Natalie Downie

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Natalie Downie is F&T’s Managing Director. Nat joined F&T in 2014 on a two-week work experience placement. Four years in, she was promoted to MD and received the prestigious Top30Under30 Award for the Hull & Humber region in the same year. She loves pushing the business to the next level and taking care of her employees and clients. When Natalie’s head is not in F&T business, she’s either on a spinning bike or out for a country walk with her partner and influencer dog Bruce where all walks end with a wine.

DARREN CLEWES

GROUP SALES DIRECTOR

Darren is the Sales Director for Forward & Thinking, as well as the sister group of companies. He’s got 23 years of experience in the advertising industry spanning press, OOH, radio and TV. Darren joined F&T from Primesight Outdoor, where he worked as a Business Director. He delights in providing joined up solutions for clients, backed by intelligence and evidence. Out of work time, Darren plays guitar in a few bands and is a junior girl’s team football coach. 

ALISON JOHNSON

FOUNDER / DIRECTOR

Alison is a founder of Forward & Thinking and COO and Director of its holding company SAAS Global. She oversees the overall strategy and ethos of the Group. With a mission to create the most innovative and customer-focused agency in the country, Alison’s drive knows no bounds. She has built an impressive team who really care about our customers, each other and the success of every campaign. And all this whilst being a taxi service for three children! 

NATALEA WALKER

MEDIA PLANNING MANAGER

Natalea oversees the Planning & Artwork team and optimises processes to provide the best campaign results and the smoothest client experience. She loves hearing about how the OOH landscape is constantly changing and incorporating new platforms into campaign plans. When she’s not juggling deadlines and liaising with Suppliers, you can find her rummaging through clothes rails or scanning fashion websites to grab a bargain!

Marina Gaines

Group Marketing and Communications Manager

Marina overlooks F&T’s marketing strategy and branding as well as those of its sister companies. She’s joined F&T in 2019 from M&C Saatchi after moving to the beautiful Yorkshire countryside from London. She loves F&T’s caring culture and that the clients are always front of mind. When she’s not sitting at her laptop devising plans and strategies, she’s outside in the field with her husband and son tending to their grape vines on the East Coast. 

Jo Costello

Senior Business Development Manager

Jo joined the F&T family 5 years ago. She has worked in the ad industry 13 years during which she has seen media platforms change and evolve. Jo’s main passion are her clients, and she prides herself on account management. When not at work she is juggling her time being a busy mum and finding time for herself, whether that be stood in the rain on the sideline of her son’s football match, or knee-deep in mud at her daughter’s stables watching her ride, or enjoying a cheeky cocktail with friends – there’s never a dull moment!

Andrew Johnson

Founder/Director

Andrew is a founder member of Forward & Thinking and CEO/Director of Group holding company SAAS Global. His remit is to build the teams and then get out of their way to let good things happen. A graduate of Hull University, Andrew ran businesses in Europe and the USA before returning to East Yorkshire. He is now the proud owner of our amazing ‘Wesleyan Chapel’ HQ as well as a father to 3 children, 10 marine fish, one cat and is fiercely resisting increasing this count any further.

Matt Ryder

Digital Marketing Manager

Matt runs F&T’s digital department, ensuring his team delivers the best service and results possible for our clients. He came to F&T in 2018 from one of the UK’s largest digital marketing agencies and is a big fan of our internal commitment to honesty and doing what is right over what is easy. When he’s not reporting on stats or tweaking campaigns, he’s looking for the perfect burger and craft beer or researching the next amazing place to visit.

Emily Rymchuk

Senior Media Planner

Emily is Senior Media Planner at F&T. She joined in September 2017 after 5 years of working at Redfish Group. She loves the family vibe between all of the employees and how much hard work and care really goes into the clients wants and needs. When she’s not researching the best OOH media for clients and putting the plans together, she’s either out and about socialising or watching sport … with a Prosecco (or two)!

Georgia Hall

Designer

Georgia first joined F&T as Marina’s Marketing Assistant Apprentice. With a degree in Interior Architecture & Design, it became clear Georgia had a passion for design so the role of Junior Creative was created. Now Georgia is the Designer for F&T and its sister companies. Away from her creative software, Georgia enjoys visiting new places, watching crime documentaries and searching for quirky furniture for her partner’s new home – which she now claims as her own! 

Fiona Downie

Media Planner

Fiona is a media planner at Forward & Thinking, putting together client campaigns and making sure they all run to plan! She has been with F&T since November 2018, after moving to Yorkshire earlier that year, having a change of scenery from working in the City of London. She loves the company and the close-knit/family vibe we have, and that shines through to our clients. Outside of work, she loves to have a cup of tea in her PJs, binging some Netflix! 

Katie Jones

Group Accounts Manager

Katie is the Group Accounts Manager for F&T and its sister companies. She joined the team in 2018 and loves F&T’s strong work ethic and passionate team. When Katie isn’t head down in an excel sheet, you’ll find her exploring the mountains with her family and partner, followed by a drink in a cosy pub! 

Lisa Hepworth

Business Development Executive

Following 3 years of self-employment running a successful coffee shop, Lisa joined F&T as a Business Development Executive. With a background in client management and digital marketing plus an MSc in HR Management, forging strong relationships is just one of Lisa’s strengths. Away from work, you can find her spending time with family and friends indulging in food, drinks and laughter! 

Chloe Cordell

Media Assistant


Chloe is the Media Assistant here at F&T. She joined the company in September 2019, she loves how much everyone respects and care’s for each other and their clients, they always go above and beyond. When she’s not liaising with suppliers and checking bookings, she spends her time with her partner Chris trying to train their cheeky puppy Freddie!

Zoe Lawrence

Media Assistant Apprentice

Zoe is a Media Assistant Apprentice here at Forward & Thinking. She joined in November 2019 after spending two years studying business at college. She loves the ethos at F&T and how well we all work together to be the best we can be. When she’s not working she likes going for walks at the coast and in the countryside. 

Molly Thompson

Digital Marketing Executive

Molly is a digital marketing executive here at F&T. She joined the team in November 2019 following four years at The University Of Hull, studying a BA in Business and Marketing and an MSc in Advertising and Marketing. She loves F&T’s emphasis on training and development and is always working towards gaining the next Google accreditation. Outside of work, she’s either binge-watching a Netflix crime documentary or planning her next holiday!

Lydia Empson

Content Producer

Lydia started working with F&T during an internship for her University course Media and Popular Culture. She loves the companies values and the team loved working with her. Following her successful internship Lydia took up the role of Content Producer for F&T and its sister companies. When not writing a script or editing a video Lydia is spending time with her partner and friends or watching a classical Hollywood movie!

Andrew Marshall

Business Development Manager

Andy has 10 years experience in marketing spanning across print, digital, TV and OOH. He has a passion for creating lasting business relationships which develop alongside clients goals. Outside of work Andy can be found with his wife and children (mostly being taxi to his teenagers or climbing frame for his toddler), organising the Sunday league Men’s football team he manages or in his garden pub/shed enjoying a cool glass of Moretti.

Reena Solanki

Business Development Manager

Reena studied media communications then pursued a career in event management leading to a love of planning and being organised! Before joining F&T, Reena worked for Global Media focusing on national radio campaigns. Reena joined F&T for the family feel and importance of client success and retention. She loves working with clients who like to be ahead of the game and forward plan. Reena’s always six months ahead and lives life by the having-things-to-look-forward-to-rule. Whether that’s weekends away with her partner, city breaks in Europe or food festivals with friends and family!

Sarah Nicholson

Digital Marketing Executive

Sarah joined Forward & Thinking as a Digital Marketing Executive in October 2020, after working in-house for a large E-commerce company. She graduated from the University of Hull in 2018 with a BA Marketing degree as a mature student, having switched careers from accounting to marketing a few years previously. Sarah was drawn to Forward & Thinking by the client-focused approach and close-knit team. When she’s not working, she can usually be found spoiling her pet rats Frodo and Sam, gaming, or reading a fantasy novel.