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A Week in My Life: Daisy Wolfenden, Managing Director, Wolfenden

Daisy Wolfenden

Leeds-based digital marketing agency Wolfenden was founded in 2011 by Ben Wolfenden.

His wife, Daisy Wolfenden, came on board in 2015 and has over 20 years of experience leading digital accounts and marketing strategies for the likes of Virgin Holidays, Tesco and Morrisons.

Ben tragically passed away last year after complications following a double lung transplant in 2019, with Daisy now at the helm of the agency as managing director.

With a range of clients from Twinings to luxury care expert Danforth Care, Daisy shared how a recent week in her life went.

Monday

Monday had an early morning start as the children were back to school after the summer holidays, meaning it’s back to the routine of school runs and after school clubs.

As a single parent, an average morning doesn’t have much flexibility, typically starting at 6am which gives me just enough time to get the kids ready and out the door. Once the kids are safely at school, I manage a quick walk down to the Jet d’Eau for my morning coffee before turning on my laptop.

I work remotely from Geneva most of the time, but I always aim to come back to the UK every 4-6 weeks. Having the freedom and flexibility that allows me to work like this is one of the most important aspects of our culture at Wolfenden, but I do also miss the collaboration that comes so naturally from working in the office. There aren’t many things better than listening to the interesting debates and discussions constantly going on around you.

Today I was actually lucky enough to play host to our solutions director, Dan Pratt, as he made a pit stop in Geneva on his way home from a family holiday in The Alps.

Both of us work best when we let the creativity really flow and have a natural conversation, so we shut the laptops, grabbed some coffees, and just talked.

This catch-up was completely invaluable and could have very easily taken over my whole day if I’d let it! But after showing off one of my favourite lunch spots, we got back to work and went to an in-person strategy review meeting with one of our Swiss clients.

On days like this I finish work a bit earlier than the rest of the office so that I can go and pick the kids up from school and take them to their various extra-curricular sports clubs – for someone who hated PE growing up, I’ve ended up with two very sporty children!

Once the kids are settled in for the evening, it’s time for one of the most important parts of my working day: writing out the next day’s to-do list.

I need to do this with pen and paper, otherwise the tasks just won’t stick in my head, and I’ll have no idea where to start the next day (it also helps that physically crossing something off the list with the pen is much more satisfying than ticking a box on a screen). Also, back me up on this – if you complete a task that wasn’t on your list, its completely normal and acceptable to write it down just to immediately cross it off, right?

Tuesday

After a full day working with our internal team and with existing clients yesterday, I set aside all day on Tuesday to work through all things new business.

We’ve been really busy recently with both pitching for and onboarding new clients, and honestly the new biz process is one of my favourite parts of the job. Being able to get under the hood of a new company, see what makes it tick before going on to curate an effective strategy is really exciting and something I’m personally very passionate about.

One of Wolfenden’s core values is that marketing should be available to every brand. Whether it’s an international company or a small passion project, marketing can make a huge difference to the success of a business.

Today I had three separate new business calls, from simple introductory sessions to full blown pitches, all seemingly going very well on our end!

After a full-on day like this I made sure to take some time and clear my head with some exercise. I’ve always struggled with depression, and I know that if I’m not active it gets worse, so even if it’s something as simple as taking the dog for a short walk around the block, I do my best to get my steps in every day and make a conscious effort to get out of the house where I can.

Wednesday

In Geneva, the schools are closed on Wednesdays, which as a single working mother means I have to find the right balance between keeping the children entertained and managing my workload.

This is where I personally really appreciate the flexibility that Wolfenden provides all our pack members. I always try to minimise the number of meetings I have on a Wednesday, and as a rule of thumb will never join an external client call when I can avoid it, but sometimes internal meetings are unavoidable. This is where I’m always so grateful to my team for being patient and understanding. They know that I will likely have my children running around in the background (or sometimes trying to join in the call themselves!) and are always so gracious and supportive if I have to jump off early.

Thursday

In an effort to prioritise real life balance, our office is closed on Thursday mornings, but due to Wednesday’s not always being the most productive day for me (!) I try and log in early to get through some admin and take the opportunity to work without any interruption.

I had a particularly exciting event today over lunch – I’ve been looking to expand my professional network over here in Switzerland, so I met up with a new contact. One of the things I’ve found so interesting since moving here is how different the expectations for digital marketing can be, and how different the culture is in communication too.

When communicating in Switzerland it’s important to stay clear and concise, they have no time for waffle over here, so often people will be really direct with you and formal approach is expected. When I first moved to Geneva, I lost out on a flat I was applying to rent for using the wrong greeting in an email – this was seen as a signal of my lack of genuine interest! (If you’re interested never use Bonjour Madame always Chère Madame!) As a Brit I have to admit that this took me some time to adjust to, but now I can appreciate how genuinely useful this approach is.

Friday

Friday was a busy team day for me this week with two pretty big meetings for internal projects that I’m extremely excited about. My morning started with our monthly feedback session from our Shadow Board. We implemented this initiative at the start of the year and so far it’s not only been hugely successful, but it’s also made a massive difference in supporting our strategic board too.

Having a Shadow Board was something I’d read a few articles about last year, and I felt strongly that such a thing would be invaluable to just about any business. It’s essentially a board made up of non-management level team members who can provide feedback on everything from the company culture to their own strategic ideas. Junior and mid-level team members are often under-represented in the strategic discussions of a business, but we’ve found that our team members always have great ideas and opinions that should be listened to and carefully considered.

So far, we’ve found that the most effective discussions happen when we provide our Shadow Board with some questions or areas to discuss internally (over a team lunch). This is then followed by a feedback session where they can take us through their ideas, and we can also talk the team through the actions we as a board have taken off the back of the last session.

So far, as a result of the Shadow Board’s feedback, among lots of other things we’ve added another meeting room to our office, revamped our benefits package, and hosted a summer party to thank everyone for their hard work so far this year.

My second big meeting of the day was our whole-agency knowledge share in the afternoon. We have so many experts in the agency across different disciplines, so we introduced these optional learning sessions where we can make full use of this expertise across the wider team. As we’re an agency that really prizes multi-channel strategies, it’s important that everyone across the team understands each individual channel and what they do. In our sessions so far, we’ve covered everything from the importance of Reels in a social media strategy to what link rot is and how to deal with it.

My weeks are always filled with meetings and catch-ups, which I find really helps keep me feeling connected to the rest of the pack, even from another country. We’ve designed our communication systems and approaches so that anyone working remotely never feels isolated and knows that if you have a question that needs answering, or even if you just want a silly conversation over a cup of coffee there will always be someone on the other end of the phone.

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