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A Week in My Life: Stephen Bullivant, Business Director, Teads

Stephen at Teads

A champion for the ad tech and media space in Manchester, Stephen Bullivant has over a decade of experience working for industry leaders in the North West.

Prior to joining media platform Teads Manchester in 2018, Stephen previously worked at MEC prior to its merger with Maxus. He initially started out as a media assistant before rising through the ranks to become a senior account manager.

He is now responsible for leading Teads’ commercial affairs in Manchester, where Teads is keen to drive growth and talent acquisition.

Teads works with both advertisers and publishers and has numerous office locations across the UK, US, Europe, Dubai, South America, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.

He shared how a recent week in his life went…

 

Monday

I like to start the week off right with some fresh air and go for a long dog walk. This is especially important for me on Mondays, which is a day of hard focus and organisation, setting objectives and key tasks for the week. After an hour of dog-walking, I head home for some form of dull beige bowl of grains and then I log on to start the day. Since coming back to the office, we have been doing three days in, two days out: the office is great when it comes to developing relationships, both with clients and team members, but I do find WFH is best for being undistracted and for just getting solo work done.

At 9:30am, we kick off the day with a virtual meeting with the UK sales team, during which we review the company’s top line and share product updates. There’s a lot of innovation to keep up with at the moment and so I hone in on what’s most pressing and what can be done to best progress it that week. Following this, it’s catch-up time with the Head of Operations, where I ensure that we are both aligned on objectives for the week so we can relay it to the rest of the team in our Manchester team meeting in the afternoon. Coming out of the weekend it’s important to stay fluid and keep collaboration open between the team. So, during these big virtual meetings, we end with a bit of a show and tell session which can be anything from a handy tip for Excel, a recipe from the weekend or even just a funny dog video.

Tuesday

Tuesday is an office day as it’s dedicated to meeting clients as well as touching base with the rest of the team. Obviously flexibility with working from home is essential as life gets in the way, but I think building relationships in person is the most conducive to business. People share more and I get a better understanding of how I can best help them with Teads’ solution and how we can push the partnership forward. The same applies for internal, transactional meetings that take place on a Tuesday – from overseeing the commercial’s team weekly plans, sharing learnings  and discussing what needs to be done to meet targets – these are definitely more effective and free-flowing when done in person.

What always acts as a great incentive for getting the team into the office on a Tuesday is team lunch – free team lunch to be exact. For this, we’ll either go out or make good use of the company Deliveroo account. If it’s the latter, then a lot of my lunch break will be spent playing Mario Kart with the team whilst trying to rein in my natural over-exuberant competitiveness in the workplace! After this, it is just a matter of working through client briefs and making sure that any of my outstanding work is completed before the end of play. I also like to take a few moments to post-diagnose my Tuesday – thinking about what I’ve done and what I need to do tomorrow. This way I can happily switch off for the evening.

Wednesday

On a Wednesday morning, you can often find me in the garage, listening to loud music and throwing bits of metal around my DIY gym. I have to work much harder now I am in my 30s to stave off the spare tyre so I have to force myself in the gym a few times a week, especially to balance out media lunches! Once finished working out, it’s back to the office for another day of meetings. Wednesday is more about strategy and idea production, thinking about the broader business, including marketing and on-boarding.

Sometimes the London team will come up to showcase the latest innovation and provide a bit of learning and development for the team. My Wednesday lunchtime is regularly booked out with clients (which makes my morning workout more essential). I prefer the more intimate sessions with fewer people present as I can build a stronger connection – it also lets me quickly get through the work agenda so that the rest of the meal can be more about just getting to know them.

Coming back to the office, the commercial team all dedicate at least an hour to new business, so I’ll be very active on emails and LinkedIn, firing off networking messages. Thanks to our smaller size, the Manchester team is very entrepreneurial and we can be nimble when it comes to prospecting for clients. And with the media space opening up in the Northwest especially, there is lots of opportunity!

Thursday

My working breakfasts with clients happen on a Thursday morning. Thanks to the earlier rise, these meetings often have a different feel to lunches but they are just as important to building relationships. Almost always they involve me having some form of over-priced eggs and avocado on toast. After this, I have a catch-up across the Manchester office’s teams, making sure that weekly goals are being met and deciding where resources need to be directed to complete targets. We also spend some time reviewing campaigns, making suggestions as to what we can do better and what can be implemented to stand out against competitors.

In the afternoon, I spend some time working on micro and macro objectives as well getting to know the team in my 1-2-1s for reviewing individual progress. One thing I’ve learnt from my agency days is that it is nice to do this while also going out for a walk. It’s not just for getting some fresh air (which is always great), but for extracting yourself out of the office space. I find you can be more open and comfortable speaking about anything difficult that is work-related when away from the office. The key to these sessions is honest open, two-way feedback which is strongly encouraged and often leads to new ways of working.

On a Thursday evening, especially during the summer, there’ll be some sort of function being thrown for clients – for example, this month I had an excellent time taking some of them up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Friday

Finishing up the week, Friday is another WFH day so that I can get that head-down, headphones-on, laser focus, making sure that projects are set to meet deadlines and I’m ready for the next week.

I also have a catch-up with the London team to align on revenue and any challenges that have popped up this week. Sometimes this will involve reviewing team progress and targets, as well as celebrating great pieces of work and looking at areas to improve. The celebration piece is really important, with the brilliant work then shared with the wider UK team in Monday’s All Sales meeting. If all pressing deadlines are met, and the rest of the team is also finished, then we like to end the day early.

The best work occurs with a healthy work-life balance and so it is important that the team gets to have time to themselves. We have summer hours at Teads for this reason and I’ll urge my team to make the most of it – we may often complain about the heat, but we’ll wish for it back before we know it! This also lets me sneak in 9 holes on the golf course, or a session on the tennis court as well as another walk with the dog. Recently my Friday evenings have been spent attempting to master increasingly complicated recipes from my cookbooks – but sometimes I have to throw the towel in and decide to try out a new restaurant.

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