Our Team

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Trent

Managing Partner

From mustering in the Kimberly and his start in the ad business with industry icon Tony White, Trent’s 28-year career has been marked by his enjoyment of people and drive to succeed.

Along with a highly developed “selling sense, ” these traits have led to success working on some of Australia’s best-known retailers and brands including Cadbury, Capt’n Snooze, Retravision, and Toyota.

Trent co-founded Balance in 2004 and is passionate about understanding his clients’ needs and backing and improving the Balance team.

Aside from work he loves nothing better than getting the family out to the farm on their motorbikes, fighting bigger blokes in Brazilian Ju Jitsu or taking on anyone in a challenge with the trademark line, “Care to make it interesting?”

Dave

Creative Partner

One of the most passionate practitioners of the art, Dave is still just as excited about creativity and ideas since he first did AWARD school way back in 1991. Hailing from Perth, he cut is teeth as an Art Director working on Direct Mail campaigns for the newly launched BankWest before landing a gig at Perth’s Award-winning agency, Bowtell Clarke and Yole.

A move to Melbourne in early 2000 and working at a senior level around town, he joined as our CD in 2012 and became a partner the following year.

He is a creative mind that is always on, an executional perfectionist that pushes us to be the best we can be with success on major names including GSK, NAB, Nissan, and Westfield to name a few.

Outside of Balance, you’ll find Dave chasing the holy grail of the perfect coffee, pushing his Yin and Yang at Crossfit, exploring nature trails or thinking about his next family break.

Rankin McKay

Strategist

After an outdoor childhood of minimal supervision and time at university, the bright lights of Melbourne beckoned to Rankin. Starting off as a suit in Y&R, Masius and DDB, he worked on Johnson and Johnson, Toyota, Mobil and The Age before deciding to start his own shop.

Next came 13 years of Batters & McKay, which attracted clients including Simplot, Sigma, Coles Myer, the Victorian Government and Total Tel – the first pre paid mobile on the Australian market. Post Batters & McKay, Rankin founded Realtime Strategy and became involved in digital. A passionate practitioner, he is known for his ability to immerse himself in a clients business and think in different ways to find solutions.

When not working, Rankin indulges in his love of farming, photography, English literature and vinyl sound. His Nirvana remains a bush trip with his daughter.

Daniel Valenti

Studio Manager

Equally adept cracking the whip in the studio as he is flexing his own personal design mojo and using HTML5 and After Effects to make our digital sing, Daniel is a waypoint for nearly all the work of the agency.

Often the subject of light hearted derision for his neat freak desk, both his rock cred and leadership from the front, style are equally unquestionable.

He’s also a passionate Geelong supporter and a footy trivia master. When he’s not pushing pixels, you’ll find him surfing in Torquay, popping an Ollie at the skate park or adding to his vintage t-shirt collection.

Debbie Mortensen

Art Director/Designer

With a professional rap sheet that includes a Bachelor in Design with Honours, Deb is also a talented illustrator, animator and editor adept with After Effects and Premiere Pro.

With an early background in industrial design, she has even had her furniture exhibited at the prestigious Salone de Mobile exhibition in Milan.

Never one to merely, skim the surface she is a thoughtful and insightful designer who explores widely to find solutions for clients.

Outside of work she thrives on physical challenges and loves good food, training at Crossfit and water skiing.

Kylie Barugh

Digital Specialist

While she now calls Melbourne home, Kylie hasn’t lost the humble and hardworking nature our kiwi neighbours are known for. She graduated with a double major in Public Relations and Marketing before starting her career as an Event Manager for Not for Profits organisations. While cutting her teeth on traditional media, Kylie’s enthusiasm in the digital space keeps us all on our toes. She has a natural thirst for digital strategy and video content and is our go-to for getting our clients and brands social. After hours Kylie’s working on her love for all things Italian, travelling and keeping an active lifestyle. She calls herself ‘a bug kid at heart’ – by which she means ‘big’ kid.

Sharon Rider

Producer/Content/Broadcast

Sharon’s 15-year career as a producer runs from films and TV all the way to the smallest of content pieces, where her craft and attention to detail are undiminished.

With work on pre-production, trailers, interviews and promotion for The Matrix, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Swordfish, and Lord of the Rings and as a producer for agencies like AJF Partnership, Clemenger, Cummins and Partners and Y&R, she is a seasoned professional who has a comprehensive knowledge of production issues.

When not working Sharon is kept busy, keeping the family in line, taking photos and beating her husband at squash.

Maria Sfyris

Head of Finance

You can always hear Maria when she’s in the office. Her infectious ways have attracted her to a variety of companies, big and small over the past 20 years.

When she’s not balancing the Balance books, you’ll find her shopping, spending time with her family or living the dream of running her own flourishing florist shop, Newport, in Williamstown.

Sophie Toohey

Account Executive

Sophie grew up in a farm in Gods own country at Springbank, near Ballarat, which is to potatoes, what Monte Carlo is to yachts.

As if all that peace and harmony, might have been too much, she then completed a Masters of Communication at Deakin and racked up 5 successful years in the rough and tumble
world of TV sales at Prime 7.

By now familiar with agencies, she went looking for her next challenge in our world and hence we are now the beneficiary of her keenness, attention to detail and country work
ethic.

When not at work Soph unwinds with her dogs, the odd beverage, regular exposure to nature and the pure untrammelled joy of reality TV.

Frank Cartwright

MD, New Zealand (Hyde)

Frank runs Hyde in NZ and Balance has worked together with him and the Hyde Group for over 12 years. He is a branded retail specialist with extensive experience in business management, strategic planning, communications and marketing. Pragmatic, conceptual thinker working directly with clients and businesses overseeing the successful implementation of ideas, plans and concepts to deliver sales today and build brands for sustainability.
His specialist expertise includes branded retail strategy, marketing and communications with broad experience in many categories working with leading local & international brands.

He has founded successful start-ups including Grey Advertising in New Zealand and change managed the merger of 2 independent advertising businesses.

Frank’s an avid cyclist and skier and he can teach you a thing or two about the slopes – he is also a qualified ski instructor and a part-time alpine junior race coach.

Hemi Herath

SEM Specialist

Hemi is our conversion-driven SEM expert and takes the time to understand our clients goals and works seamlessly with the Digital and Account Service team at Balance. She is an active mum of two and loves getting back to her native Sri-Lanka for some R&R.

Chris Dewey

Associate Creative Director

When you come right down to it there aren’t too many who can be considered ‘a doyen” of any industry, but Chris is one. He’s also likely to be slightly embarrassed by this bio, but bad luck mate, okay?

The National Creative Director of George Patterson during a golden era, Chris has been behind some of the country’s most memorable campaigns like the iconic “Goggomobil” for Yellow Pages that have now made their way into our language. He has also created a number of landmark behavioural change campaigns that include Worksafe’s “No one should die at work” and “Learn and live” for TAC that were extensively tracked and considered extremely effective in the market.

With his uncanny ability to get to the heart of a brief – and experience covering everything from brand strategy, script writing, art direction and creative supervision, there isn’t much he can’t do.

Since first coming to work with us on Melbourne Airport in 2016, Chris has become our regular “go to” which his title reflects.

Chris now divides his time between Melbourne and the fresh salt air of the limestone coast.