Icon Agency's husband and wife plus children team

chris dodds and jo painter

This article was originally published in AdNews.

Finding the perfect work-life balance is hard. A husband and wife who are in business together have extra challenges.

However, Icon Agency’s Joanne Painter and Chris Dodds have found working together strengthened their relationship in both a personal and professional capacity.

Except, it isn’t just the two family members in the same workplace. Their two children, Saskia and Sebastian, also work with them.

The pair had different influences, experiences and backgrounds in the industry prior to working together. They’ve since founded Icon, a creative, brand, PR and digital agency based in Melbourne with offices in Sydney, Canberra, and soon Brisbane.

Painter, group MD at Icon Agency, started her career as a journalist, whereas Dodds, MD, embarked on a career as a designer and typographer.

“I was always fascinated by business and inspired by the digital publishing and web revolution that was happening around me,” said Painter.

“Chris was already a freelance graphic designer so after our son was born he and some close friends convinced me to leave newspapers and try my hand at digital content and communications."

Dodds's father was an art and media studies teacher.

"Growing up we were always surrounded by the latest gadgets, ideas and theories," he said.

"I started my career working for a few small agencies and quickly realised I could be far more successful running my own business.

“I was lucky to be living across from Cato Design in Richmond, Melbourne, in the early '90s and had them as my first client – producing digital finished art for their designers.”

Despite operating business well together, the pair didn't think they would share the same workplace for more than 20 years.

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