Can Swim Fill The Ad Industry’s Training Gap?

There are plenty of ad schools, internships and other resources available to students looking to get some training and experience in advertising and marketing. The further along you get in your career, though, the less there seems to be unless you pursue and MBA program or seek out traditional venues for presentation training or software program-specific courses. And frankly, most agencies don’t have the money, resources, or will to provide the training employees seek to get to the next level in their careers.

Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin, former CCOs at Ogilvy in Toronto, want to change that. They’re launching a new businesses called Swim. Strategy has more:

Swim will focus on more senior people first, not at the CD level but on the way there, and will tailor programs to all levels including marketers.

The actual learning goes from better presentation skills to looking at clients’ business on a more holistic level to help agencies partner more effectively with their clients. “It’s more the psychology of the situation and communications, working on giving people insights into their clients’ world, and presenting themselves authentically,” explains Vonk, who says all of their biggest success stories involved great client partnerships.

Vonk and Kestin will personally be teaching, as well as curating the skill sets of others. Vonk says they won’t tell groups what to expect, and will be customizing content, whether that’s dinner with an inventor or an acting class.

I like the idea, and I’m hoping this will be accessible and affordable to folks wiling to pay out of their own pocket. Unlike, say, the Hyper Island Master Classes which run something like 3-4K for a two-day seminar.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.