1953 – 2022
Our much-loved colleague Ronnie Halden passed away on Monday 12 December 2022. He is deeply missed by the whole team here at Bigwave.
Ronnie certainly left his mark on Bigwave though. His impact was felt almost as soon as he joined us in October 2013, where he’d moved across from a well-established Exeter print business that was grappling with an industry moving away from print. Prior to that he had run his own successful marketing business for many years using the skills he’d acquired at top agencies across London.
The first thing Ronnie did once on board was to start absorbing all things digital. He had connected the dots of a declining print industry with the growth of digital platforms and communications and wanted to leverage it. It was the growth in demand that he sparked that helped us move, much more progressively, into wider digital service delivery.
His appetite to learn was a key strength.
Always listening, squirreling away information, meant Ronnie quickly began to use digital methods, combined with his years of traditional marketing and strategic knowledge, to help our clients grow. He had that uncanny ability to walk into a meeting and almost immediately identify a clients needs (and come up with the right solution!).
His interest to learn filtered through to the team too, and from it sprang many internal initiatives like our Deep Dives, where focussed talks are open to anyone, or myriad of presentations the agency would go on to deliver at regional and national events – most of which were arranged by Ronnie.
One of the reasons for his success was his curiosity in fellow humans.
Ronnie was always the first to make an introduction, the life and soul of the party, and a champion for networking. It became a common phrase to say ‘I bet Ronnie knows them’. In fact there weren’t many people in the South West business scene that Ronnie didn’t seem to know! And he wouldn’t just recall a name or a face, he could tell you all about their life, where they last went on holiday and what currently vexes them! How he retained all this information is anyone’s guess.
Over the years Ronnie introduced many fellow Bigwavers to their first networking events. He had a knack of being able to coax the confidence out of people, putting them at ease with a bit of pre-match coaching and motivation and then subtly introducing them and shifting the limelight. Many at Bigwave will remember these experiences well.
His interest in what made people tick meant he often saw things in others that they perhaps didn’t see in themselves. His great skill was nudging people toward their untapped skillset that lay within. Whether it was a subtle comment of praise, or a seemingly random mention of a topic or action, it always had the effect of creating that light-bulb moment or provide a sense of reassurance that the path chosen was the right one. And all without the person realising. What a gracious skill.
Of course, we can’t not mention the banter!
Such an integral part of Ronnie’s character was his mischievous sense of humour. Never one to leave a room without at least dropping one pun into the mix, the joy was not in his pun (although if we finally give him credit – they were actually quite clever), it was in his audience’s reactions to them. Queue crumpled up faces, gestured hands in the air, and much laughter.
A committed Chelsea FC fan through and through, the banter could divert into talk of the Blues – with the obligatory winding up of his fellow football fan colleagues. Or he would tell the most extraordinary stories from a life well lived on the London ad agency scene, where he worked at some of the industry’s most prolific firms. Helicopter rides, indoor beach parties and shouting out of skyscrapers featuring amongst them.
Banter aside, Ronnie helped to develop, not just the agency business and profile across the South West, but also friendships, confidences, the desire to learn and grow and an overall positive environment to be in. It’s this positivity that helped us win Best Place to Work 2022, an award we were all so proud of, Ronnie especially, and a win that owed much to the example that Ronnie always led with.
We will be forever indebted to the laughter, love, respect, and support that Ronnie brought to this agency and all those that worked alongside him.
Thanks for the smiles Ronaldo.
With much love