Spotlight Interview with Maisie

Adam Mates

Adam Mates

August 12, 2022

11 mins read

We’ve turned the tables, as this week we interview the interviewer! Let’s hear from Maisie, our Head of Client Services!

To kick off, tell us a bit about your role at Seed?

I work as Head of Client Services at Seed. Primarily my role is to build and maintain client happiness and relationships. I also scope out opportunities for growth and expansion in our accounts to help businesses reach their objectives. Alongside this, I support the agency in personal and professional development to facilitate where the team want their career to go and make it happen!

So why do you feel like client services are so vital in the running of an agency?

Although we deliver a service that a lot of other agencies offer, it’s the client facing relationship building that I feel we over-exceed in. As a people first agency both internally and externally, we understand how important people are to the success of an agency. Alongside selling the service, we want to form partnerships with our clients that align with the same values we encompass at Seed. The way you do that? Build strong relationships, understand their needs and have that common ground.We love to feel like an extension of our clients team, always on hand to help and advise where needed!

What’s your favourite thing about working at Seed?

It’s hard to just choose one! I think the first thing that comes to mind is how Seed enables people to move in the direction that they want in terms of their career paths and development. A lot of businesses say that, but in practice it isn’t at the forefront , but at Seed we really do facilitate this. Ultimately – you get the best deliverables when people are let to do the work they enjoy.

Alongside this, I love to see a Seedling thrive in an area that they’ve expressed interest in. Seeing an apprentice kick start their career at the company, graduate with a digital marketing qualification and then be offered a full role with Seed is really rewarding to be a part of.

What has been your proudest moment since working at Seed?

It is probably being able to see how proud Nick and Robin are at all the social events, reflecting back on how the agency has grown, all of the new services we offer and all of the added Seedlings that have joined us along the way! Nick and Robin have built an agency that is standalone, and allowed us to input into key decisions to create a great workplace to be a part of.

My other super proud moment is seeing Alicia, a former apprentice and now key member of the SEO team thrive in her role. From watching her exceed expectations in her work life, and seeing her front stage singing her heart out in the band – it’s made me emotional at many different points! (Love you Alicia!)

How have you seen Seed change since you started?

Seed has matured as an agency a lot, from the admin side of things such as the hiring processes and the review processes, all the way through to business operations such as capacity, utilisation and resources. With added skill sets within the business, it has allowed Nick and Robin to turn their focus to driving the vision and mission of the agency forward. Something now that I think has developed and will continue to do so.

More recently, the biggest change at Seed has been creating and implementing a self-managed organisational structure, which facilitates squiggly careers helping to support people in areas that they most enjoy, focusing on purpose over profit and so much more.

When I started 4 years ago, I was the 13th Seedling (unlucky for some, but very very lucky for Seed!). Fast forward 4 years, we are an agency of 33 and always looking for opportunities to hire further. With that, we’ve developed services which people have expressed interest in which is great to see, and help them to drive that forward.

So where do you see Seed being in 5 years?

This is a hard one because Seed is constantly changing. I have always said that I would rather work for an agency that is open and willing to try new things, experiment and change how we do things. Then, only to break it down and start again when change is needed. For me the best things in an agency happen in times of uncertainty, almost forcing you to reflect and see where change is needed to put us back in the direction we were aiming for originally!
I would like to see Seed continue to expand service offering, and expand their reach internationally (preferably where there’s a beach as I LOVE to tan!).

As mentioned, we have multiple different skill sets between us all at Seed. I would love to see us as a team  carve a name out in the digital industry to be the go to agency for insights, knowledge and support in Search.

Work from home or work in the office?

Firstly, I believe a work-life balance is key. It is important that everybody has a choice to do what works best for them and their home life. However, I do agree with the sentiment that Malcolm Gladwell touched on recently in the Diary of a CEO podcast.

He mentioned that especially in people-first agencies, it should be encouraged to be in office at least 1 day a week. He touched upon the fact that even just for mental health, and to be around people – you cannot replicate that via video or being alone.

As Seed is a people-first agency, I do believe that our friendship and respect for each other, is what makes us deliver the amazing work that we do everyday.

Specifically for me, I prefer mainly to be in the office, but enjoy the flexibility of being able to be at home, especially on the numerous occasions I have to get something fixed in my flat because I’ve somehow broken it / been locked out!

Now a bit about you, so what was your first job?

I worked at my Auntie’s shop called Bamboozled Gifts in Derbyshire when I was 14 as a Saturday girl. It was a wedding planning and events shop (maybe this led me towards project management without even realising now I think!). My role specifically was to upsell twinkle pops to kids and as wedding gifts, which was just a lollipop on a really long stick!

And how did you end up working in Digital?

I loved reading and writing growing up. Much to my dismay my teachers always made me be the narrator instead of the actor and at the time I hated it! I had this passion for reading and writing, so originally I wanted to work in journalism. In doing so briefly at The Sun, I then realised I didn’t like the ethics of journalism and it didn’t suit my values. I started studying English Language and Media at University which led me into digital marketing. Within that, I liked seeing how I could help a creative person formulate an idea and bring it to life with some good old fashioned organisation and spreadsheets!

What would you say is the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?

That’s a good question! Can I have two?! One that sticks in my head was from my mum. When me and my 2 sisters were growing up (shout out Chlo and Cluck!), the words “can’t” and “bored” were banned in our house, and if ever we said that, my mum would make us sing “I think I can, I know I can” back to her, and that’s a phrase that I still say to myself today. Imagine how many times I screamed that running the marathon!

As I got older, my dad also gave me advice that has always stuck with me as he is a huge inspiration. He said that when being in a supportive leadership role, people will always remember when you dedicate your time and focus on them, over material objects. Whether that be taking them for a coffee, checking in with them if they are struggling with a personal issue or anything else. Due to this – I always try to ensure I go above and beyond to make known I will always have the time for anyone who wishes to speak to me – no matter how busy I am.

So would you say your Dad is a big inspiration of yours?

Yes definitely (don’t worry mum, you are too before she reads this and rings me!). My oldest memory of my dad was when he worked at Toyota, and he’d come home with oil on his hands having done manual labour all day. He’d go and do a disco with his band (shout-out to the The Funky Chickens!) in the evening, while also studying for a masters on top of this!

As I got older, my dad started wearing suits, with no more dirt under his fingernails and has now achieved most of the things in life he set out to. It showed me that if you work hard enough and have the passion, you can get to where you want and where you deserve to be.

What advice would you give to a young woman who is aspiring to enter the digital industry?

Never be put off by the amount of males in a room and always know your worth! In a more leadership role, I have found it intimidating at times to be the only girl in the room – however ask the guys and that has never stopped me giving my view!

Females in leadership roles are definitely increasing and being encouraged, so it’s a great time to represent the women of the world and give that fresh perspective that we need!

What’s your favourite thing about living in Brighton?

I love the diversity of Brighton, it brings loads of different people from different backgrounds with different stories together, which is one of the things I love about living and working in Brighton. But that is not forgetting the morning swims in the sea, long runs along the seafront and a Friday bevvy in the numerous pubs (you can choose which one is top of the list!).

What is your proudest achievement to date?

More recently, my proudest achievement was running the Brighton Marathon for a charity called Crohn’s and Colitis. I did this in support of my sister Chloe for all the pain that she’s gone through and the stigma she has dealt with, with this disease. I felt it was important to raise as much awareness as I could, encourage people to educate themselves – and of course seeing how proud she was of me made it all worthwhile. (Side Note – she is extremely bossy and it will probably be the only time that she was quiet for more than 5 minutes!)

On a professional level, it would probably be completing my CIM Level 6 & recently finishing the CMI Diploma in Leadership & Management alongside my work, buying a house and everything else! I’ve been able to use these qualifications to help impact the agency and form processes and strategy which is also a very proud achievement of mine.

What’s top of your bucket list?

Climbing the three peaks is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s a different challenge to anything that I’ve done before.

And now some random questions to finish off… If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

I think I would like to transport. A lot of my family live all over the place and it would be great to see them more, without the travel time. Alongside that – I could finish the marathon in April 2022 in around 5 minutes.

What 3 items are you taking on a desert island?

A toothbrush (essential), a football and my little dog Bert to keep me company, he’d have a great time (although I am too fussy and he would get annoyed quickly with me!)

And finally, and this is a big one! Would you rather be given £20k now, or flip a coin for £100k?

I think I’d flip the coin. I started with nothing so even if I lose, I haven’t lost anything! And if I win I’d be able to pay my Grandma’s mortgage off and then with whatever I have left, hire a villa for my whole family to get together.

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