Our Managing Director, Alex

Medialab 3

PRE-MORNING

When I’m in the office it’s a 6 am wake-up call and with four children, I have become very used to early morning rises. However, there are two things I highly recommend that make sure I wake up well; a Lumie Lamp, which replicates a sunrise even in the darkest of winter mornings (and also has the added bonus of morning tropical birdsong!) and second, a coffee machine in the bedroom, it’s a gamechanger. I like to get myself ready before the kids wake up so I can spend a bit of quality time playing and helping them get ready for school.

Then it’s the commute. I moved out of London 5 years ago and despite the longer journey, I always get a seat with a table so it’s a very productive part of the day for me with no interruptions. Still full of good January intentions, I make a real effort to read some new and classic productivity and business books on Blinkist. Blinkist is a subscription service Medialab pays for, it’s an app that holds a huge collection of non-fiction books which are condensed down to 15-minute summaries. One such classic that I re-read regularly and highly recommend is ‘15 secrets successful people know about time management’. A key thing the book suggests is before your day begins you should identify your ‘Most Important Task’ and so this is what I try to nail on the commute, before the day runs away. Today’s most important task relates to prep for an imminent board meeting, so I focus on this for the remainder of the train journey and arrive in London knowing that I’ve accomplished at least one thing!

MORNING

One of the things that’s great about my role is working across the company with a variety of teams and people, I love the buzz of being in the office and around everyone. It’s a great chance to informally catch up with members of the company that I wouldn’t normally have a reason to talk to at home without scheduling a Teams meeting. This week we have a couple of new starters, so I will take the opportunity to introduce myself and welcome them to the team whilst I grab my second coffee of the day.

First up is the daily board meeting, which is a habit that started from day one of lockdown. We’ve found that working in a hybrid way meant we needed to carve out time to address the important tasks. The industry moves very fast, so everyone must be aligned strategically, from HR to finance to general team welfare.

MID-MORNING

Then, I have a call with the senior contact at one of our key clients. I have regular check ins with many of our clients to talk through strategic themes and opportunities and to ensure everything’s going well from a resource and service perspective (it is!). It’s also an opportunity to share any updates from Medialab. For instance, we’re hosting ITV and System1 this week, who will be presenting their findings on how under-represented older audiences in advertising are and provide guidance on how to make your ads more appealing to said demographic. A large proportion of our clients would be interested in it so I take the opportunity to share those details.

I then move to our New Business catch-up; this is a big area of focus for us in 2023. The work the team and whole company do here is essential for our continued growth, and in turn, our continued investment in capability, working with new, different clients, developing the team and building our competitive edge.

LUNCH

Not very interesting, I’m afraid. If I’m at home I’ll try and shoe-horn some exercise and a healthy lunch in, but in the office I’ll usually head around the corner and grab something quick before heading back to the office to catch up on emails.

AFTERNOON

In the afternoon I have a check in with my mentee – the HR team has set up a brilliant mentorship initiative whereby you can be paired with anyone in the business and share/receive guidance or support. This can range from general passing-on of industry acumen to specific areas you want to upskill. My mentee has recently been promoted, which was one of the goals we discussed in 2022, so it’s brilliant that they’ve reached this point! They were one of the 50 promotions last year, which is an incredible number, so it’s important to check in that they’re settling into their new role well and getting the support needed.

I have another client call, followed by a couple of important internal meets, after which I turn my attention to preparing for an all-company financial and general update in the weekly Collablab. Marcus, our CEO, Ben, our COO, and I tend to take turns presenting this, as it has always been important to us that everyone is involved in the company’s direction and knows what is happening across the business. One of my key goals for 2023 is stronger alignment and increased communication amongst and across teams; this is something that is fostered at Collablab, as we work to build a collective goal and togetherness as we continue to grow. This month I got to present our grab-a-grand nominations, this is where the team can put forward any charity that is close to their hearts, everyone then votes and the one with the highest votes will receive a £1000 donation. Plenty of deserving charities were put forward this month, so I highly encourage those who didn’t receive the donation to put them forward again.

EVENING

Every Thursday post-Collablab is company social time and this week we have the return of our wine and cheese night. Medialab is very good at hosting a variety of socials thanks to our social committee, we had a sip and paint night hosted two weeks ago which brought out our creative sides! I was very impressed with just how talented some of the team are. If you visit our Linkedin or Instagram, you can see some of the masterpieces.

IF YOU WEREN’T AT MEDIALAB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

As a child, my ‘when I grow up’ dream went from vet to fighter pilot to stockbroker (it was the 80s) to Prime Minister. But, by the time I was 7, I knew my true calling was outcomes-focused, data-driven media.

However, if I were to have taken a different path, I’d be in the food business as a chef/restauranteur; I’m a foodie at heart. I love the blend of creativity and science, and I love eating. Think Gordon Ramsay, but a tad less sweary and certainly more data-driven.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?

Embrace the opportunity – it’s a brilliant industry with hundreds of different, successful career paths; all fun and interesting and full of opportunities to make a meaningful difference. Be open-minded, ask questions constantly and, similar to most elements of life, stay on the edge of your comfort zone as that’s the most rewarding place. And have fun!

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