A Week in My Life: Kirsteen Scoble Hart, Managing Director of Forever Beta
Forever Beta is a creative integrated agency, with a wide-ranging service offering, based on Holywell Row near Shoreditch.
After a successful career working at the likes of Wieden + Kennedy, TBWA, and Mullenlowe London, Kirsteen became Managing Director of Forever Beta in August 2019.
Alarm goes off as normal at 6.45am, but it’s not a ‘normal’ day, it’s our Covid-19 Working From Home trial, an opportunity to test how things would work should we have to shut the office...little did we know what was to come.
I run a bath whilst my husband, Brod, makes breakfast which I then eat in the bath whilst going through the first emails of the day - there’s more than usual, I’m not the only one being a keen bean.
It’s only 8am, but a leadership colleague calls, keen to talk about the day ahead. Fearful of an accidental naked face-time, I call them back. They’re a self-confessed traditionalist, they’ve a worry about how well people are going to work and the potential impact on productivity.
It’s 9am, I’m here, ready at my home desk. I’m luckier than most, I actually have one, I later find out that one of our team has a homemade stand-up desk - aka the ironing board.
Ping chat starts, mainly social stuff, for me there’s an undercurrent that people are keen to show they’re there and working - everyone wants this to be a success.
That calms down and it’s into meetings.
I catch-up with our new external PR person. The sad news is that their child has been sent home from school with a temperature.
The day is speeding by, it’s 2.30pm and I’ve not eaten, but I have smelt amazing aromas coming from the kitchen, Brod, who keeps our house running, is batch cooking lasagnes to freeze.
A quick microwaved lunch, lasagnes not ready, and it’s into a Leadership meeting. This time I brave it - video chat. Thankfully everyone is as casually dressed as me.
I receive an anxious call from a member of the team worried about the escalating crisis and asking what the leadership team is going to do. I reassure them we’re on it, I’ll call them back and I speak to my leadership colleagues.
Brod wheels in (he’s a wheelchair user) and plays the Prime Minister’s announcement.
The trial has extended. People are given the option to work from home from here on in. Our Founder/CEO sends a pitch perfect all-staffer. I call the now relieved team member.
Seems I’d expended quite a bit of nervous energy yesterday, so I’m a bit tired and have a worry about my beloved Grandma who has a heart condition and the doctor is going to update the family today.
No time to dwell, 9.15am I’m interviewing someone on the phone. We gelled, the conversation flowed - I like interviews to simply be conversations.
A check in with Account Management to see how our clients are doing and offering our help where appropriate.
We quickly assemble and have a hangout with another client, meeting their baby and partner in the background.
The day is running away again.
I’ve a big RFP, I go through the questions one by one, turning them into a shared document and tagging in team members who can help on different sections. We’ve two days to pose any questions.
A colleague has shared a free monthly subscription to a yoga website. I take a Vinyasa ‘class’. Breathe. Time to sit down with Brod, talk about the day and watch naff TV.
Having loved last night’s yoga, I do another session. Reading the morning news has made me a bit tense, so I chose a relaxing one.
The day kicks off with a regular catch-up with one of our business leaders. We each have a cup of tea in our respective homes and they talk me through how their businesses are doing.
Lunch. I usually try to take a walk outside the office, sometimes going to restaurants to ensure I get a proper break. Today I award myself half an hour of TV watching.
A scheduled client call to discuss their changing needs in response to Covid-19. We’re meeting their new CMO for the first time via group voice chat, not the usual way but needs must.
I’ve scheduled an impromptu ‘biscuit Wednesdays’ with the whole agency. We have a laugh sharing our biscuit choices.
I review the results of our recent staff survey. It’s my baby. I introduced it when I joined eight months ago and have seen quarter by quarter positive uplift, this quarter is particularly good. Personal trumpet toot.
How’d it get to 7pm again? I peel myself away from my laptop. Call my parents. We’ve got differing views on the measures in place. Brod and I stay up late discussing.
Team check in on a project ahead of Client presentation. Final tweaks, but looking good.
Call with PR person. Our CEO did a webinar for an online Digital Transformation Festival. We listen, they landed some great points.
Lunch. I promised Brod we’d sit down and eat together. We have a whole 45 mins.
Various pings and emails keep flying in, but I put them to one side. There’s a balance between being responsive and getting things done.
Intended to do yoga, but instead eat my tea (I’m northern) on the sofa and watch a new series on Iplayer. Off to our separate bedrooms - Brod is high risk and I could have been exposed to the virus, so we’re taking no chances.
Catch-up with my leadership colleague, we reflect upon the week. They’ve still got a few concerns about how things will work in the longer term, but we’re both desperately proud of our people.
I write an all-staff update of the week to keep everyone buoyant and up to speed with all the work that's going through the agency despite our separate locations. I take my time, wanting to get the tone just right.
Get a call to ask whether I’m entering The Inspiring Women in Business Awards. I’d rather like to; being a role model and furthering women (and anyone) is high on my agenda, but putting myself forward for an award feels uncomfortable, I need to challenge myself on that.
The day ends with virtual team drinks. Loads of joiners in their various homes, with various drinks
I go into the weekend reflective and proud at how everyone at Forever Beta has responded to the crisis this week.