A self-proclaimed raging feminist, Ruth Hartnoll has had over a decade of experience in the creative marketing sector and has championed women and female-led businesses throughout her career. After founding Matchstick Creative, a certified B-corp, with her business partner Greg Macoy, she gained first-hand experience leading an agency and seeing the direct benefits of a diverse and purpose driven workforce. She spoke with us to share her experiences, insights into diversity and equity, and the importance of remaining authentic to your own values.


Ruth Hartnoll, Co-Founder and CEO of Matchstick Creative


Why is it important to celebrate and embrace differences in the workplace?

If everyone was the same it would be incredibly dull. Diversity is intrinsic to produce good work. The more equitable and diverse a business is, the more profitable it is. If you have more women on the board, you’ll make more money – it’s a scientific fact. A business’ bottom line depends on diversity. Not only do diverse workforces make more money, but they also produce better quality work – for example, ads created for women by women just makes sense. That’s why we began Firestarters, our purpose-driven networking event that enables change and solves problem by bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and varied lived experiences. Change can’t happen without hearing different opinions, which is why leaders need to listen to every member of their organisation to inform their decision making.

What is your advice for other women who may want to start their own business or become a leader?

I’ve always worked in small businesses with people 35 or less, because I wanted to ensure my voice was heard and there was an opportunity for me to lead and encourage change – it was a natural fit for me. My first piece of advice would be to figure out what your affinity is for. You don’t have to lead from the front or be visible if it doesn’t suit you, you can still make an impact.

If you do have an inclination to start your own business or be a leader, then I would definitely recommend having more of a plan than I did when I first started. However, remain reflexive – there’s no such thing as a solid five year plan anymore due to the volatile climate, so you need to be adaptive.

Finally, just go for it. Take an approach that feels comfortable and risk free for you. The recent narrative that risk and discomfort are necessary for growth isn’t true – be reasonable to your physical and mental health and be authentic to what feels right for you. Surround yourself with supportive peers whose values align with yours - this will spark inspiration and ideas. Get involved with your industry by attending networking events (like Firestarters!) and find your tribe.

Thank you so much, Ruth!

Ruth is part of the panel for an International Women’s Day brunch with Space Liverpool for marketeers, creatives and individuals alike to experience an afternoon of inspiring talks from some of the city’s incredible females. Find out more about the event here.

Matchstick Creative are hosting a series of Growth for Good Showcase events featuring expert local speakers who will lead the conversation around how you can deliver on great culture every day within your own budding business. Click here for more information.

Matchstick Creative is a purpose-driven creative agency based in Liverpool. We aim to create a more equal world through well-told stories and shared experiences, striving to improve life and well-being in our local area and beyond. When a purposeful business or organisation wants to transform its brand, elevate its content or provide a seamless experience for its customers, we're here to help. Let's do some good together.

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