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  • Writer's pictureBloom North

A Day in the Life: Andrea Potter

Andrea Potter: Managing Director of Carat, Leeds.

It all starts...

With coffee! And plenty of it.

I’m definitely a creature of habit and more than ever over the last few years I’ve realised how important routine is for me.

During lockdowns, although it was so tempting to skip the usual getting ready routine, I soon realised it was important to get ready as if I was heading to the office as that would put me in the right frame of mind and set me up for the day. I also know how much better I feel for the day if I exercise in the morning, so I try and remind myself of that when the early alarm goes off!

Once I’m at my desk, the first thing I do is make a plan for the day in terms of what’s on the to do list and a reminder of any meetings. I swear by to do lists and generally write a new list each day, I also number each task and do them in order which helps with prioritisation and keeps me focused. Call me old fashioned but you can’t beat a proper pen and paper list… there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing a line through your completed tasks at the end of the day. Although most days the list does seem to get longer rather than shorter!

On a typical day...

I honestly don’t think there is a typical day in this job, but that’s why I love it as each day has lots of variety with new opportunities and usually a few challenges to overcome, so there’s definitely no chance of getting bored!

There are three key priorities to my job which are 1) having a happy and productive team, 2) satisfied and happy clients, and 3) income management and delivering growth. So most days will usually include a combination of tasks around these three topics.

However, I’m a big believer that if you have a strong and happy team, they will deliver what’s needed to keep our clients happy, which in turn delivers the numbers. Therefore, I try to put more focus where it matters, which is on our people, rather than focusing too heavily on outcomes.

It can be really easy and sometimes tempting to get stuck behind your desk and plough through work, but I will always try to mix it up and make time to catch up with the team and our clients regularly. Building relationships is a key part of the job but something that’s easy to overlook or deprioritise if you have a mountain of work to get through, and it’s also now slightly harder to do this with increased remote working.

But it is, and always has been, one of my favourite things about the job, that you can make genuine friends across the industry throughout your career. Meeting up regularly with media owners (usually over a spot of lunch!) is a great way keep up to speed with the ever-changing media landscape as well as spending an hour to two with great people. I’m also very fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant and extremely talented people so when I’m working so closely with the team and the wider network, I never stop learning new things – every day’s a school day as they say!

I got into my career by...

Sort of by accident. During my third year at University studying Psychology, I developed an interest in the psychology of advertising and consumer behaviour so I chose to do my final year dissertation on the impact of radio jingles on your implicit memory – I think I was trying to work out why so many businesses at the time (early 2000’s) used what can only be described as awful and tacky jingles in their radio ads.

So, at that point I’d made the decision that a career in advertising was what I wanted to explore. However, I had no idea about the different types of careers that existed so found myself applying for roles that seemed to be linked to ‘advertising’, this spanned from PR to creative to media.

When I got the interview at MediaVest Leeds, it was a small team that had only been going for a few years, and to be honest I wasn’t 100% sure what they actually did but I did a bit of research and went along full of enthusiasm.

The interview was very laid back and casual and I instantly got on well with the two Managing Partners at the time. I often have flashbacks of singing the song from the Bernard Mathews ‘Hot Pops’ commercial after being asked if there were any adverts that I didn’t like. The horror! But I left the interview really wanting the job, but admittedly still not really knowing what the job was……to this day I still don’t think my family actually know what I do, it’s definitely one of those careers that most people don’t know exists.

Anyway, despite my singing, I got offered the job and slotted straight into the team. I felt an immediate drive and motivation to grow and progress my career there which is what it did. And although the business has changed ownership and names now, it will be 18 years this August since I joined.

The positives I have taken in the last 12 months...

The last 12 months have really reset how we operate and have completely re-shaped how we all work moving forwards. It certainly wasn’t plain sailing straight away and I remember the days of ‘death by teams calls’ for the early parts of lockdown. But being forced into a remote working situation has led to most employers changing their ways of working for the better with most companies now offering hybrid working solutions.

The pandemic threw us all into a situation where we had no choice but to trust in employees and give people the freedom and flexibility to shape their own working patterns. Before Covid, this was something a lot of businesses were talking about but very few (including ours) were actually delivering. And if I’m being honest, without the pandemic, I’m not sure we would’ve ever got there. Certainly not this quickly anyway.

The results of this new hybrid way of working have been incredibly positive with increased productivity and team satisfaction improving, as the team now have much greater control over their own working patterns and work life balance.

However, the numerous lockdown and the speed we had to adapt to remote working definitely put pressure on people’s mental health, I would say the majority of people across the business suffered in some way shape or form at some point. Although this isn’t a positive thing, I do feel that positives come from this and now there is a much greater focus on wellbeing and mental health within the business. Employers are really starting to take it seriously and are investing more and more in people’s wellbeing.

At Dentsu, there are a number of great initiatives that have been introduced, from training mental health first aiders, to introducing 3 wellbeing days for people to take across the year to focus on their mental health and wellness. So some hugely positive steps in the right direction.

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