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Board of Directors

There’s a breadth of complexity to the challenges that businesses and government face today that provides an unparalleled landscape for the design industry to step up and demonstrate its ability to solve complex social and economic challenges, and drive opportunity through innovation into the organisations we work with and for.

But the design industry must become the architect of its own future, which is why the work of the DBA is so pivotal in galvanising the sector to achieve this change.

The DBA’s Board of Directors is fundamental to this process. Elected from the membership, our Directors possess diverse, yet highly relevant experience of bringing design to the strategy-setting table of business. They work closely with the DBA’s management team to develop the strategy and frameworks by which we support and enable the sector to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government, and together as an industry can build universal confidence in design investment.

warren-hutchinson-headshotWarren Hutchinson

Chair of the Board of Directors and Founder & Chief Experience Officer ELSE

Warren Hutchinson is the Founder of ELSE, a London-based experience design consultancy that helps business leaders accelerate product and service innovation.

Warren has been working within the emergent digital disciplines of design for over 20 years and has built a career working at the intersection between people, brands and technology, helping to shape new products and services for a wide variety of clients including UBS, Kodak, Nivea, Adidas, Bupa, British Airways, London 2012 and The Rolling Stones. He has also worked with a whole host of start-ups, fledgeling and early-stage businesses such as WeFarm.

During his career, Warren has worked in client-side and agency environments such as Yell, Universal Music, LBi and PA Consulting before founding ELSE in 2010. Warren has always been fascinated by the design challenges presented by digital, the need to have a solid grasp of emerging technology while maintaining empathy for the target beneficiary audience.

As the principal at ELSE, Warren is responsible for setting business strategy, defining culture and maintains a healthy hands-on approach in client work.

In the last ten years ELSE has worked for 70 clients on over 300 projects all over the world including Russia, Dubai, Macau, Australia, North America, Kenya and Ghana. ELSE has a progressive culture, having operated a 4-day work week and remote working practices for 2 years and this year ELSE celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Warren has twice been a judge at the Taiwan Excellence Awards by invitation of the Taiwanese Government trade body, TAITRA. He has also been a chair for the Design Week Awards – digital category, a DBA Mentor and last year was listed in the BIMA100.

Deborah DawtonDeborah Dawton

DBA Chief Executive Design Business Association

Deborah began her career with the RSA working on their Student Design Awards and she set up her own business delivering design events, competitions and conferences all over Europe for leading organisations.

In 2003 Deborah joined the Design Business Association as CEO. Funded entirely by the design industry with a remit to drive up their professionalism and the profile of design’s value in business, the DBA’s membership has more than doubled along with the association’s turnover to nearly £1million.

She was President of the Bureau of European Design Associations (BEDA) for two years until March 2013. Deborah is a member the European Design Leadership Board, an expert group of design advisors to the Commission and in this capacity is often asked to address policy makers on the role of design in policy.

Her experience of the design sector in the UK, this European-level insight and her work with BEDA, has resulted in her being consulted on the potential structure and strategy for design support in various countries.

admin-ajaxFrancesca Bayliss

Head of Commercial and HR Bulletproof

Fran studied Information Design at London College of Printing, yet rather than taking the conventional route into agency life as a designer, Fran consciously decided to redirect her career and moved into agency management. As a result, she considers Bulletproof her true career starting point when she joined as their Office Manager in 2007. At the time they were a small, close knit team of 18 people and Fran has been an instrumental part of the team that has grown the agency to over 300 globally whilst opening five offices overseas.  

During her career Fran has transitioned into a global leadership role, refining her experience within the business side of the agency whilst overseeing the commerciality of an agency network. As well as having responsibility for global finance, legal and HR, she champions her passion for people, equality and diversity. 

In addition to her role at Bulletproof, Fran sits on the board of Trustee’s for Saavan’s Trust, a charity set up in 2018 with the purpose of building schools in rural parts of the world where there is little or no access to education.

149813373124342Vicky Bullen

CEO Coley Porter Bell

After several years at smaller and mid-sized independent agencies Vicky joined Coley Porter Bell in 1995. 22 years later and she is still there, and has been CEO of the agency for the past ten years.

Vicky’s career highlights include winning a D&AD pencil for Kotex, building Kimberly Clark into our agency’s first million pound client, winning our first retail client with Morrisons and more recently winning our first ever global fashion brand.

She has a keen interest in neuroscience and applying learnings from that to the creation of brands and has driven that agenda within the agency, developing ways of working that bake in System 1 thinking from the start, so improving a brand’s chance of real world success.

Vicky is a member of WPP’s Stella, the female leadership group that champions the growth and development of WPP’s women, addressing the barriers that might prevent them from progressing their careers. She is also a member of WACL (Women in Advertising and Communication in London) and of the Marketing Society.

Tim Duncan

Founder & Managing Director TDC PR

Tim Duncan is the founder and managing director of TDC PR, an international communications consultancy working with clients across design, creative, technology and innovation.

Tim is a communications professional with over 15 years’ experience of working both in-house and for market-leading PR agencies. Prior to establishing TDC in 2013, Tim worked agency side at Grayling and 3 Monkeys Communications and then as Head of PR for leading design and innovation company Seymourpowell.

With broad experience working across a wide variety of B2B and B2C clients, issues and content, Tim is well versed in devising, developing and delivering comprehensive, strategic and tactical plans for external communications in support of business development, marketing, and reputation management.

John Gleason

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, A Better View Strategic Consulting

John is Founder of A Better View Strategic Consulting, which helps brands and client organisations elevate and leverage design as a strategic business competence. It helps agencies become more relevant, create better value, and become better businesses, and helps enhance client/agency relationships. John has advised more than 1,600 agencies and his clients have included 120+ corporate/ brand organisations. He is also a member of the DBA’s Expert Register.

Prior to launching A Better View in 2007, John enjoyed a 20+ year career at Procter & Gamble.  Notably he was head of design, innovation, and production sourcing at Procter & Gamble, and responsible for all external agency relationships in these areas and was known for seeking mutual value, and advocating for agencies to improve client processes & actions.

John serves on a number of advisory boards for a wide range of companies, agencies, industry association groups, start-ups and not-for-profit organisations.  John also teaches an experiential Design Thinking course in the MBA programme at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. 


microsoftteams-imagePernilla Johansson

former Chief Design Officer, Electrolux Group & Co-founder of Centre for Organisational Creativity

With over 25 years experience within the field of design, Pernilla Johansson is now helping organisations improve their innovative culture by enhancing organisational creative capacity. By understanding both the current state and the desired ambition of the organisation transformation is being supported from within.

A key part of Pernilla’s experience at Electrolux has been leading a highly successful Change Management process. Swedish-born Pernilla joined Electrolux in 2008 as Head of Design for Major Appliances in Asia Pacific. In this position, she was part of a team that successfully launched 60 new products in China in 2013. In 2014 she moved to Sweden to lead the global Home Care & Small Domestic Appliances design organisation.

Prior to joining Electrolux, Pernilla was Head of Philips Design Singapore. In this role, responsibilities included the implementation of policies, strategies and objectives as part of a Global Management Team. Whilst at Philips, Pernilla was key Member of the Design Leadership Group (top 40). Pernilla holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design from the Department of Arts and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and has also worked in The Netherlands, France and the USA spending time in bespoke design consultancies.

Jeremy LindleyJeremy Lindley

Global Design Director Diageo

Jeremy is responsible for design across Diageo’s current brands and new products worldwide. His role is to transform Diageo’s design capability and output. Recent projects have included the redesign of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Baileys Original Irish Cream and the creation of John Walker & Sons Diamond Jubilee – a limited edition of 60 bottles retailing at over £100,000.

Prior to joining Diageo Jeremy was Head of Design for Tesco Stores Ltd. He was responsible for design across the portfolio of 19,000 private label products and for leading the Store Formats and Design teams. His early career was spent working as a Design Consultant and University Lecturer.

Jeremy is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and is active in a number of Design Industry bodies.

Will RoweWill Rowe

Managing Director Rufus Leonard

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Will Rowe made the leap from practice to the marketing services industry, joining the Michael Peters Group in 1988. Inspired by the passion and creativity he encountered, Will spent the following decade working in advertising, direct marketing and design, focusing on the financial, commercial and operational side of agencies including Cousins Advertising and Rapier.

Joining 40-strong Rufus Leonard as Finance Director, Will became Managing Director in 2000. Working closely with Neil Svensen and the team, he has helped develop Rufus into one of the largest independent design agencies in the UK, with the unique ability to bring brand insight to the evolving digital world.

Rufus Leonard is now 75 strong and ranks in the top ten of both design and digital league tables. Championing Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability since its early days, it sponsors and supports the Carbon Disclosure Project (of which Will is a Commercial Adviser) which provides a secretariat for the world’s largest institutional investor collaboration on the business implications of climate change.

andy-sexton-headshotAndy Sexton

Partner and Executive Creative Director 2LK

Driven by a commitment for effective design (and with seven DBA Design Effectiveness Awards under his belt to prove it), Andy oversees 2LK’s ‘Effective Experiential’ approach to creativity.

Trained in product design and marketing, Andy joined 2LK in 2007, initially as a 3D designer. Moving quickly through various leadership roles, he became Executive Creative Director and a significant shareholder in the business when he was just 28. Since then, 2LK has more than doubled in size, becoming a globally recognised leader in brand experience design. From one-off activations to multi-format experiential campaigns and permanent installations, he leads the strategy and creative direction for the likes of Intel, TikTok, Canon and HSBC.

With his fingers firmly on the pulse of what’s happening now and next, Andy regularly contributes articles and speaking engagements, judges awards programmes, mentors for the DBA and actively supports the design faculties at both Southampton Solent University and University for the Creative Arts.


Nicola Tiffany

Managing Director HMA

Nicola started her career 20 years ago as an Internal Account Executive at HMA – the agency she now owns and runs. As part of HMA’s planned succession strategy, Nicola returned from maternity leave after her second child in 2015 to take the role of Managing Director before leading a management buyout of the agency in 2016.

Following the MBO, Nicola and the management team pivoted the agency’s focus to a sector specialism in Health & Life Sciences – working with the NHS, NHS-commissioned services, third sector organisations and businesses from start-up innovators to global pharmaceuticals as well as partnering with academia on digital health research projects.

Passionate about inspiring the next generation of talent and shining a light on the career opportunities in the creative and digital industries, Nicola dedicates time to working with local schools and colleges; weaving digital components into traditional design courses, setting live briefs, carrying out mock interviews, and participating in careers events and panel discussions.


Stephanie Verschoor

Global Director/Head of Design, UX and Brand Experience Reckitt

Stephanie is a marketing specialist and business leader in brand & innovation strategy and creative development. 20+ years of experience in FMCG (client side). As Group Head of Design and Brand Experience at Reckitt, she leads the consumer health and infant nutrition business unit’s brand portfolios. She is responsible for Reckitt’s design and brand communication across consumer touch points, design led innovation (new products and business models) and delivering world class customer experiences for a wide range of wellknown global brands (e.g. Dettol, Durex, Enfamil). Stephanie is also the business owner for RB’s global artwork management process & system. She was instrumental in building a global strategic design management team in Reckitt’s global headquarters.

Prior to joining Reckitt, in 2008, she worked as a lead designer and creative strategist for The Walt Disney Company creating branding, packaging, point-of-sale and digital solutions covering consumer products in fashion, food, stationary, home & toy categories for both the Disney & Pixar group of brands. Based in Los Angeles GHQ with subsequent moves to Munich and London.

Stephanie holds an MFA in Graphic and Interactive Design from the California Institute of Arts (Fulbright Scholar) and a BFA in Graphic Design, Video & 3D from the Arnhem Institute of Arts in the Netherlands. She has been the recipient of many global industry awards such as the Red Dot Product Design Award, the DBA Design Effectiveness Award, IF Gold Packaging Award and Dutch Best Book Design award. Stephanie is a driver of diversity and female leadership.


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