A few words about Gary Sharpen, founder of The Shelf, from his clients, colleagues and other people he has worked with.

“Gary only worked with us at Proximity for a matter of a few weeks, but in that time added enormous value. He joined us mid-way through a pitch, with our ECD on holiday and the team struggling to deliver the killer idea. A tricky proposition for most, Gary quickly got up to speed on the briefs and the thinking, spent some time with the creative teams, called a meeting and announced that we had the killer idea already on the table. In that moment he not only saved us several valuable days of procrastination but gave the creative team huge confidence that they were then able to carry forward to the (successful) pitch presentation itself. Not bad for the first day! I think Gary was able to have this impact because he combines keen creative empathy with the directness and authority that comes from experience. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Gary to others.”
Andrew Waddell, Head of Client Service, Proximity London, on the John Lewis pitch

“Gary is that rare breed of Creative Director that combines rational and emotional intelligence. He gets the need to communicate ‘messages’ but understands consumers and what makes them tick. His work for Freeview covered directing all of our DM and some aspects of digital, showing an impeccable instinct for integrating great ideas through the line. Gary is very inclusive if you want to be involved in the creative process or can work equally well in a ‘black box’ environment. He’s also a thoroughly nice bloke to do business with. Which helps a lot.”
Owen Jenkinson, Head of marketing, Freeview

“When I was Chief Executive of NABS, I worked with Gary on several projects. The most notable was our training course “Fast Forward”. A crucial element of the course was being able to work with top class mentors. Gary was a mentor five years running and was instrumental in making Fast Forward a success. He guided his teams through a very intensive and challenging 6 weeks, inspiring and encouraging them all so that they got the most out of the incredible opportunity this course gave them. Each of Gary’s groups had young people from all sectors of the industry – creative, planning, account management, media etc – and he made sure that each one of them learnt as much as they possibly could from the other disciplines, providing a thoroughly rich learning experience. Running Fast Forward is a full-on job and Gary was a real help to me personally. He’s a lovely chap to work with.”
Kate Harris, former Chief Executive, NABS

“I worked for Gary for over five years across two agencies and I can honestly say that those years were invaluable in enabling me to become a Creative Director — at a particularly young age. Although learning how to judge good creative was a given, it’s what I picked up about the other aspects of the job that helped me just as much. Whether it was process, man management or meeting etiquette, I learnt a lot from Gary and would recommend him if you were looking for a mentor to help you take that next step in your career.”
Malcolm Caldwell, colleague at Saatchi & Saatchi and Leonardo, and former Creative Director Hicklin Slade and Inferno

The Shelf  How we deliver creative support
Experience  About Gary Sharpen – creator of The Shelf
Creative Work  Some of our award-winning ideas
Awards  Recognition of our creative work
Press  Essays, reviews and articles
The Shelf Awards  Support for students and graduates
News & Blog  Keep up to date with The Shelf
Contact  Drop us a line to find out how we can support you