Sam is the co-founder and CEO of 7DOTS, a renowned digital agency specializing in crafting compelling brand and digital experiences for clients like Coca-Cola, Aston Martin, ITV, and Bupa.

With 15 years of industry experience, Sam focuses on driving digital transformation through innovative technologies while nurturing talent and ensuring business growth.

Outside the boardroom, Sam is a passionate advocate for dyslexia awareness and has founded online communities like ‘Being Dyslexic,’ which later evolved into The Dyslexia Shop. He also actively participates in charitable and community projects, including advisory roles for organisations such as ‘The Kingston Charitable Foundation’ and ‘oso.earth,’ where he helps combat climate crisis-related anxiety.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and your current role.

I am the CEO and co-founder of 7DOTS. We are a creative technology company that specialises in crafting compelling brand and digital experiences for clients like Coca-Cola, Aston Martin, ITV, and Bupa.

I have over 15 years in the industry. I  previously worked in an award-winning full-service agency, and before that, whilst at University, consulting for a number of small and medium businesses (SMBs).

As a business, our purpose is to “Make Space to Dream”. This means helping our people, our clients and the wider world find the space they need to dream and thrive. I am personally motivated by having a positive impact in the world by helping people and businesses to thrive through the power of creative technology.

I’m also a passionate advocate for dyslexia awareness and I’ve founded online communities including ‘Being Dyslexic,’ which later evolved into The Dyslexia Shop. I also have advisory roles for organisations such as ‘The Kingston Charitable Foundation’ and ‘oso.earth,’ which help to combat climate crisis-related anxiety.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

In some ways my career found me. Due to my Dyslexia, I didn’t fit the traditional model at school. Like so many dyslexics, I was frustrated and I couldn’t bring my ideas to life.

Then one day my dad borrowed a computer from work and something miraculous happened. Suddenly code, language structured around logic, made sense, where writing never had. I discovered I could bring my dreams to life through the power of creative technology.

At the age of 18, I created a website for the Suffolk Dyslexia Association, helping them promote the amazing work they do. This set me on a pathway to a career and passion for technology and I could use this power to make a difference and help others.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Many. Dyslexia was undoubtedly a challenge until I started to see it as my greatest strength rather than a weakness. Probably the most prominent is shyness.

I was incredibly shy as a child, and still am, although I’ve learnt a lot of tactics and methods again to use it to my advantage. Although I hopefully come across as confident, I believe my shyness brings a balance to this so that I appear humble and not arrogant.

But I believe that challenges in life are exactly what makes it good. A life of variety and ultimately balance is what makes it rewarding and rich.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My answer would be rediscovering that growing as an individual and helping to support others is what creates a rewarding life for me. It doesn’t make life any easier, if anything it makes it “harder” due to the time it takes, but that’s exactly why it makes it more rewarding.

I feel like that was the biggest achievement of my first 40 years – it was always there from when I was a child, I’ve just rediscovered it in the last 5-10 years.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I believe mentoring is a fundamental part of how you can grow as an individual – both personally and professionally. I have a number of people I consider as mentors, they’ve become wonderful friends, and I talk to them about all areas of my life.

Having an outside perspective, or ideally more than one is incredibly helpful to be able to consider and see situations differently. And although there is a beneficial outcome of these relationships, the actual relationships are a reward in themselves. It’s wonderful spending time with these people and always lifts me. I try to become a mentor in any capacity that I can to help people – but only if they ask for my advice. If they don’t I simply try to be a good friend and good listener (not always easy!).

What can businesses/governments/allies do to help diversity and inclusion?

I think there are four key areas that businesses, governments and allies should focus on in recognising the power of diversity in their organisations. Firstly recognising that everyone experiences the world differently. We instinctively like to be around people who are like us and this can lead to homogeneity in an office and a lack of diversity.

Secondly, we must listen and observe, rather than apply a one-size-fits-all approach. The good news is that we can overcome this. Both our unconscious bias, but also our instinctive fear of difference. I don’t think it matters whether we are talking about neurodiversity, different cultures, beliefs, sexuality, or anything else.

To make the world a better place, we also need to start by listening and trying to better understand. And when I say “listening” I don’t mean just the words we are hearing, I mean “global” listening, whereby we are listening to all the signals available – behaviours, emotions, actions, words, and engagement within a particular environment.

Shifting the conversation on diversity is also crucial— it should be an open dialogue, not a hidden issue. While there is an awful long way to go in ensuring better gender diversity in tech, at least this is an open dialogue. We now need to make neurodiversity a common topic so that everyone is comfortable talking about it, and comfortable embracing neuro differences.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

Men need to contribute to help break down barriers of misunderstanding and misconceptions. If we do this, we’ll help create a fair and more inclusive workplace. The right culture will promote the right behaviour, eliminating obstacles to communication, increasing understanding and meaning everyone is helping work towards a more inclusive environment.  If men aren’t part of that conversation, it will create the exact opposite, creating barriers and embedding inequality.

The outcome is a company full of people who are able to live better lives, as they have the space and conditions to thrive and flourish. But it will also create a more fair, diverse and inclusive workforce – which leads to innovation, better decision-making, and ultimately business performance. It’s a win-win. We need to all be a part of that to make it a reality.

If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Never stop learning about yourself and growing as an individual. Never stop looking for ways to help others, especially if you dismiss a gut feeling to help someone due to society’s conditioning or a fear you have.

If you have a dream, or idea, dream big and then follow it. Life has to be about doing things you are passionate about. Validate the idea (but don’t get stuck here) and have a plan for how to make it a reality. No matter what, start taking small steps towards making it a reality – not in two weeks’ time, but today!

There will never be a “right” time, so get started. And don’t let other people or your own self-doubt put you off. Make sure you are kind to people and build strong relationships with them along the way, even if you disagree with them. Those relationships are incredibly rewarding and helpful.


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