Michelle Yeadon, Chief Strategy Officer at Byte Agency by Southwark Bridge, takes us through a week in her working life.
It’s my first week back at work after nine months on maternity leave. I’ve returned to find we’ve been named one of the top 25 startups in the UK, and it’s clear to me why as I look around the office – there are 25 new faces sat at 25 new desks. We’ve even built three new meeting rooms and added new plants to our indoor greenhouse.
Soon I’ll be able to put faces to names, but initially I’m overwhelmed to see so many people who look young yet experienced at the same time. I’m introduced to Ofir and Pru and start to relax as I realise I’m surrounded by kind, intelligent and fun people.
My first task of the day is a briefing on new projects for Spotify, a client I’ve worked on since 2014. I have a call with our team in New York to discuss what they’ve been delivering so far and how I can help shape the approach for 2019.
I meet with our Lead Account Planner, along with people across four disciplines of media, data, creative and tech to make a plan. We spend the rest of the day working on it.
Today’s focus is recruitment. We have many roles to fill in London, from Account Exec to Media Planner, Lead Creative to Principal Engineer. I start the day by reviewing the pipeline of candidates and have several promising interviews throughout the day.
The people that stand out are those who are able to have a down-to-earth conversation, share a different perspective, have an opinion and recognise their achievements without being ego-driven. After time spent preparing for tomorrow, I leave work at 4:30pm to see my daughter before bedtime.
Bath, nappy, cuddles, story, kiss, night night. She’s peaceful, and I can barely see her move as she breathes. I’m ready to settle down with some tea in front of the television, but instead I start working more on Spotify.
Across the briefs, we are exploring everything from messaging chatbots and voice bots through Alexa to automated media buying, creative franchises and interactive dashboards. It’s all new, interesting and inspiring.
The team has produced great recommendations and I help shape the narrative and offer expertise in areas like dynamic creative (thousands of personalised ads).
First is a workshop with Women in Football, an organisation connecting and supporting women who work in and around the football industry. Byte’s managing director, our lead analyst and I are all feminists – together we’ve crafted strategic recommendations to help further their cause.
Their CEO, Jane Purdon, is an inspiring woman who has achieved so much in her career and paving the way for others.
Afterward I join many of our new team members in the kitchen for lunch and chat to those I’ll be working with on projects for Google and Johnson & Johnson.
I’m delighted to hear the culture of Byte hasn’t changed while I’ve been away – creatives are still talking about the ROI they’ve delivered, this time on the playable augmented reality lens we made for Just Eat to complement our first completely CGI campaign.
Later we present some of the Spotify work. Feedback is positive, and I start to feel more confident about coming back to work and my contribution.
Today’s my last day of the week at Byte. It’s also my five year work anniversary. After spending the day refining the week’s work, I meet with the founders to discuss how things have evolved since 2014 and objectives for this year.
One of the key aspects of our discussion is my return to work and the inevitable imposter syndrome that comes with it. I started the week with wavering confidence but have quickly discovered that I’m more efficient than ever and delivering at peak quality.
A combination of fitful sleep, competing priorities and recovering from surgery has been the most intense training programme I could have imagined. The founders, having always been supportive managers, remind me to pace myself and share tips for flexible working and finding the work/life balance that’s right for me.
Fridays are spent with my daughter, going to group play sessions, interactive learning and weaning to solid foods.
The contrast of this job (the hardest job in the world in fact) is sharp. Kudos to all you parents out there – I had no idea what superheroes you are nine months ago. My Byte team doesn’t interrupt today’s important work other than to ask for photos. I’m beaming and kind of feel like a superhero myself.