Dynamic Duos: Love at first pint

This week in Dynamic Duos, Saatchi & Saatchi's copywriter, Phoebe Joiner, and art director, Mary Graham, share tales of their instant connection from a professional blind date, their unfortunate mispronunciation of words and organised chaos.

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

Phoebe Joiner:

Mary and I met on a professional blind date at a pub. I had no idea what she looked like, but from the exceptional footwear and fashion, I hoped the person walking over would be my art director. I’m not one for small talk but something just clicked between us. I think it was the moment we both professed our unashamed love for terrible TV that I knew we’d get on.

As the pub turned into the office, we figured out our working dynamic. Again, surprisingly easy. Both morning people, both able to have a laugh, both adopting the time-old method of just giving things a crack when we weren’t sure on what to do. We don’t gatekeep our roles either. Mary is just as welcome to chip in on the words as I am on the look.

I think by connecting as friends it really opened things up for us creatively too – no thought is too weird, irrelevant or small. I would feel deep embarrassment if anyone else overheard some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth, but with Mary, it’s fine. We pick each other up when the other is frustrated or stressed, bicker like a married couple when we’re testing our ideas and laugh through the fun and pain of every project. Even when we’re working from home, it doesn’t feel like we’re separate. We’re constantly chatting online like the days of MSN. And if we’re not messaging, we’re probably performing some kind of telepathy. Sometimes it feels like we’re operating as two people disguised under the same trench coat.

We’ve been partnered up for over two years now and to think of how much we’ve grown together brings a sweet metaphorical tear to my eye. Mary also went well outside of her job description and supported me through a difficult year last year, for which I’ll be forever grateful. I love our little tandem bicycle partnership and hope we ride off into a CGI sunset towards the future of our careers together.

Mary Graham:

Phoebe, where do I even begin? We were set up on a professional date to discover if we had a bond. I’d already got the job, so I was petrified we’d hate each other and be contractually attached to each other. How wrong I was. It was a match made in Below Deck heaven.

The Lincoln (Carlton) will now forever hold a place in my heart, as we sat opposite each other, shakily ordering our pints, hoping the other wasn’t a Rosé kind of girl. We instantly connected over being from overseas, our Alison Roman obsession and both being proud cat parents. She truly was the copywriter to my art director dreams.

Our work relationship is built on keeping it weird. We are strong believers that silly sells. Our best ideas come from chatting it out. We lock ourselves in a room and word vomit out ideas until we can sieve out a nugget of gold. We like to work as one unit, both having a say on the words and the visuals and are constantly learning from one another.

At Saatchi & Saatchi, we have been able to tackle some fun briefs together. From casting the lead guinea pig role for Vodafone’s Find Gary campaign to making people mimic F1 cars by only using the word ‘beer’, no day is ever the same at Saatchi. We’ve even had an international trip away together as we flew over to Singapore to compete in Young Spikes. This was an incredible experience, and we were lucky enough to have our work shortlisted. This trip also entailed visiting every hawker hall the city had to offer as Phebs and I lived out our culinary dreams.

Phoebe is the voice of reason, always keeping me calm and grounded during questionable client feedback. Her work ethic is unmatchable, she makes me want to do better every day. When life throws some serious curveballs Phebs remains stoic, her dry sense of humour perfectly intact. A two-time winner of the ‘Nothing is Impossible Award’, Phebs is so very loved in the office, always thinking of others before herself. Who else would create a degustation tasting menu for her cat’s 2nd birthday?

I will be forever grateful to Simon Bagnasco and Lee Sunter, for pairing us up. They were our matchmakers and facilitated the birth of our partnership but, more importantly, our friendship.

I love my pal and hope we get to keep being freaks together.

Phoebe on Mary:

Most memorable moment with Mary: There was one week when Mary was under instruction by her doctor not to talk. At all. This made internal video calls quite entertaining – the suspenseful silence as Mary typed out her thoughts, often paired with great facial expressions. I had a lot of fun that week. I don’t think Mary would say the same though.

Best word to describe her: Jokes. Which is one of Mary’s go-to words, but also seems to describe her personality too. She’s warm, hilarious, sharp, and full of excellent quirks.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: I would have to say the state of Mary’s desktop raises my pulse in the anxiety way. But it’s organised chaos, like knowing exactly where that shirt you tried on three days ago is. It’s under the dressing gown, next to the socks.

Mary on Phoebe: 

Most memorable moment with Phoebe: When Phoebe mispronounced ‘cutdowns’ on a client call, by adding an extra ‘n’ before the ‘t’. Her ability to cover it up was appalling.

Best word to describe her: Genius.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour she has: 11am is pretzel o’clock, without fail. Phebs is single handily keeping a certain snack company afloat.


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