Dynamic Duos: iProspect’s Sam Cousins and ARN’s Sam Harris

In this week's Dynamic Duos, chief strategy officer at iProspect, a dentsu company, Sam Cousins, and sales director - Melbourne market leader at ARN, Sam Harris discuss how meeting in the infancy of their careers set them on a path for a long and supportive friendship, each thinking of the other as a sibling.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two members of the same organisation with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Sam Cousins, chief strategy officer, iProspect, a dentsu company


Sam Cousins:

In 2006 when I joined Mitchells in Melbourne as a group acount director one of my first media meetings was with SBS where this slick well put together guy Sam Harris worked. Sam seemed to know everyone in Melbourne media and had a great perspective on the market for me coming straight from Mediacom in London. Sam was my first media lunch in Australia introducing me to the stalwart Lamaro’s, which we regularly go back to, to reminisce on our younger years.

Over that first lunch we discovered our shared love for steak, pinot noir and movies. In those early years Sam showed me how to lunch in Melbourne (something he still excels at today). We did some great work together during that period, getting Renault integrated into the Tour de France for the first time ever, building a long-term partnership with Top Gear and Shannons at SBS. And then later on making great use of the ARN talent.

Over the years I spent much time with him and his wife Maddie and my husband Brett, as they lived close by. We have spent an equal amount of time going to wineries and going away for the weekend as we have working together, as he moved from Nine to SBS to Starcom to ARN.

In 2011, Sam was the MC at my wedding, which ended in divorce but we don’t talk about that anymore. Turns out his strike rate as an MC isn’t that great with at least a 50% breakup scorecard; news I could have done with beforehand.

(But realising the error of his ways he did introduce me to his best friend recently….)

In the same year Sam and Maddie got married and since then we have watched all of our kids grow up together, instilling in them the importance of visiting wineries, good friendships and the marvel universe.

Despite still being friends with my ex-husband, divorce was hard and Sam (and Maddie) really supported me through that time. He is often a sounding board for me when it comes to difficult conversations or moments that I need to navigate both personally and professionally. Having no family in this country, Sam is like a brother; there for life coaching, piss-taking, support and good times.

I’m proud of all he has achieved in his working and personal life especially when it comes to his charity work with MND after his mum passed from the disease. We’ve done such great work together in recent years at ARN, especially for some of our FMCG brands. I think the audio space is in an amazing spot right now and there is no one else I’d rather navigate incredible innovation with for my clients than with him and his team.

Sam Harris, sales director – Melbourne market leader , ARN

Sam Harris:

I can still vividly remember the first time we met. It was 16 years ago and as a 27-year-old SBS sales director, I was doing my daily visit to the almighty Mitchells Media agency (yep, the good TV people visited ‘Harold’s TARP barn’ every day to hand out confirms, proposals and take briefs)! One day I asked where the new group account director sat, and I was promptly directed to her office for our first official ‘Sam meet Sam’ introduction almost 2 decades ago. We quickly established that we had a similar sense of humour, love of media, movies and socialising – a lunch was locked in swiftly!

Our work friendship continued to grow and grow whilst we had the opportunity to bring great partnerships to life that included Renault sponsoring and being integrated into the Tour de France and Shannon’s insurance sponsoring Top Gear. We’ve been fortunate to work and collaborate on so many great campaigns that included the launch of MINI, numerous BMW car launches and most recently bringing Ruffies Rusty Foods to ‘Will and Woody’s front porch’ during the seemingly
never-ending lockdown period and the bespoke ‘Kathmandu KIIS Summer show’ to name a few.

Our relationship outside of York Street, Lamaro’s and Crown restaurants also flourished. Our friendship groups started to intertwine as my mates and her mates all became friends. This was massively helped by our monthly Entourage parties where Sam’s boyfriend Brett would download the latest 4 episodes and we’d all get together to drink and binge watch them.

There’s certainly been some great and memorable moments in our friendship so far – proud to have been Sam’s first Aussie media lunch (Lamaro’s of course), responsible for her biggest Aussie hangover after my 30th Birthday bash, emceed her wedding and she was the official photographer (and guest of course) at my wedding. We supported and helped each other as we navigated the unchartered waters of becoming parents with our respective partners, all whilst still working and doing great work together, professionally.

I am really grateful for our long friendship that started as a work relationship and has evolved into a mate for life. We respect and support each other both personally and professionally and we always think of each other as that additional brother/sister. I’m really proud of Sam and her professional achievements now as the chief strategy officer at iProspect. A huge role that she takes in her stride whilst also juggling the challenges of being a single mum of two, of which she is brilliant at, of course.

Sam Cousins on Sam Harris:

Most memorable moment with Sam: Quite some years ago, before all of our kids were born; Sam’s 30th was pretty big. His theme was Hollywood and he went as Indiana Jones and I went as Jessica Rabbit. He rented the Deck bar in Brighton and I’ve never seen a group of people invest in the theme so well. Despite only living about 1.5ks from the venue I was incapable of walking home. I congratulate him still on providing me with the biggest 2-day hangover of my life.

Best word to describe Sam: Loyal

Sam’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Sam loves the media life, and that’s testament to the amazing relationships he has in our industry. But he never ever lets me disappear from a media event. He never wants the fun to end. I’ve had to sneak out of parties and social events to escape staying up all night only to be bombarded with messages demanding to know where I am. Everyone needs a Sam Harris in their life. It’s pretty fun.

Sam Harris on Sam Cousins:

Most memorable moment with Sam: Getting Sam to train my entire sales team on ‘why insights drive everything’ was such a valuable and meaningful experience for my team at the time.  This had huge impact and I happily returned the favour when I recently spent time with the young team members at iPro working with Sam on culture with these future leaders.

Best word to describe Sam: Loyal

Sam’s most annoying habit or endearing behaviour: Such a thoughtful friend. Always makes a huge effort with custom printed cards for all occasions and never forgets a birthday – even the family dog gets remembered!


If you and a colleague would like to submit your story to Dynamic duos, please email kwelch@mumbrella.com.au.


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