlds with words. In 2020, she was on the jury for Writing for Design and Graphic Design at the D&AD Awards, and judges the Writing category for the Brand Impact Awards this year. For 26, her pet projects include the Diversity Masterclass series, 26 Shields, 26 Flashes and Armistice 100. 

Elen Lewis

I’m a writer, editor and author. I write novels about lightning, books about brands, ghostwritten marketing books that I can’t talk about and poetry. A former journalist, I now write and run workshops for clients like Sainsbury’s, Unilever, Diageo, BP and DHL. I’m the editor of The Marketing Society

Elise Valmorbida

Elise’s communications agency word-design offers a rare mix of brand strategy, design and writing services. Her internationally published books include the award-winning novel The Madonna of the Mountains (Faber). Elise teaches creative writing at Central Saint Martins, Arvon, Guardian Masterclasses and Faber Academy. She’s been a D&AD President (Writing for Design), External Examiner for Falmouth University’s MA in Professional Writing, and Edinburgh International Film Festival Trailblazer. For 26, her pet projects include training, design, writer-awards, Wordstock, 26 Writers Norwich, PEN International and Fine Cell Work.

Jamie Delves

For almost 20 years, I’ve been helping businesses use words to make a difference – to their people, their customers, their bottom line. I’m a brand language consultant and a content strategist. I write everything fLowkey poet and Scot incognito (i.e., you won’t notice the brogue), Jamie eats by working with companies, agencies and brands worldwide with everything word-wise. His writing has helped win awards and he has a couple of his own, but he won’t happy until he’s ghost-written hooks for Beyoncé and scripts for Rockstar. Pre-COVID, he was rather nomadic, spending time between, London, New York and Edinburgh. For now, he’s settled back in Bonnie Scotia’s capital. Next, maybe the moon.

Heather Atchison

For almost 20 years, I’ve been helping businesses use words to make a difference – to their people, their customers, their bottom line. I’m a brand language consultant and a content strategist. I write everything from annual reports to apps. I help others recognise the power they hold in their fingertips, and use it well. And I live happily by the sea in Brighton.

Lisa Andrews

I’m a freelance writer and editor with an eclectic career that has managed to cover everything from entertainment journalism (print and online) to corporate magazines and reports. Since joining 26, I’ve helped lead the project teams for Armistice 100 Days (2018) with Imperial War Museums and our two wildlife projects with The Wildlife Trusts – 26 Wild (2020) and 26 Habitats (2021). I also found my tribe here.

John Simmons

John Simmons is a founder director of 26, an independent consultant on brands and language, and the author of many books on writing for business. He’s also co-founder of Dark Angels, the programme on creative writing for business. He has initiated many of 26’s creative projects from 26 Letters with the British Library in 2004 through to projects with the Wildlife Trusts. In recent years he has become a published novelist, first with Urbane and now with Bloodhound: Leaves, Spanish Crossings and The Good Messenger.

Margaret Oscar

Margaret is a brand marketer with a particular focus on the way businesses communicate with employees. By integrating a brand’s core purpose with employee objectives and igniting ceased ownership, brands can influence and engage an internal audience, building a strong employee bond with the business, its goals and the go-to-market strategy. She has extensive experience with a diverse selection of brands and sectors with a proven track record for creating strategic approaches that deliver effective messages and associations.

Martin Clarkson

Love of the performing arts and a unique insight into the way narrative and meaningful conversation shapes our lives, took Martin from the Board of M&S to being a founding partner and now Chairman of The Storytellers.

The Storytellers helps companies focus on the ‘power of people’ in provoking successful change, using the remarkable influence of stories and storytelling. More recently Martin and his business partner launched the consultancy create balance, choosing to work with ‘good people doing good things’ and helping them find, maintain and improve balance as both a capability and better way of engaging with the outside world. 

Martin Lee

I am a founder of Acacia Avenue, a research and strategy consultancy. Prior to that, my career had been in bookselling, culminating as Marketing Director at Waterstones, I’ve been a member of 26 since it started, and on the board since 2004. I always say that I write for a life, not a living, and 26 fulfils that part of me perfectly.

Sana Iqbal

Sana Iqbal is a freelance strategist, graphic designer. She enjoys collaborating with clients who want to make a meaningful difference and are a force for good. Her expertise spans across branding, campaigns, marketing and storytelling for clients including The Storytellers, National Grid, Bupa Insurance, Labour Party and Lively Minds. Sana is a regular visiting lecturer at Liverpool School of Art and Design and enjoys mentoring young people through The Prince’s Trust.

Sue Evans

Sue Evans is a freelance writer and researcher, covering mainly design related topics. She has a degree in the theory and practice of art and design. Her work covers commentary, insights and design guidelines for creative agencies and their clients. She is on the core team running Threads of Time, a collaboration between 26 and Fine Cell Work to publish a book to mark the prison stitching charity’s 25th anniversary in 2022. Sue is nurturer in chief of 26’s fledgling publishing imprint, 26 Characters.

Twitter: @sueevans2

Wendy Jones

Wendy is a journalist with a background in broadcasting. She used to worked for the BBC, as education correspondent, Today reporter and lots of other things, and is now a freelance writer. She’s a founding trustee of the education charity, National Numeracy, and also teaches English to adults new to Britain. She’s been on the 26 Board since January 2017, has taken part in many 26 writing projects and run one – 26 Lies.

Twitter: @WendyJonesWJ

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