A Week in My Life: Jo Little, Head of Digital and Operations at Ingenuity
Ingenuity creates new business relationships between Agencies, Brands and Tech businesses.
They specialise in two things: they help agencies meet new clients; and help brands find the perfect agency partner.
Jo Little is their Head of Digital and Operations and here, she tells us all about what she gets up to during her working week...
How is it Monday already?
Alarm beeps at me at 5am, my regular and non-negotiable start time. Out the house for 5.17am and off to hit the gym at Bank (a halfway point between home and work). I bust out leg day and a HITT finisher, I don’t feel like it... but I do it anyway and always feel better for it, both in the mind and body. I skip into work, face as red as my trousers, with a Leon salmon and egg pot in tow.
After three weeks off, sunning myself in the Turkish riviera with a constant supply of sun, rosé and turquoise sea, I come back to the board meeting, ahh! Although, it’s actually a great meeting. We get so much out of taking the day to refocus on the company’s strategy and brainstorming how to constantly make the business better. The key focus of this month was developing our lead generation overall proposition. Particularly identifying how we can evolve it to adapt to the changing brand and marketing agency landscape - integrating new technologies and personal approaches is vital to this.
5am gym call - upper body today - I nail one un-assisted pull up...pure joy!
New business meeting this morning, I don’t tend to get involved with too many of these anymore, but today it was a meeting with an incredible digital and social consultancy that needed a partner to grow their agency and pipeline. Having worked agency side for the last 15 years before joining Ingenuity, I tend to get involved and looped into opportunities like these - productive meeting overall.
I’ve spent the last few weeks working with the team on a ‘culture and people roadmap’. Here I’ve been scoping proposals to improve how we address wellbeing and mental health, as well as inclusion, benefits we have to offer, and of course socials (we’re pretty established at these already!) Our first quick win result is approved and announced today - which seemed to please all - 3pm finish every Friday over the summer months for our well-deserving team.
There’s a real buzz in the office today as our events team are prepping for the upcoming launch of our first ever European new business event, taking place in Amsterdam. It’s a great chance for the team to share their knowledge with agencies and brands outside of the UK.
5am gym call (again). My nemesis - squats and assault bike sprints with Maria, my feisty Italian PT who always pushes me to the max, but that’s how you get results, right?
I arrive in the office to catch up with our Business Directors where we plan resource across the business, checking in on any new hires we may need to recruit over the next six months. Then I leave the office to head to The Festival of Happiness. Run by the Marketing Agencies Action Group (MAAG), the event’s primary focus is on mental health and wellbeing in the marketing sector. It’s a truly amazing day, full of inspirational speakers (some magic tricks), and lots of breakout sessions. My head is buzzing with learnings I can take back to the office and introduce at Ingenuity.
It’s inspired me to encourage all our management team to get signed up to become mental health first aiders, in order to give employees better support and access to people internally who can help with anxiety, fear and confidence hurdles at work. My personal aim is to get Ingenuity on the top 100 places to work by next year, this would be a great achievement for all of us.
Deadlifts and more pull ups on the high bar. Beat my personal best, so feeling very proud and if the day falls short, I feel like I’ve already achieved (which is always a bonus).
Skills matrix and personal development is my task for this Thursday. Appraisals are happening all day across all seven of our business services. I have developed a three-part process to ensure everyone has a path to clear career progression which can be personalised to them and their individual goals. This will also highlight how they can develop particularly in areas that they need to improve in or where they need access to further training.
Today is also our bi-weekly ‘Beers, Peers and Ideas’ session, here we give kudos and shout outs to those who’ve nailed it, gone above and beyond and generally those being an office gem. The winner gets the much-acclaimed title of ‘Legend of the Week’ (and a lovely trophy for their desks). It’s a great time for everyone to step away from their desks for the last 45 minutes of the day, come together with some crisps and prosecco and celebrate the agency’s achievements.
We also encourage speakers to join us for the session. This can be either one of the team presenting something of interest to them, or a guest speaker - whether a client or just someone from the wider industry who wants to share their knowledge and get involved. Today one of our new employees gives us the low down around the intricacies of Amazon and their top performing categories, alongside how our buying behaviours determine the businesses next move. Interesting stuff all round!
5am gym call - HITT class - half an hour of chosen torture - my face is redder than my favourite scarlet handbag today.
I don’t work Fridays, it’s something I’ve found to be increasingly important over the years. Time is precious, we all know that, and it’s hard to often take the time for ourselves when work can so easily take over. I know everyone doesn’t get the option to work a four-day week, and people often make the assumption I must be doing it because I have kids. I have a cat, but no children. I treasure my Friday time. It gives me some much-needed downtime and also the chance to work on my personal goals.
My time is my present to myself and it encourages me to be better at work, a better human and also more resilient. I’ll be honest sometimes my Fridays descend into lunches with friends or life admin, as of course every day doesn’t have to be purely productive, but lately, I’ve been trying to be more structured in how I use them.
I love fashion and specifically colour, it’s one of dearest passions. Anyone in the office can tell you I’m a sucker for a bold earring or trainer, the brighter the better is my motto. I spent today working on my British College of Professional styling diploma (I used to be a personal stylist - a long time ago, and have recently picked it back up, which I am loving!).
I’m also starting a fashion label, promoting awareness and support for mental health, homelessness and social and political issues as fashion is one of the largest industries in the world, so works as a great platform to talk about these issues more widely. I work on my branding today and investigate how I can best incorporate it into my Shopify website. Having worked alongside a big team of developers during my time at a digital agency, it’s today I’m really wishing I had some developers at my side...this is harder than it looks!
I finish my day off with a large (and well earned, if I do say so myself) gin and tonic on the sofa with my cat and partner, and dream about what to cook this weekend.