Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your background/career path?
Bit of a weird one! I have moved quite quickly up the digital ranks, starting as a Digital Copywriter about three years ago; and now I am a Creative Director with a (soon-to-be) team of 7.
I met my Co-Founder and partner, Gareth Simpson, on my first agency job; I then left to found an agency with him. Gareth had gone freelance a few months previous and things just kind of ‘took off’.
Before entering the industry, I had an eclectic work history, a Masters in English Literature (Shakespeare), and a multicultural background. (I was born in Finland, and have lived in France and Chile).
Tell me about your agency. What is it you do and what prompted you to start up your own?
So our agency, Seeker Digital, is a hybrid agency: we combine technical SEO with content. It’s a great fit for my creative skillset and Gareth’s technical one.
Our idea with Seeker was to create an agile agency that was a great place to work for our team. We wanted to invest in our own digital assets and company ‘side hustles’ to keep an entrepreneurial element to what we do.
We are in Bristol — a city we love, and one that is great for the digital scene. It’s awash with talent and opportunities. Despite loving Bristol, we have a global outlook because a lot of our clients and contracts are abroad.
We do a lot of outreach and digital PR, and work with some pretty cool (big) brands over the pond. We take out specialism seriously, because we like to be seen as experts!
What do you think are the most important issues for developing your company culture?
Being able to follow through with your ideas and vision, even when you’re busy. It can be challenging to clear your decks to have those strategic (sometimes difficult) conversations when you’ve got about a million other things to do.
It’s also important to have boundaries and know when you need to up the ante, as people respond to suggestions and feedback in different ways. I’m learning more about individual personalities and management styles in order to tailor my approach.
Company culture is one of our biggest priorities, and it features a lot in our plans and discussions. It’s something we take very seriously. We have tested out a few different things over the past 18 months and are starting to get a feel for what works for us.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a woman in business?
As I am half-Finnish, I think a lot of people see my attitudes about women and work as quite ‘Nordic’ (whatever that means).
I’m super, super supportive of other women in business and love hearing their stories — it’s great to hear what others are thinking/feeling.
I have experienced all sorts of odd sexism, people not taking me seriously, even some form of harassment — but I don’t tend to focus on those people. It’s not worth my energy, as I’ve got so much to be getting on with! I just need more time to achieve everything I want to — don’t we all??
The Wow Company’s recent survey of 471 agency owners across the UK has the figures as Female 27% – Male 73%. Can you share your thoughts on this?
Sad, but not surprising. I am not sure young girls and women realise all the opportunities they have. I think a lot of it starts at school, starts with mentality, starts at home.
It shouldn’t even be a question — like women should be able to do whatever they want to do and that should just be normal.
Do you have a mentor, or are you a member of an agency owner community?
Agency Collective is our rock! It’s a great community and we love the Bristol meetups. I’ve gotten a lot of value and support from there.
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to find a mentor, but no one has applied yet…..
Do you feel as a women agency founder, they offer the level of support you need? Do you need additional support that isn’t currently available?
Yes, but they can only work with what’s given to them. If there aren’t women running agencies, then how are the groups meant to deal with that? We need to address that first.
I know AC are putting a big emphasis on female leaders in the coming year, so it will be cool to see that come to fruition.
What other women founders inspire you?
Any and all! Nurses, stay-at-home mums, teachers (my mum is one and works her socks off) — I get inspired by other women everywhere. I look up to Lisa from Verve Search, Caroline from Oggadoon etc — they have built very successful businesses, and I enjoy hearing their views on things.
At the end of the day, you need to work hard in order to inspire yourself. Working with others and learning from my team is a great motivator.
What do you think makes a great agency?
A place that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but isn’t OTT quirky either. Just a cool bunch of creatives, misfits, tech guys, and all-round interesting characters who collaborate and work with each other well. Respect is big. Attitude as well. It’s a fun, crazy, cool thing that we do — so let’s celebrate it.
What would be your one piece of advice to future women leaders?
You’re doing great! Don’t be too hard on yourself, and keep pushing.