If you’re crying in the loos or feeling unlike your usual self at work, take a look at what’s going on around you. Is your office making you sick? If you feel crazy but can’t explain why – it may be psychological abuse or gaslighting.

Nearly one in five Americans are bullied, and more than 60% are aware of abusive behavior in the workplace — Workplace Bullying Institute.

Chances are it may have happened to someone you love, someone you work with or someone you buy groceries from. It may have happened to you. You’re…


If your staff turnover is high and client tenure short, it says a lot about your culture. Having a good one is all about people, not ping pong tables and soft furnishings.

Company description in an actual job ad

“If you take a job where there’s lots of assholes, the chances are you’ll turn into one too” — Bob Sutton, The Pineapple Project, ABC, 2019

Ad agencies obsess over this concept of “culture” but having a good one is about more than just “matchy-matchy bean bags,” free pizza and…


Second-grade girls charged with collusion after early morning collision with the school principal.

Little Miss Sunshine, Roger Hargreaves, image: Madonna Deverson

Principal Stevens, a stern and physically imposing man, told the entire school at morning assembly about our alleged crime. He spoke into a microphone from the top steps of the library, broadcasting the news over the loudspeaker system, through the corridors and across the ovals. …


In the Era of Trump, when the President is acting like a competitor, how do you protect your brand?

Image by Madonna Deverson 2016

Stiff competition and adulterous clients make advertising agencies race to keep ahead of change. Partly because they like shiny new things but also to show that they know what the next era of [insert here] will bring. Change is a constant topic in our industry; we’re experts at talking about…


Has email become less urgent — almost irrelevant — as we shift towards more intimate, instant messaging platforms? Word.

Image by the author. @ Nick Metropolis, Los Angeles 2016

“I sent a lot of great emails” is not an achievement worthy of a resume bullet, nor is “answering emails” a remit on most job descriptions. And yet, sometimes it feels like that’s all we do, all day, every day.

I have 18,603 unread emails across 4 accounts today. I…


How revisiting old words can inspire new ones.

It was before authenticity, content marketing and corporate values became a thing. Clearly too early for the train to Purpose Town, I didn’t get the job (but we’re still friends).


You are here.

After two decades spent as a legal alien in the UK and US, Madonna Deverson returned home to Australia with no fixed address. When the welcome back parties dry up, she finds it not at all like the home she imagined.

I am upset. There are refugees on Nauru, false…


Returning expat Madonna Deverson explores old stomping grounds, confused but impressed.

Streets of Collingwood. Photo: Madonna Deverson

“Make sure you keep smiling,” says the toothless busker as he plays the spoons to Icehouse’s Great Southern Land outside a Japanese cafe. I nod before entering Gontran Cherrier, a high-end French bakery. Gontran, a celebrity chef, chose Collingwood…


Nearly three-quarters of us are going through the motions, showing up but only doing what is absolutely necessary to get through the day at our jobs.

Photo: Fed up graffiti, New Jersey. Madonna Deverson

Claire Snyder took active steps to find work that she was more engaged in. Meeting recently at RMIT in Melbourne, we discussed her transition from journalist to activist.

A freelance consultant for environmental advocacy and “purpose-driven” groups, Claire has high profile organisations such as OXFAM, Greenpeace and the Australian Youth…


Poorly run meetings are the biggest time suck.

Talking Heads, Image by Madonna Deverson, Nick Metropolis Collectibles, LA 2016

If your career has mostly been in small companies with dedicated internal teams who regularly communicate, you may not have a problem with meetings. My first “proper” meetings at one of the biggest global advertising agencies in New York were more like those captured so gloriously by Sarah Cooper in…

Madonna Deverson

Formerly @ New York Times, Ogilvy, Fox News Research , CCNY-BIC, Leo Burnett. Brand strategist, content, writer: trends, culture, media www.CONTXTURE.com

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