It’s exactly a year to the day since I took the plunge and moved to the ‘dark side’ – otherwise known as agency life. For many years I’ve been working with PR and digital agencies, struggling to truly understand the return on investment; what my budget was buying and what tangible difference, if any, it was making to the business.
It’s no surprise then that it raised more than a few eyebrows when I announced I was leaving the position I held for seven years as Head of Bord Bia UK to transition from gamekeeper to poacher! It’s been a remarkable journey, one that quite honestly in hindsight, I probably underestimated.
Consumer PR was only a small part of my previous role and social media was evolving so quickly that staying up to speed with changes in algorithms and new platforms was a challenge in itself! But what I did have was a strong understanding of commercials and ability to translate PR coverage and social media engagement into opportunities to drive sales. This coupled with a solid foundation in sustainability from working on Origin Green made my contribution unique in the agency world.
It’s quite significant that my year anniversary coincides with International Women’s day week as I have been fortunate to have had fantastic female leadership throughout my career. Tara McCarthy CEO of Bord Bia – (The Irish Food Board) has been my role model for many years and is now my mentor. Tara thought me that hard work and commercial focus pays dividends. Sara Pearson CEO of Spider is the yin to my yan. Sara took a gamble inviting someone with my experience onto the leadership team at Spider. Our skill sets might be different, but our values are the similar. We are both farmer’s daughters with a passion for agriculture, both mothers and both passionate about the people and brands with work with. It is this I believe that makes Spider so unique!