Fergal Kilroy

Over 20 years of professional experience in non-profit, membership, and commercial organisations - from independent up to FTSE 250 level. I am focused on improving core offerings, delivering value, and increasing revenues by reaching and engaging new customers, audiences and stakeholders. My superpower lies in connecting organisations and brands to people by applying an audience-led, evidence-based approach - across product or campaign development, programme design, and delivery. My method has been successfully used over various sectors from Creativity to Education and Enterprise and consistently delivers new opportunities and strategic relationships.

Managing Director, London, GB, [email protected], 07980 856703

Work Experience

Managing Director, Elephant and Classy, May 2019 ~ Present

Elephant and Classy is a creative and content agency that creates stunning visuals, knowledge and insight-led experiences and creative campaigns to enrich our world. As co-founder, responsible for all client interactions, including brief gathering, budgeting, project management, new business development and supporting the Creative Director in idea development and ensuring the creative process meets artistic and commercial objectives. 

  • Led the project development and management for a digital platform that serves as an online career resource and community for people in Hospitality and Events who’ve experienced unemployment or career uncertainty. The platform objective is to help them master their financial, emotional and career growth so they can build a brighter future. Developed core persona development, product development, user research and seed marketing from idea to launch over 10 weeks. 
  • Developed a diverse range of projects for clients, including large-scale creative executions, thought leadership content, and partnership initiatives for senior business partners.


Managing Director, Strategy and Insight, UNLEASH Group, May 2019 ~ Aug 2020

UNLEASH produce events, insights, and media to enable the potential of technology, creating stories and moments that unlock the power of HR in organisations.  Contract as Managing Director, tasked with leading a department of 12 people for this €10M turnover business, covering Marketing, Content, Data, Creative, and Digital functions with responsibility for new product development and business process mapping across live events and digital content for the HR Community. 

  • Managed the research, analysis, and development of a new suite of insights and digital media for one of the world's largest HR Tech events companies. With this new approach to research and data, including the development of regional and global advisory groups, we rapidly uncovered key insights around audience personas which unlocked over €2M of reserved revenue to support the new products.
  • Created a corporate marketing team, implementing and managing the company's first structured marketing strategy. Spearheaded a company-wide business process review, which resulted in the implementation of Smartsheet, the embedding of Project Management and a new digital focus across the organisation.
  • Created and implemented the strategic planning cycle, business forecasting and management tools. This enabled us to fix a substantial disintegration of customer data, build the correct KPI's and marketing tools for the business to continue functioning, successfully improve sales collateral standards and subsequent ROI for events and sponsorship.


Editor and Head of ContentBett Show, (Hyve Group, and Ascential), 
Aug 2016 ~ Mar 2019

The Bett Show is a global series of events promoting EdTech. The flagship is the largest event in the world for education in London, with satellite events in Kuala Lumpur, Sao Paulo, Mexico, and Dubai. As Editor and Head of Content, acted as the primary link to the academic community and held strategic responsibility for the vision, growth and development of content and connected revenues associated with key shows in the Portfolio. Including full responsibility for market and audience research, programme development and delivery of world-class speaker acquisition for the flagship show.

  • As part of the portfolio leadership team, managed an £18M P&L with direct responsibility for growing content revenues, achieving 105% growth over three years. 
  • Prioritised implementation of new community-building initiatives, including creating a practitioner-led advisory group to advise on ways to improve content outcomes and a revised focus on PR and communications to target a mix of stakeholders that allowed us to engage and meet members of Parliament directly. 
  • Spearheaded and led the development and execution of award-nominated event content programme, securing coverage on BBC World News, PM show on BBC Radio 4, FT, Telegraph, Daily Mail, i Newspaper, Evening Standard, and more. 
  • Led a team of 5 to deliver a record Net Promoter Score of +49 for attendees to content and grew attendance to sponsored sessions by 150% year on year. These were achieved by redesigning the entire content approach, end to end, to become more focused on the visitor need. 
  • The only Content lead from the Exhibitions portfolio to join a unique leadership programme alongside colleagues from WGSN, Cannes Lions, and Money 2020.


Head of CommunicationsInstitute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), 
Mar 2015 ~ Aug 2016

The IPA is the trade body and professional institute for UK advertising, media and marketing communications agencies. Led the PR and Marketing Communications function to support the broader secretariat by providing holistic communications planning and execution across all initiatives for an exacting community.

  • Negotiated 18 pages of editorial coverage from Campaign magazine to support gender and ethnic diversity goals, including a cross-industry partnership with Twitter connecting the campaign to its users.
  • Presented a proposal to leadership to create new formats to provide targeted content to members while engaging a broader audience. The resulting podcast series attracted over 25,000 listens for the first 10 episodes, and AdLeader e-bulletin delivered double the organisation's standard open rates. 
  • Managed the association's conference, exhibition and special Presidential and council initiatives, including overseeing the events, digital, and PR teams to ensure we met KPIs for ticket sales, attendance, operations, and media coverage. 
  • Managed all media relations and public affairs activities for the President and the wider association, liaising with the Director-General as deputy for the Director of Communications to develop projects and initiatives.


Co-founder and Content Director, Superglue Ltd, Sep 2013 ~ Mar 2015

Superglue produces award-winning events and content for exceptional companies that attract opinion formers, resulting in greater sales and increased market share. As Content Director, led all client digital and stage or show Content or event amplification campaigns. As Co-Founder, took lead responsibility for all marketing and communications, including thought leadership and business processes development.

  • Initiated and managed customer acquisition plan, including relationship building with key stakeholders to promote agency's offerings to more than 100 companies, including brands such as The Royal Opera House, Microsoft, London College of Communication, Street Feast, and many more.


Membership Director, D&AD, Jan 2008 ~ Sep 2013

D&AD is a global educational charity created to promote excellence in design and advertising, most famous for presenting awards represented by an iconic Yellow Pencil trophy. Over nearly 6 years at the organisation, promoted to senior management, including three Director-level roles. During my time, I held responsibilities across all main functions of the business: this covered Community Management, Communications, Programme Management, Business Strategy, and Product Development.

    • Membership Director 
    • Content, Community & Campaigns Director (Communications Director) 
    • Deputy Director, Awards (Mat Cover)
    • Student Awards Programme Manager

  • Directed the development of a new membership proposition, which resulted in a 420% increase in members with only a 20% increase in costs - delivered in line with charitable objectives, including introducing student or new graduate industry representation to the Board. 
  • Developed a new communication strategy to drive 600% year on year growth in awards press coverage by focusing internal resources on broadsheet and strategically important outlets and outsourcing other general coverage to a PR agency. 
  • Increased engagement for D&ADs education programme by 900%, growing from over 200 entering schools to 2,000 and adding over 70,000 website registrations in two years. Additionally, led jury selection and management for the professional awards. 
  • Provided full project management for the D&AD Awards Ceremony and the Student Awards Ceremony and exhibitions as part New Blood.


Events Manager, Ivors Academy, Apr 2000 ~ Dec 2007

The Ivors Academy is the independent trade body for songwriters and composers in the UK, most famous for presenting the Ivor Novello Awards. They represent over 2,000 people, including the top-grossing, household name music creators in the UK. Over nearly eight years at the organisation, I was promoted consistently with responsibilities covering membership, large scale events management, awards programmes, special projects and association governance. Additionally tasked with representing the organisation at many cross-industry activities and working groups to ensure members voices were represented and promoted.

    • Events Manager 
    • Head of Membership

  • Produced 17 major awards ceremonies, including the Ivor Novello Awards, The Ivors Composer Awards, and The Gold Badge Awards. Sourced sponsorship, ticket sales and drove entries and judging to deliver profits and improved the organisations' profile. 
  • As Head of Membership, recruited and retained members. Line managed Executive, managing all day to day processes involved in recruitment, worked with the organisation's CEO on developing recruitment strategies and key partnerships and sponsorships. Delivered a range of talks, workshops and expertise and networking-building events as part of an annual activity cycle.


Various, General Roles, Jan 1994 ~ Apr 2000

During this period, worked for a range of organisations including the Lord Chancellor's Department, Home and Overseas Insurance Company and Granada Logistics. These positions taught me the fundamentals of customer service, attention to detail and strong administration skills. Also, a co-proprietor in a Private Members' club called The Club with over 5,000 members producing weekly events that attracted up to 1,000 people a time.


Education and Training

Professional Development:

  • Content Marketing
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Project Management (Smartsheets, Wrike)
  • People Management
  • Presentation Skills
  • Copywriting and  Writing for Advertising
  • Major Event Management
  • Salesforce
  • Filemaker
  • HTML
  • Dreamweaver and InDesign

Ascential, 2017 - 2018:

Content Leaders Programme

IPA, 2015:

Foundation Certificate

Bedford College of FE, 1993 - 1994

Media Techniques - SoC

St Thomas More, RC Upper School, 1989 -  1993

English, English Literature, History, R.E. and Science GCSE's, Business Studies NVQ – SoC