Getting to know GAM. Next up we have our Client Services Director,
Darren Appleby!

What was your first job?

As a glass collector, and I also worked in a shoe shop on Saturdays…. both were great fun and an education on how to treat and communicate with customers.

In terms of a real job, I was extremely fortunate. I left school at a time when friends who were not staying on to do A-levels were put on Youth Training Schemes and as I recall, getting paid next to nothing each week for the privilege. I was awarded an apprenticeship at a computer memory manufacturing plant. I spent time in the design office, production engineering, sales and marketing, procurement, quality assurance, accounts, which allowed me to experience first-hand how a company operated. I loved it!! Every single manager invested time in all of the apprentices to help us grow, and the company sponsored all of us through higher education so we were getting paid to go to University (and working back at the plant during the holidays). With my training finished, I took a job as a quality engineer. Part of my work was hands-on testing with new technology; the other part was helping the company get ready for BS/ISO accreditation – and the knowledge I’d gained through the apprenticeship scheme meant I had plenty of insight to know how things should be.

With the process knowledge gained, and with the support of another apprentice who had made his way through the ranks, we helped install and configure new materials requirements planning software – and this led me to working as a Production Controller; I was doing everything from buying components, planning work through the factory, and then selling the finished modules out to distributors.

And eventually, at the tender age of about 23, I burnt out. I was doing so many hours, and working part-time jobs in bars, that it took its toll and I moved on to a different tech company.


How did you get into MedComms?

Oh, that’s a nice bridge! Shortly after moving on, the company I went to were acquired by Sun Microsystems – who played a key component in the explosion of the internet. During my time there, I learned how to build web pages to share information with a large team, so when I left (after 10 years of service), I pursued that path and worked for a company selling content management software and  building websites. That led me into agency life, working on a load of various fast-moving consumer goods brands.

The London commute eventually beat me and I found a role as a digital lead for a healthcare agency based close to home – that was my first experience of the regulations attached to MedComms; and the rest is history.


What does your role at Get Animated Medical (GAM) entail?

I get involved in many aspects of what we do and what we create for our clients – but primarily, I want to make sure that whatever we deliver is pragmatically serving a business need (for our clients); and that our relationship is sound, mutually beneficial and built on respect, open communication and a freedom to challenge each other’s thinking. Those relationships allow us to deliver the very best work.


What inspires you day to day?

Ooh lots of things. There are many mentors I reflect on and look up to – I have had the privilege of working with some fantastic people (in and out of MedComms). I do find a lot of inspiration via LinkedIn. I’ve built relationships with individuals I’ve never met but LOVE their content – how they use the platform, how they engage with their target audience, how the allow the personalities to shine and don’t shy away behind some professional front that has nothing to do with who they really are. They are the ones succeeding.

It is also a great platform for taking inspiration – both creative and tech-based – from other sectors. I genuinely enjoy seeing something done brilliantly. And of course, it’s an easy route into relevant industry content.


What has been your favourite project so far at Get Animated?

Hmm toughie. I think the work we’re currently delivering is something to behold – but as it’s still under wraps, I’m not at liberty to say. Hopefully, we’ll be picking up more awards next year and that will give everyone a view of what we’re capable of doing.


How would you describe your lifestyle?

I’m very healthy. Call it a mid-life crisis if you like but I’ve made several positive changes over the past couple of years and I’m reaping the benefits. I eat well. I go to the gym a couple of times a week; and I fell in love with Ashtanga yoga about a year ago. I admittedly got into that to help my golf game (yes I’m a golf anorak – I confess!). But there’s so much more to yoga than flexibility and posture and I’ve found great benefit from the meditation that comes with it. During the lockdown period, I took much solace from getting on my mat and practising every morning.


Where is your favourite place and why?

There are three or four different places I’ve visited that I’ve fallen in love with for different reasons. Belek in Turkey is golf paradise. Perth, Australia was amazing (though admittedly, I have family there who I see rarely and that added massively to the value); and I was blown away with Hyderabad – India is a fascinating destination and I love the people (and the food).

But my number one choice is going to be Kefalonia. It is a beautiful island with every possible landscape crammed into a tiny space – vineyards, wheat fields, beaches, and mountains are all stunning. The people are very friendly, and there is a simplicity about their lifestyle that is far removed from the day-to-day stresses of home. A place to go for a real relaxing break.


You’re stranded at sea after a shipwreck and floating on a piece of driftwood just large enough to keep you dry. Talk us through your inner narrative you say to yourself to keep yourself going and stay calm. It could be a movie you replay in your head to distract yourself, or a song you hum repeatedly.

It’s in my nature to plan – so I’d probably start by reflecting on the possible positive outcomes of such a bizarre place to find myself in! 😊 And then I’d definitely sing along to the entire back catalogue of the Arctic Monkeys to keep myself entertained.


What dogfood do you buy for Alfie and why?

He has Nature Diet – it’s mixed vegetables, rice and meat. He’s been on that since growing out of puppy dry food and has remained healthy throughout his 11 years. He’s also partial to anything from the cheese counter and looks lovingly no matter what I’ve got on my plate.


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment