An Interview with Jacky Fitt

By Anj Handa

I first met award-winning author, editor and copywriter Jacky Fitt at a TEDx Ed event in Pocklington in 2014 and we reconnected recently.

In life, it’s all about the ripples. How Jacky came to be a speaker at the event and how we subsequently met is a great example of the ripple effect…

Photo of Jacky Fitt

Jacky had written copy for Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation, a charity set up by Richard Stuttle and his family to raise awareness of the importance of safe travel after the killing of his sister, Caroline, whilst she was on a gap year in Australia.

The TEDx event was sponsored by the Hull based law firm, rradar, where Richard worked at the time. He’d kept in touch with Jacky and invited her to speak about the concept of ‘give to get’, her work as a copywriter and her book on content marketing ‘How to Get Inside Someone’s Mind and Stay There’.

Jacky’s work is about listening, understanding and articulating ideas and concepts through words – making the complicated clear. I bought that first book of Jacky’s, the new updated version has just been published in the US through Business Expert Press, but we didn’t have any further contact until a couple of years later.

Although her main role is Co-director at creative agency The Big Ideas Collective, I reconnected with her through daCunha, a new short story and publishing portal, which she supports as Social and Digital Editor.

Together with daCunha, I recently helped to create Campfire for Business, a business event built on the premise that every relationship is based on stories, anecdotes, and shared experiences; business relationships are no different.

Our aim was simple: to inform, inspire, and spark discussions about the power of stories in business. Jacky and I share this ethos, so I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed by me.

Jacky, how did you get into writing?

I didn’t train as a writer. It naturally came about through my ability to tell stories. They appeared whatever I was doing and I’ve changed career several times but there was always a forward movement. At the start of my career, I worked in stage design – that’s where I met my husband. Then I moved into TV and film, then I later got into writing while working at ITV in Leeds.

You’re passionate about addressing flaws in the education system. Tell me your thoughts.

There will be jobs in the future that we don’t even know exist yet. Our current education system isn’t geared up for this. We need to teach young people how to be creative and flexible critical thinkers. As a mum of two daughters, I feel it’s important to try to model these behaviours. Both have chosen non-traditional paths where they will need to be confident and innovative.

My eldest daughter is currently at university studying Computer Science in a predominantly male dominated sector. My younger daughter is going to train to be a professional dancer. At only 16, she’ll be one of the youngest on her programme and will be living away from home.

Recently, when I was chatting to a mum of primary school-aged children, she told me that at her children’s school, music is being taken off the curriculum. This continues the erosion of the arts in our schools and is such a backward step.

For me, education should also about nurturing talent in all its forms and instilling a passion for curiosity and lifelong learning which only comes through a broad curriculum. It’s why story time on the carpet is so important for young children but fewer and fewer experience it now.

Why are stories so important?

We’re hardwired to respond to stories. Through stories, we discover about life and truth. We project away from our own lives. Stories show us different possibilities. Stories broaden our world view; make us more tolerant and help us to make sense of things. We can use them to influence or give information. And we hate to miss the ending of stories, which offer us closure and resolution.

As adults, many of us feel we lose touch with our creativity. This need for reconnection is part of the thinking behind daCunha. We want to get back to the stories.

How can we do that?

By taking away all the ‘noise’: the ads, comments, ‘likes’ and ‘thumbs up’ emojis, we can make some much needed mental space to enjoy stories penned by authors from all over the world. The Internet is making these kinds of initiatives a fantastic way to bring people together.

I recently came across a new book called ‘New Power’ by Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans. It explores how the Internet is delivering open, participatory, and, by and large, positive peer-driven business models, outstripping the old traditionally built businesses.

They also have great stories behind them, think airBnB and the free photography collective Unsplash. For me exciting brands and sustainable business means profit goes hand-in-hand with engaging stories that put people and our planet first. Better business is built around collaborations.

Don’t hold your cards too close to your chest – be confident to ask for help and give support to others, you’ll be repaid many times over.

It’s exciting to create a groundswell of activity and engagement and for us all to use that momentum to connect with others in a positive way. When small groups come together, combined they can have a global reach.

Thank you, Jacky. It’s been a pleasure.

At Inspiring Women Changemakers, we too are working to create a groundswell of people who want to drive positive change in the world.

That’s why we’ve recently launched our membership package, which will enable changemakers from all over the world to join our movement. It’s underpinned by a partnership with The RSA, a global network of 28,000 Fellows. Learn more about membership here.