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A Week in My Life: Rachel Gladwin, Co-founder, tigerbond

Rachel Gladwin

Rachel Gladwin is co-founder of tigerbond, an integrated communications agency.

She began working with CEO Laurna Woods as director of the North in 2013, before taking on her current role after a management buyout in 2021.

With offices across the UK including in Manchester, Gladwin is typically based at the agency’s Leeds office when she isn’t travelling for business.

Here, Gladwin (pictured, centre) shares a recent week in her life…

Monday

I recently found out that drifting back to sleep starts a sleep cycle that takes 75 minutes to complete – explaining those groggy starts in the morning. Now I’ve banished the snooze and get up at 6am. Then I set off for a quick walk with my dogs in tow for some welcome fresh air, before heading to a strength-training class. I joined Ultraflex gym near my home in York to build lean muscle as I head towards my 50s.

Today I’m WFH and my Teams calls begin, including a ‘Level 10’ check in with our board. Here we share updates from our accountability areas, ensure traction on our business plan, processing any issues holding us back. Why Level 10? Because we score ourselves honestly from one for poor to 10 for perfection. Reflecting and making the most of our time together means we are totally engaged. There is nothing more depressing than a meeting that’s dry and lacking purpose.

Tuesday

Another early start, driving 150 miles to the head office of a new client that creates sustainable, vegan bath and body products. Their national campaign will be led by our London team. We’re all excited to meet up and take a tour through the brand’s stunning showroom. With our noses full of amazing aromas, we get a sneak peek at Christmas ranges. Time to start thinking creatively about getting the products onto shoppers’ wish lists and flying off the shelves for winter 2024.

I use my drive home to listen to an audiobook, this week it’s Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris. He has a great way of demystifying mindfulness, describing the moment you clock your mind wandering as a ‘bicep curl for your mental health’.

Wednesday

As MD of England and Wales, I run an agency network with physical hubs in Leeds, Manchester and London. Today it’s my regular commute to Kings Cross, usually this takes two hours – today wasn’t a good day. Points failure behind me, I walk to our grade II listed Georgian town house. Our head office is situated on Great James Street in the Bloomsbury district; very apt with the area’s strong literary and publishing connections.

Today I join a monthly check in with our leadership team. I’m also excited to deliver ‘MD Happy Hour’, my regular mindset-hacking workshop. The team voted for a discussion on procrastination – something we can all relate to. It’s helpful to remember that procrastination is a habit and like all habits, it can be broken. One of my favourite pieces of advice? Don’t think too big, as big is naturally overwhelming and scary – just think small and break the task up into micro actions.

Thursday

Today is my monthly meeting with an amazing coaching group I’m part of. We travel to Harrogate for a spotlight session with another MD who runs a ventilation manufacture, fit and maintenance business. At sign in, we share our business, personal and wellbeing scores out of 10. The experience always helps me reframe my worries. We are all dealing with life’s ups and downs. Even the most outwardly successful people suffer with thoughts of imposter syndrome.

I always find perspective and clarity here. We debate the World Happiness Report 2024. Of the 140 nations ranked, Finland tops the list (again!), with Serbia and Bulgaria experiencing the biggest increases in life evaluation. Those born before 1965 are, on average, happier than those born since 1980 – not sure where I sit as a child of the 70s. We talk at length about how we can embrace difference in life stage, outlook and happiness in our businesses. From entering my first PR job in 1998, I’m amazed at how much progress I’ve seen in terms of technology, work life balance, and diversity. I’m always looking for ‘even better if’ moments professionally, meaning I don’t like standing still for too long – a growth-focused mindset is key for me.

Friday

Friday Focus is a weekly morning fixture in the diary, bringing together our leadership team from across England for some end of week reflection. We always start with a piece of good news before reviewing our growth plan, client servicing and people. We wrap up with our ‘to-done’ list, focusing on – or manifesting – actions we hope to clear the following week.

Today I’ve got lunch with the CEO of a Leeds-based charity that offers practical and emotional support to the homeless community. It’s great to catch up, and we recently donated a communications workshop and a new in-house team is now rolling out the insights. I’m excited to hear how it’s going.

Then it’s my final call of the week, with our people director, who is currently planning our own twist on the Three Peak Challenge – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon climbs over three weekends for our Scotland, Northern and London teams. It’s been almost a year since we lost an adored member of our team and we’re raising funds for Meningitis Now.

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