The son of candy inventor Bill Anderson Short and mother Valerie Yates, William was born into a loving home. Three older sisters, a dog, a budgerigar named Fred and a constant stream of neighbors popping in to keep the house a constant hive of activity.
The early passing of his father and the financial pressures it attracted with no income brought in the fresh perspectives of lodgers, working at the local factory in the village. The incredible John Travis joined the family as step dad when Will was four, bringing a new role model for him to follow and grow. A lover of the arts and a caring man with no children of his own, John was a local headmaster, OBE’d by the Queen with a passion for the mountains and the wonders of the world. Books on creatures in far lands littered the house and the breath holding stories of explorers lost to the wilds, held the imagination of the children sat around the family fire at night.
Boarding school saw no academic acclaim, but life at LRGS taught Will the importance of comradery, a sharp mind and the power of humor. Skills that light the inner fire in the darkest of souls, becoming the saving grace to his failed academic attempts.
His mothers passing at 18 was a blow. She’d been his backbone and shining light of humility. The epicentre of every family occasion, the heart of every party and catalyst to “the best night ever” for both friends, families and newly welcomed guests to the home. Will returned from boarding school to support his step-father and then embarked on the first step of higher education, studying business at Manchester Metropolitan University and then onto the University of Huddersfield where he found his passion and career with ATTIK.
The awakening to the power of an accent, speedo’s and the cool factor of British culture, ignited Will’s self belief beyond the shackles of British schooling systems, made his time as a lifeguard in the USA life changing. He returned to his post of intern at his now first job at Attik in Huddersfield as account manager and new business manager of the budding aspirations of this Princess Trust funded startup.
Swiftly learning the impact intelligent and cutting edge design had on modern consumers ATTIK sprang forth to embrace the calls of Ford, MTV, AT&T, Disney, Nike, AOL and other then thought leadership brands, expanding the agency to London and Will then took the helm of expanding the business to New York and two years later San Francisco, earning him the position as equal partner to the founders. Sydney was next and with the face slapping lessons of the IT, .com and 911 crisis…ATTIK re-emerged stronger, smaller and more profitable to win iconic roles with Toyota launching SCION, Boost Mobile and Coca Cola. Enter stage right Dentsu…acquiring the power boutique and Will moved back to New York to take the helm as CEO under Dentus West chairman Tim Andree.
Buy-out done – a new chapter fueled by a re-ignition of Will’s senses tracking lion in Africa, riding with The Dakar Rally, climbing Vincent Massif in Antarctica and Elbuz in Russia…and relocating to Bali sparked a new awareness of the power of brand in WIlls heart. He consulted with the likes of Donna Karan, Ford, Emma Thompson, Ari Emanuel, John Hardy and more…swiftly realizing the need for self-belief, re-alignment in leadership and the power clarity of purpose would bring to ones sense of belonging.
Two years later…bambu baptism done, Will returned to the USA to launch Canadian agency SidLee into New York and then Los Angeles. Clients Samsung, Apple, facebook, Intel, Tiffanys, Pepsi and Absolut swiftly bolstered the agency’s presence and then with partners he launched Creative Innovation conference C2Montreal, taking the stage as the world’s number 1 Innovation Conference…fueled from the USA by Will’s connections and presence. But the light was brief and the swift growth and magnetism drew holding company Hakuhodo…four year later on. Mega deal done…Will stepped out of the CEO role and a new door was opened…
Four days, six leaders, one epic location and an industry forged technique on brand elevation brought a new dawn. Taking the creative pulse of his father, the power of community from his mother and igniting the possibility of the best stage for others to perform at their best from John, the Elevation Barn was born. In three year the business has embraced over 300 global business leaders through the onboarding retreat process…propelling self belief and personal brand identity…and uniting experts in 18 countries and 46 industries. Elevation Barn is now seen as a leading light in personal growth, leadership connection and grand challenge solutions…drawing partnerships with Gojek, Hughes, RoundGlass, BlackRock, MissionBlue, Biosphere Foundation, Wilderness Project, A World Enabled and EBYL to date.