Daina and Julian have worked together in various guises for over twenty years. During that time they’ve ridden two dot.com booms and busts, worked for each other, started and sold businesses, had kids (separately), got married (not to each other) and travelled the world on business and for pleasure (sometimes together).
During that time we’ve been at the forefront of the waves of innovation sweeping the marketing world. Change is our passion, and harnessing the power of that change is what we love to do for brands and people.
Julian Aldridge, Founder & Partner
Julian Aldridge founded Enact to help brands of all shapes, sizes and colors discover, articulate and bring to life their Challenger DNA.
Most recently, Julian went ‘inside’ at Charles Schwab, leading and championing the 40+ year old firm’s resurgence as an industry Challenger. As the company’s Brand Evangelist he led a team and process that saw Schwab emerge as the biggest, and most innovative, firm in the financial services sector. And, not coincidentally, he learned a lot about what it takes to enact a Challenger strategy in corporate America today.
Over his 30 years in the advertising and marketing industry he’s worked across virtually every category imaginable, and with iconic brands like Nike, DHL, Miller, adidas, Coke and Disney, to name but a few, on both sides of the Atlantic; and for agencies, clients and as CEO of his own Influencer Agency, Ammo Marketing.
His driving passions are re-invention and re-imagination – of brands, of himself, and of marketing. He pioneered the concept of Experience Planning in the first dotcom boom, Influencer Marketing before Facebook, and most recently Challenger thinking and activation within major corporations.
He’s also an avid traveler, athlete, softball player, father, husband and CrossFitter.
Daina Middleton, Partner
Daina’s career has been fueled by embracing a Challenger mindset -- creating market categories, driving thought leadership through partnerships and experiences, cultivating company culture and executing operational excellence.
She began her career at Hewlett-Packard Company where she served in various marketing roles. This is also when Julian and Daina first worked together. After HP, she headed-up Innovation and Analytics for Publicis-owned Moxie Interactive, where she pioneered the paid social media practice.
As CEO of Performics, she established the performance marketing category and led expansion into 34 countries. She then joined Twitter to build out global B2B marketing. Next, Daina joined Gryphon Investors where she coached leadership teams in portfolio companies and worked alongside operational partners to improve company performance by optimizing companies at each private equity portfolio company stage.
Most recently, Daina was the transformational CEO of Ansira, a century-old private equity backed marketing technology and services firm.
Daina serves as an independent director of Marin Software. She is also a published author: Marketing in the Participation Age: A Guide to Motivating People to Join, Share, Take Part, Connect, and Engage; 2013; and Grace Meets Grit: How to bring out the Remarkable Courageous Leader Within; 2016.
Nicola and David have worked with both Daina and Julian over the decades, and bring extensive brand, creative, marketing and technology experience to the team. They have both participated in numerous Lighthouse Identity projects and keep Daina and Julian honest and on track through the process.
Nicola Smith, Strategist
Nicola is a self-proclaimed rebel since birth. She instinctively approaches most situations by asking two simple, yet powerful questions: "Why?" and "Why not?” So, she’s a perfect fit to help brands find their Challenger identities.
Growing up in South Africa, Nicola recognized her rebellious spirit for what it was – a vital problem-solving talent that enabled her to see possibility where others saw only closed doors. Creation and innovation have been the driving forces behind everything she does. Nicola and Daina worked together first at Moxie and she has been working with Julian and Enact for three years.
Nicola is also a certified facilitator, public speaker, and Certified Women's Business Enterprise entrepreneur. She creates customized solutions focusing on everything from public perception, company culture to guiding the launch or a new or revamped product, service, or brand.
David McGrane, Strategist
David is a brand strategist and creative director who hails originally from Sydney, Australia. He is grateful for having had the chance to live and work in such vibrant centers of branding and creativity as Sydney, London, New York, San Francisco and Moscow (yes, Moscow).
He has crafted insights for some of the most enduring and successful brands on the planet - AAA, Adobe, Netflix and The Gap - and for challenger brands such as Charles Schwab, Salesforce, fin-tech innovator iShares, and renewables leader, SunPower.
He has led teams of between 4 and 40, run immersion and longitudinal research for Netflix in Japan, instigated and implemented complete rebrands, undertaken a 20,000 item brand audit, and was selected by Andreessen Horowitz as a branding resource for a16z’s portfolio of startups and established-growth companies.
Throughout a career on both the agency and client side, he has gained experience in multiple categories - from software to solar, banks to beverages, non-profits to new-tech, and from computers to counties and countries.
He sharpened his entrepreneurial skills while co-founding and running Ozone, a design, strategy and advertising firm in North Beach, for 13 years. Collaborative, passionate and flexible, his mantra has long been ‘Brand Vigilance + Message Clarity”.
Just trying to keep up with his kids keeps him fit, hanging out with his incredibly creative wife keeps that skill honed, and even though it was darn chilly, he has swum across the Golden Gate without a wetsuit - twice.