Back in the 90s McGuirk took her passion for photography to the next level when she attended Manchester Met University for Art Foundation, followed by the Edinburgh College of Art where she graduated with a Bachelor of Art's with honors in visual communication.
McGuirk's background in photography has equipped her with the tools to speak visually and reach the target audiences of a long list of high-profile publications and online outlets such as Creativebase.com, ZOO, Pictured and others.
"I was Researcher and Editor of Photography for Creativebase.com and ZOO at Will Gompertz’s publishing company, Purple House. Both creative industry publications championed international creative excellence, across a range of disciplines,” recalls McGuirk.
"ZOO was a sumptuous coffee table quarterly while Creativebase was one of the early pioneers in digital publishing. It was a hotbed of activity and I was invited to attend high-profile events and award ceremonies and interview leading figures in the creative community. "
Living in an impressive range of countries across continents over the course of her life, McGuirk has immersed herself in various cultures, something that has served as an incredible asset helping her to understand the various needs and wants of audiences around the world.
"I’ve always cast an international focus across my life and have prioritized travel as a way of learning about different cultures," explains McGuirk.
Reaching fluency in French, Italian and German, McGuirk's experience living and working across the globe has also provided her with a hard to come by knowledge and adaptability in the professional world in regards to the way different cultures approach business. In fact, one of her early career achievements in the realm of multicultural communications was working as a translator for the Intercity Festival at Teatro Della Limonaia in Italy where she liaised between German, Italian and English theater professionals and scripts.
Already equipped with a keen insight into the direction global businesses were going in, McGuirk was using her talents to bring together companies across cultures 13 years before Forbes published their findings on the invaluable impact professionals with multicultural capabilities have on the business sector in the article "The Rise of Multicultural Managers."
McGuirk's unfettered knowledge of the way audiences from different cultures can see an ad, but receive polar opposite messages, made her the perfect person to take on the role of Media Buyer for the 2005 D&AD Awards Call for Entry campaign.
As such, McGuirk recalls, "I was responsible for placing adverts and marketing material in numerous trade publications across the globe. The concept of the creative campaign referenced the English language phrase “green with envy.”
Founded in 1962, the D&AD Awards (Design and Art Direction Awards) is a globally respected charity organization that promotes and honors excellence in creative advertising and design, with an awards program that invites the world's foremost talents in the field to submit their work for consideration.
In regards to translating the "green with envy" message into a concept the Japanese audience could recognize, McGuirk explains, "On learning the intricacies of the local markets, I understood that this would not translate universally, especially for the Japanese audience. In order to communicate our message, I approached celebrated designer Issay Kitagawa and initiated the commission of a bespoke advert for the Japanese market. This resulted in a record number of Japanese entries.”
She also ran the Creative Research Department as an internal creative consultant for advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather.
While working with the agency McGuirk says, "I managed the Creative Resource Library and provided reference, inspiration and concepts for print, poster, TV, viral and interactive campaigns."
Her knowledge of the latest and greatest developments in the creative world and her awareness of the international talents driving innovations in the industry led her to create, research, edit and publish the quarterly publication Showcase magazine and showreel for Ogilvy. An internal print magazine and accompanying DVD, McGuirk's creation provided the company with invaluable resources exposing them to a collection of talents that would be useful in the creation of campaigns for the company's high profile clients like Ford, American Express, GSK, Unilever, BP, DHL, Vittel, Cancer Research, WWF and others.
"Content included cutting-edge photography, illustration, short films, music videos, interactive media, publications and international feature films," explains McGuirk.
"Executive Creative Director, Malcolm Poynton, subsequently championed Showcase at international Ogilvy and WPP Creative Directors’ meetings, resulting in an extended distribution to Ogilvy Group agencies and European offices.”
The importance of McGuirk's contributions in this area cannot be overstated. Through Showcase magazine and showreel, McGuirk took the guesswork out of the process of searching for new and innovative talents and provided Ogilvy with a streamlined source of information and inspiration on the best and brightest talents and the most important innovations in the industry.
Jennie McGuirk has always known what the next best innovation is going to be before it happens; and her unparalleled knowledge of groundbreaking developments in the creative world combined with her expertise in multicultural communication has continued to keep her at the top of the industry for the past 20 years.