A day in the life of: Chief Operating Officer

Rebecca Brown

Ever wondered what a Chief Operating Officer takes care of?

This months ‘day in the life’ episode gives you that very answer, as Rebecca talks us through how she ended up in the role after joining the agency in another department entirely, how she’s adapted practices over the last 18 or so months, and what she truly loves about her job.

What first attracted you to Builtvisible?

When I had my interview, I met quite a few different people during the process: Geoff our CEO, the Finance team and  a few of the product team. I could tell they were all really talented and cared about what the agency did. They  seemed like a really nice bunch of people, which was a big part of what made me what to work at the agency.

Longer term, I think it’s more to do with the ambition and reputation of the agency now. Obviously the people are still a huge part of what makes every day interesting and fun, but the quality of the work and how highly the agency is regarded is a big motivator for me.  Being able to say that I work at Builtvisible is something I’m proud of.

How have you progressed since joining the agency?

I actually started at the agency as Head of Content, at the time I was managing the Content Strategy and Digital PR teams. Since then the teams have grown fairly dramatically and we now have an individual teams for Digital PR, Content Strategy and Creative.

Before I became COO, I moved up to be the Content Director where I also took on the Creative team and I was in that role for a couple of years. Now I’m the  COO, which essentially means I look after product, people, and process.

How does the team innovate?

Innovation is often why people come to work at Builtvisible ­– they want to do work that’s experimental and pushing boundaries, and trying new things is something we actively encourage. We’re really lucky to work with some very adventurous and trusting clients meaning we collaborate to try new things that move both the agency and industry forward.

We’ve recently created a new role which is very much dedicated to product development and innovation. Will, who our Head of SEO has now stepped into the role of Technical Director and his core purpose will be furthering the technical abilities of the agency, which will mean working closely with the individual teams to innovate and push the whole team.

We also innovate beyond our client-facing products, an example being Career Architect which was recently launched to help our teams navigate career progression. Our aim is to make sure we are being as transparent and clear as possible about how people can progress, as well as giving  autonomy to the individuals when it comes to their progression.

Describe a typical day.

Every day of the week can be pretty different. Some of my favourite days are when I get to spend time talking with the Heads of Product about their teams and products plans. We’ve recently had some really interesting meetings, reviewing where we are and looking at what we want to do by the end of the year. We’ve got some really exciting goals in place off of the back of those meetings.

I also work closely with the Heads of Products, Senior Leadership and HR on things like hiring, training, internal process and team progression. Especially as we’re growing there is a lot of opportunity for process development which is an interesting and rewarding thing to work on, as our processes impact the majority of the agency. A lot of what I do is making sure that we’re hiring at the right pace, and that the structure of teams makes sense as the agency gets bigger. My aim is always to make sure the quality we’re known for is retained as the teams expand.

Have things changed since COVID hit?

It feels like we’re settled well into a new way of doing things now. One of the things that changed really early on was the level of transparency the Management team gave the agency ­– we’ve always been transparent but we took that to a new level during COVID to make everybody feel secure. It was really important that people knew what the agency was doing to protect them and their jobs, which meant being quite radically open for a long time. And that’s something we’ve retained.

We’re also embracing flexible working, which has been great. We’re not considering going fully remote like some agencies, because most of the teams are much happier when they can be around others and have specifically requested we always have an office and space for people to come together. Giving people flexibility and choice has worked really well for everyone.

Do you have a favourite work perk?

I think my favourite perk is that we work with a company called the Core Collective, meaning we have two clinical psychologists on hand. The team can book sessions with them directly and we have group sessions as well for either teams or groups of people that are facing similar issues and want to discuss similar topics. We’re very passionate about supporting people and their wellbeing, so it fits really well with our values. It’s a benefit that genuinely impacts the real-world wellbeing of our teams, and the feedback around it has been amazing. Benefits like that, which are really well thought-out and truly impactful are absolutely the ones that our teams value the most.

Would you like to give any shout outs to any other team members?

The Product Teams are incredible and some of the most creative and intelligent people I’ve ever worked with. We have four core products and each of those teams are exceptional, but a lot of that credit should go to the Heads of Product themselves – they’re extremely dedicated to their work, but also to their teams, and are always thinking about how they can keep them happy and motivated. I see how much thought, effort and dedication is put into every decision they make – it’s unparalleled.

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