The Garden names managing director

Dic Dickerson has been hired from Bensimon Byrne to lead the creative company's growing client services offering.


The Garden has hired Dic Dickerson as its first managing director as the company looks to chart the path for what its client services offering will look like.

Dickerson joins from Bensimon Byrne, where he was business lead on the agency’s Constellation Brands accounts, including Kim Crawford, Nobilo and Ruffino wines, as well as Svedka vodka. Prior to joining Bensimon in September 2014, he spent nearly fives years in client services at Zulu Alpha Kilo, working with The Garden’s co-founders Shane Ogilvie and Shari Walczak and being part of the team that re-launched the Corona brand in Canada. He also worked on Audi, Workopolis and Powerade.

Dickerson joined The Garden in December, and Ogilvie says his experience in alcohol and spirits brands was a key factor in the company’s most recent client win, Shiny Apple Cider. Dickerson is currently onboarding with the rest of the company’s clients and leading a new project for the Scene loyalty program. Closing in on a year since opening its doors, The Garden’s other clients include Wireless Wave, Tbooth Wireless, Standard Innovation, The United Way, Detour Coffee Company and IZ Fashion.

Ogilvie says between that growth in its client roster and being in a formative stage as a company, improving client experience and having leadership in place was an important priority.

“My background is creative and Shari’s is strategy, so we wanted someone that could come in and establish the foundation [of client services] for the company going forward and improve that overall offering for our clients,” he says. “We’ve had a great team of account people who have helped us guide things, but we felt it was important at this stage in the company’s growth that we bring those key foundational figures in that will shape the voice of the company as it grows into its own.”

Part of The Garden’s mandate is to look for creative methods outside of traditional advertising to solve business challenges for clients, such as the Access10 and “FashionIZFreedom” programs it helped IZ develop last year.

“All the standard stuff applies: he’s incredibly buttoned-down, he’s got great client rapport, he’s all over everything, and that was an important thing for us,” Ogilvie says of how Dickerson fits in The Garden’s model. “But Dic’s not your typical suit. He’s a pretty inspired guy and has a lot of passion for the creative output and is a strategic thinker, and also has the flexibility for the fact that we have a different model and can change with us as we adapt to what the industry needs.”

Launched last February, The Garden currently has 10 full-time staff, though the company’s model is such that it expands and collapses with freelance talent and partners as projects dictate. In addition to building out client services, building a stronger internal design offering will be a priority in the months ahead, says Ogilvie.

“We’re well-versed in creative and strategy and digital, but what we’re noticing is a lot more design requirements from a lot of clients,” he says. “Rather than be a partner to a design firm, we want to start to build the core aspect of that into what we offer.”