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How I Became: Amanda Holmes, Lead Consultant – SaaS and Transformation, Fox Agency

Amanda Holmes, Fox Agency

Amanda Holmes is lead consultant – SaaS and Transformation – at Fox Agency.

She joined the agency in 2021 as account director before transitioning into her new role in 2023, where she now focuses more on driving strategies and orchestrating solutions for clients in the SaaS and transformation industries.

With 14 years of experience in B2B marketing, Holmes has previously worked in-house for UBS Investment Bank in the marketing department and Ogilvy.

From how she first entered the marketing world to the biggest challenges she’s faced, Holmes shares her career journey and words of advice.

How did you first get into your industry?

While at university in the States studying English and Creative Writing, I did a few internships in events, marketing, and PR which I always really enjoyed. Then after graduation I moved to London for a year as part of the Mountbatten Programme, which placed me in-house at UBS Investment Bank in the marketing department.

When my visa was up I went back to New York and moved agency-side to Ogilvy, with UBS as one of my client accounts. That really set me on the path of specialising in B2B marketing. It’s also when I really fell in love with the world of client services and project management. I really enjoyed working on lots of projects simultaneously, talking to different clients, inputting my creative and strategic view (without being a ‘creative’ myself), building relationships internally to get the best work out of people.

What do you love about your job?

I will never get over the kick of seeing work which I was involved in ‘live and in the wild’. There’s something about seeing it all come together that I will always be proud of.

I love the diversity of the work, even though I specialise in SaaS and Transformation, no two clients or projects are the same. But because I focus on a niche sector, it means that I understand clients’ challenges and the realities of their industry more than others might and I’m able to consult more closely with them. I’m also able to constantly learn and apply new insights across clients.

Who – or what – has inspired you in your career?

I have worked with some fantastic line managers and bosses over my career. People who have seen something in me, sometimes even if I didn’t, and helped to push me and help my development.

I’ve also worked with some not-so-great bosses. But looking back on it, they also helped me. From those experiences I learned how to trust my instincts, how to stand up for myself, and what kind of manager I want to be (or don’t). Whilst I wouldn’t wish a bad boss on anyone, I don’t know I’d be where I am now without those experiences.

What are the biggest challenges about your job?

Keeping all the plates spinning. As a Lead Consultant, there are a lot of moving pieces to focus on. Live clients and projects. New business pitches. Staying up-to-date in the latest SaaS and transformation industries and sharing that knowledge with the wider agency. Directing vertical focused go-to-market plans and managing the SaaS and Transformation business unit planning, including our resource, capabilities, and agency service offering.

Communication and organisation are vital. And I’m lucky to have a great team.

What skills have been the most crucial to you succeeding in your career so far?

Building relationships – both internally and externally – is absolutely critical. Because once you have that trust, everything is easier. Communication is key, but it’s so much easier to have tricky conversations if you have a solid foundation to start with.

The ability to problem-solve with nonlinear thinking is also big for me. Every project comes with its own challenges, so being able to creatively solve problems and not get stuck in formulaic answers is a skill I champion, not only for myself, but within my team.

What was your first salary and what could someone getting into the industry expect to earn nowadays?

I was fortunate enough to be able to do unpaid internships during university and the Mountbatten Programme which gave me a leg up in terms of getting my first agency role. I think it must have been about $30,000 in New York as an account executive – but nowadays it’s so different depending on the agency and the location.

For anyone just starting out, I would say try not to just look at the initial salary. Look at what support is that company going to give you in terms of learning and development, what the objectives and goal setting process is. However, I’m also a firm believer that agencies need to make sure they are reviewing their compensation frequently and fairly.

What education or training would be most useful for someone looking to follow your career path?

Of course you can do a marketing and advertising or digital marketing degree – but I don’t think that it’s the only – or even always the best – option. For me, I studied English and creative writing which helped develop my written and verbal communication. But more importantly my degree encouraged critical thinking, which has been instrumental in my career.

Personality can also take you a long way in this industry. Interpersonal skills, being approachable, and just having common sense is incredibly valuable. Even if you don’t have a typical marketing background or degree – take advantage of the free resources that are available. LinkedIn learning, webinars, white papers, seminars. I still am constantly searching for new development opportunities. Soak it up.

What advice would you have for someone looking to follow your path?

Be open to new opportunities. When I started in-house at an investment bank (with zero financial services knowledge, by the way) I could have never seen where my path would lead.

Ask questions and actively listen, take advice from those you trust, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if you need to.

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