Founder and Managing Director
Darren Thompson is a highly skilled, accomplished, and versatile leader with a wealth of integrated marketing experience and a track record of building diverse teams across regional locations. His journey began at GTA in Zimbabwe, where he played a pivotal role in transforming the agency from a start-up in a garage to one of the largest independent advertising agencies in Southern Africa. With over 75 staff and billings exceeding US$3 million, Darren led the successful acquisition of Barclays Bank, a long-standing agency client.
In 2006, Darren embarked on a new chapter by founding AfricaAD, which later merged with CM&A Ogilvy. During this time, he secured pivotal business from renowned brands such as Nestle Kenya, Afrasia Mauritius, iWay Africa, Dell Africa, and Delta Beverages (SAB Miller/AB InBev). The creative work produced for AB InBev received international recognition and numerous accolades, particularly the Zambezi Lager Follow the Call thematic campaign.
Relocating to the United Kingdom in 2017, Darren has continued to excel in both agency and client leadership roles. In 2014, Darren established Openminds Digital to provide Ogilvy's Zimbabwean clients with a comprehensive digital offering. Alongside his agency roles, he held Board and consulting positions with notable organizations, including Cimas Healthcare, Colcom Foods, Zimbabwe Football Association, and ZimBrand Alliance.
Throughout his career, Darren has embraced the complexity of modern marketing and successfully guided companies through digital disruption. He firmly believes that brands capable of fostering lifelong connections with customers prioritize customer-centricity. With an impressive 25-year career leading award-winning agencies and serving Blue-Chip clients across integrated marketing, Darren and his team of consultants consistently chart innovative paths to growth, tackling complex challenges for their clients.
Beyond his professional commitments, Darren is an active member of esteemed industry associations, including the Marketers Association, the Association of Advertising Practitioners, and the Advertising Research Foundation. Additionally, he showcases his talents on the golf course as a top-flight golfer, representing the National amateur men's side for over a decade.
Functions and Events
Lauren has worked exclusively in a service-oriented role in various industries for the past two decades, earning a formidable reputation for professionalism and attention to detail. Her portfolio includes designations as diverse as Campaign Director for the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Human Resources Manager for Deloitte and Touché, General Manager and Art Director with the exclusive art gallery Richard Rennie and several managerial positions within the hospitality industry.
Lauren sits on the Board of Openminds and oversees all functions and events. Lauren founded the iconic Green Bean Coffee House and was General Manager of the prestigious Five Star restaurant Seasons Lodge, later rebranded to La Serenata Restaurant & Functions Venue. While at La Serenata, Lauren coordinated many high-profile events, the most notable being the Prime Minister's wedding which involved International dignitaries, high levels of security and over 1,000 guests. Lauren's attention to detail and personal touch has helped to create the most memorable and outstanding events.