Q&A with Kiwi expat Maria Devereux, ECD and head of innovation at Accenture Song North America

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Q&A with Kiwi expat Maria Devereux, ECD and head of innovation at Accenture Song North America

Highly-awarded creative leader and former Colenso BBDO chief innovation officer and ECD Maria Devereux has joined Accenture Song North America in the role of executive creative director and head of innovation. Campaign Brief caught up with Devereux to talk about her move to the States, her new role and more…


CB: Maria, you’ve made a big move – from NZ to LA, from Colenso BBDO to Accenture Song North America. Can you tell us what inspired you to pack up your family and move across the Pacific to take it on? 

MD: I spent more than half my career at Colenso. That’s because it’s a special place full of weirdos like me who truly believe in the magical power of creativity. So, when the time came for our family to follow our hearts (and the bluegrass music) to the US I knew I needed to find my people, those who truly believe that creativity is always the answer. Enter Neil Heymann, Global Chief Creative Officer at Accenture Song. He is one of the smartest and most talented people I’ve ever met so I immediately wanted in on his plan to infuse all aspects of business with creativity *. Cut to many months of visa paperwork and the rest is history.

CB: Can you tell us about your new role?  

MD: My role is Executive Creative Director and Head of Innovation for Accenture Song North America. It’s painfully long but deliberately so. With equal parts creativity and innovation, it creates a unique opportunity to hang out at that magical intersection of technology, creativity and business transformation. I’ve already seen the unique way Accenture Song looks at the world. They see innovation as a mindset not an output and when that’s the way you approach business you can’t help but lead the way in creativity, innovation and culture.

CB: What qualities are you hoping to bring to the role and why are they important? 

MD: Genuine empathy, relentless ambition and human connection. I believe those three things are not only key to a company’s creative success but fundamental to its business success.

CB: What’s your take on the creativity happening in this region (AU/NZ)? What work stands out to you right now?

MD: Fortune favours the brave and I favour the brave kind of work the world has come to expect from Australia and New Zealand. The First Digital Nation from The Monkeys and the wider global Accenture team is incredible. It employs creativity to ask the provocative question – is a country still a country when it has no land above water? This climate adaptation story aims to help The Government of Tuvalu create the first digital nation; sparking urgent conversation around rising sea levels, climate change and a digital reality that Tuvalu may have no choice but to face. **

CB: What’s your take on the rapidly changing tech and digital evolution and its impact on creativity and humanity?

MD: I believe the future of technology is human. It’s only when we start to see technology as an extension of humanity that it has the power to put us back in touch with ourselves and the world around us. So as technology evolves, I’m determined to find ways to make it less frightening and more instinctive. We’re already starting to sense what’s possible and when it seamlessly integrates into the world around us, we forget it’s there.

*No bribery was involved in the writing of this statement.

** No bribery here either. I genuinely wish I’d made this.