My Media Week: Anna Hickey

It’s a people-focused start to the year for Anna Hickey, managing director at Maxus, as she kicks off a new people and culture programme and a shared parental leave policy.

Monday

The first day back after Christmas and frankly 6am feels like the middle of the night. Still, I’m excited about the year ahead, and I’m on the train by 7am. I slip back into my usual routine of diary checking, email clearing and Twitter gorging.

The journey has become a crucial space to keep myself informed, and so whilst out-of-town commuting has its downsides, the 45-minute quietness is a huge upside.

We’re early into the Maxus UK Exco meeting, our weekly roundup of client news, opportunities, new business, people, and general info sharing. The meeting is all about decisions and action, and as usual it’s hugely productive. It’s a busy start to 2016.

It’s then into back-to-back meetings with several internal catch-ups. I always see my direct reports for an hour once a fortnight. Then the day’s rounded off by a trip to Hammersmith to meet with L’Oréal’s Luxe division, discussing new operational practice around social and PR.

I write up the meeting actions on the way home, have a quick email exchange with the new marketing director of Gamesys, scan Twitter for industry and tech news, and then get jumped on by my two boys as I get home.

Tuesday

I start the day writing an article for the HR director about the new Maxus people and culture programme, Never Stand Still.

It’s all about empowering our people to embrace progression, both in their careers and outside of work. It’s been well received internally and externally, and as my first major initiative since I joined Maxus, it’s something I’m particularly proud of.

We have several new starters this week and I go and say hello. Some are familiar faces that I’m excited to welcome, and others are new to me, but who come with awesome reputations.

I run a working session with our joint heads of strategy and futures next, regarding our new planning vision. Jen Smith and Tom Dunn are an amazing creative planning duo and as usual time spent with them is hugely rewarding.

I’m off home early for childcare duty, so dash off to the station with my laptop for some final admin en route.

Wednesday

This morning we’re hosting a breakfast for media industry recruiters to brief them about Never Stand Still. GroupM Recruitment has done a great job in rounding up the who’s who of marketing recruitment, and the morning is a resounding success.

It’s the first new business meeting of 2016 next, prep for a chemistry next week. It’s a regional FMCG client – I know the brands but am less familiar with the business’ corporate structure so am receiving the lowdown from our global biz dev team.

I do a bit of desk research and then brief our UK marketing team to prepare some materials for the meeting.

I’m fortunate enough to attend the first session of our new in-house Pilates and Barre class at lunchtime. It’s one of the many things we’re laying on as part of Never Stand Still, and it’s fully booked, with people keen to enforce their healthy-living New Year’s resolutions. After an hour of stretching and balancing I can barely move, but determinedly stride out smiling with my more nimble colleagues.

I spend the next few hours recovering with Nicola Jopling, one of our client directors. She and I are working with an external consultant on a new enterprise for Maxus that we hope to launch mid-year.

We’re scoping out feasibility at the same time as ensuring we really nail the positioning, so there’s a lot to do. But Nicola’s irrepressible passion and energy are infectious and we’re excited to see the project starting to flourish.

Thursday

Another early start for breakfast with the Gamesys marketing director. He is very ambitious for the business and we talk about the work we are doing together creating a more holistic approach to their comms, and the success we are having with new data solutions. We agree to a follow-up and rush back to our respective HQs.

It’s another Never Stand Still meeting next, this time to finalise the logistics of implementing our new shared parental leave policy, with Jason Bond our FD and Kirsten Oates our head of people and culture.

We have some imminent new dads in the agency and we want to make sure they can take full advantage of this, so we hammer out the final details.

The afternoon is dominated by our weekly leadership team meeting. We discuss issues and opportunities and new business. As the first meeting of 2016, we spend the majority of time on new biz, with our head of business development, James Bailey, updating the team. We agree actions to ensure we’re fully prepared and are allocating our team effectively.

Unusually for a Thursday there are no social goings-on after work, and (frankly relieved!) I head home for bath and bedtime with the boys.

Friday

I work from home on Fridays when possible, but decide to come into the office this week, as it’s been a busy start to the year. I do the school run anyway (I insist on doing at least one each week), and catch the late train in.

I start with a catch-up with one of our managing partners, Ailsa Buckley to discuss the first week of our newly re-acquired relationship with Ubisoft.

They have a busy Q1 release schedule, and the team has been turning out first-class planning. We grab a quick lunch, and then it’s back for a second internal meeting ahead of the pitch chemistry next week. The marketing team has conjured up a beautiful piece of writing for us to use in the meeting.

I do a quick diary catch-up with my PA, Helena Small in preparation for next week, drop a note to the country managers at Fiat Group to invite them to dinner later in the month, write up the weekly internal agency newsletter, and head home. 

If I’m lucky, I might just make the last bit of my son’s self-defence class, and be able to treat the kids to hot chocolate and a cake at our local café.  Bang goes that New Year’s resolution! 

Lowdown

Favourite media: iPad
Biggest inspiration: My grandmother – she was stronger than anyone I know, always looked immaculate, and never stood still
Dream job: Other than this one...running a small b&b by the Cornish coast
Not a lot of people know this about me: I'm literally the worst singer you've ever heard. 

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