2 Minutes With … Claire Knapp, CEO at Havas Lynx

On transforming facts into creative opportunities

Claire has 13 years of healthcare communications experience working at global, regional and local levels in Europe, North America, Asia and elsewhere​.

We spent two minutes with Claire to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Claire, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up on an old council estate just outside of London, and now live in the West Yorkshire countryside. I've embraced the country life with complete vigor. So you'll either find me up a hill or at the market most weekends.

How you first realized you were creative.

When I was a kid, I won a painting competition on the Isle of Wight—not because my painting was any good (in truth, it was dreadful), but because everyone else painted what they could see in front of them, and I painted from a different perspective, as if I were in the sea looking back at the beach and shops and cafes. I believe that the first and most important step of any creative journey is finding a unique perspective. I am grateful that I was rewarded for that from such a young age.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Da Vinci. I remember seeing a copy of his sketchbook and being brought to a standstill by the seamless and adroit blend of art and science. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I missed out on studying medicine at university by three points. I was utterly devastated, truly inconsolable. I went on to study pharmacology and physiology instead, which landed me at Havas Lynx as a fresh-faced grad. Twelve years later, I was made CEO. So retrospectively, it was the most fortunate failure of my life.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

PichiAvo, an incredible duo of urban artists from Valencia. I love their fusion of classical and contemporary styles. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a limited print of Orphic Hymn to Poseidon by digitally queuing up at release time.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

The High Performance podcast. The Dan Carter vs. Jonny Wilkinson episodes are fascinating in terms of leaning into uncertainty and the pressure of a challenge.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

"The Attack," a gorgeous piece we did with AstraZeneca a few years ago. The cinematography, approach and suspense were quite provocative for the industry. 

A recent project you're proud of. 

"Healing the Healers," our whitepaper launched last year. We used proprietary data to uncover the simple but tragic fact that we're witnessing the fastest deterioration in healthcare professional wellbeing in recorded history. The more we looked into it, the deeper and more prevalent the challenge appears. For me, this was a jolting moment, to understand the responsibility we have with our work.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

"The Bear" is my favorite piece of advertising. I love the idea. I love the execution. I love the swearing. I love the storytelling. I love the craft. 

Someone else's work you admired lately.

I was a huge fan of the "Memory Test" by Bayer from 2022. I'm an even bigger fan of Alex Okada joining us as chief creative officer since then!

Your main strength as a creative person.

I am good at identifying trends and contradictions and being able to translate those into actionable strategy. This is part of the fun when it comes to strategy: taking those leaps from facts and turning them into creative opportunities.

Your biggest weakness.

I can be quite an impatient person. When I'm passionate about a piece of work and can see the impact it would make in patients' lives, I just want to drive forward to make that positive change, whatever barriers may stand in our way.

A mentor that helped you navigate the industry.

I'd like to say thank you to Dave Hunt, Jane Kidd and Carole Lowe.

How you're paying it forward with the next generation of creatives.

At Havas Lynx, we're lucky to have the Archway program and LX Academy to help develop the next generation.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

I'd love to say an architect but I'm not nearly talented enough. Probably a clinical researcher—but I think I'm slightly too impatient to have been a successful one.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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